When I was 14 my parents got me a dog for my birthday. Roxanne never grew to be more than seven or eight pounds, but she was the undisputed giant that ruled day-to-day life in our family. Having a dog fulfilled me in a magical way that every child should experience.
Unfortunately no child of mine will understand that kind of love. At least not for many years. Upon reading that a Tibetan mastiff has just become the world’s most expensive dog — selling for just over $1.5M in China — I realized that even if a dog pooped gold, at this point in time, it’s not welcome in my home.
As much as members of my family have been begging for a dog for the past several years, there’s just not a chance that it will become a reality anytime in the foreseeable future. I pick up after enough people each day and deal with too much bodily waste and slobber to take on one more living creature at the moment. Plus, living in the mountains of Colorado, the amount of snow, mud and dirt that gets tracked into our home is like something out of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale or Edgar Allan Poe story. It’s just creepy. And that’s with people who know they’re supposed to take their shoes off when they walk inside. Try wiping the paws of a dog after it comes back in following each walk. No, thanks.
Kids beg and swear up and down they’ll care for a dog. But even at the age of 14, I still wasn’t the main figure in Roxanne’s life — my parents assumed the majority of the responsibility. Which tells me it’s not everyone else who has to be ready for a dog. Just me.
The Tibetan mastiff sounds beautiful. I get that they’re prized for their thick coats (translation: shedding), noble bearing (translation: snobs), and because they’re good guard dogs (translation: aggressive), and in China they’re considered status symbols like fancy cars and big houses. In the town where I live, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and just about any dog from the local animal shelter are the status symbols. But choosing a breed will be the easy part. It’s choosing when I’m ready to take on another living anything in my house that will be the looming issue for years to come.
How do you know when the time is right to get a dog for your family?