Babble has a new pet blog and I’m really excited about it. Our pets are members of the family and I can’t wait to read about other people’s experiences, suggestions and tips for caring for their critters. I can really use all the help I can get.
Last summer we got a puppy. I did not want this dog. My husband and three children over-ruled me despite numerous arguments and the fact that silly things like LOGIC and REASON were clearly on my side. Here were my reasons against getting a dog:
- We were about to move.
- We have three kids, one of whom was starting to potty train.
- My husband works about 60 hours a week.
- I work part-time and am a full time SAHM.
- We had a surly, hateful, 14 year old cat who would try and kill us in our sleep if we got a dog.
- I don’t believe in puppies. I believe in adopting dogs who need their lives saved.
- Dogs require time, attention and limitless patience – three things I was struggling to consistently provide to the humans in my house.
It was the worst idea ever. Also, I wasn’t ready. Our beloved Woody dog had died the year before at the age of 13 and I missed him. I still do.
Then they brought home a 10 week old bundle of yellow fur. You can see his picture right there. It was all over in about two minutes. I went from “Do not bring that animal in this house” to me snuggling him like he was my baby and then holding him up, Lion King-style on the front porch while loudly proclaiming: “BEHOLD MY NEW DOG, NEIGHBORHOOD! He is the most adorable, perfect creature in the Commonwealth and we shall love him forever!”
And then to my total surprise, he wasn’t more work. Scratch that – he was a lot more work. But I didn’t mind. He wasn’t the straw that broke this camel’s back, he made everything better. He brought us together as a family. We worked happily as team to care for him. He made my kids more gentle, loving and empathetic. He made me a better parent by forcing me to be more consistent, calm and mentally present throughout the day. I rediscovered how important praise is and how my voice and my tone and eye contact are the most important tools I have.
A couple of other unexpected benefits? The puppy and the toddler pretty much potty trained each other. And the puppy’s tendency to devour anything left laying around taught my kids to clean up after themselves a little better.
I know that dogs aren’t for everyone. For most families, when one person is saying adamantly “I DO NOT WANT A DOG” then you should definitely listen to them and not get one. But in our case – I was wrong. I needed to say yes to the dog. Because he makes us a better, happier family and makes me a better mom.