No, We’re Not Getting a Dog and No, I Don’t Feel Guilty About It

puppyMy kids are relentless when they want something. For a few months they have been begging for us to get a dog. Every time I tell my daughter that I have great news to tell her, she asks “Are we getting a dog?”

They know me so well they even point out how beneficial a dog would be to their wellbeing. They quote studies they find on Google about how having a pet will teach them to be more responsible, take care of others, and even comfort them during stressful times. Then they promise that they will be in charge of walking the dog and even volunteered to pick up poop (but I don’t believe them).

My kids haven’t succeeded in convincing me. I totally agree that having a pet is something wonderful and I love dogs. At some point I want my children to experience the joy of having a loyal furry friend. However, I’m also aware that the task of taking care of that new family member would rest on my shoulders. My life is full of responsibilities as it is and I don’t see how I could take care of one more being without losing it. Especially when I have a hard time juggling my job, my family, after-school activities, business travel, and everything else that comes with our hectic lives these days.

What’s helped me stand by my decision is the honest experience so many of my friends have shared with me. Even those who have welcomed the responsibility of having a dog with open arms have not sugarcoated at all how much time, energy, and money they dedicate to their pets. Of course for them the pros outweigh the cons and they don’t regret their choice, but they do admit it’s not for everybody. The last thing I want is to cave in to my kids and then realize I simply can’t take care of our dog. Shelters are full of pets that have suffered because their owners changed their minds or couldn’t take care of them anymore. I refuse to abandon a pet due to a poor decision on my part, so I’m standing my ground.

If you are on the fence on whether or not you should get a dog, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

Are you willing to take on another responsibility?

Having a dog implies feeding, walking, bathing, cleaning, giving it love, plus brings an added expense. Be honest with yourself.

Who will take care of your pet if you’re not around?

If you work outside your home or travel frequently, keep in mind the need to plan for somebody to watch your dog when you’re unable to.

Do the benefits of having a pet outweigh the potential burdens?

Each family is different and only you can know what you are willing to do to bring more joy or comfort to your children.

Answering those questions honestly helped me make peace with my decision. So to answer my daughter’s question, no, we’re not getting a dog. At least for now.

Photo courtesy of ThinkStock

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