I Was Always a Dog Person -- Until I Had Kids

Mom Moment 85

Years before my husband and I had kids, we had a dog. A wonderful sweet yellow Lab that we brought home on August 3, 2002. Her name was Ashley, but quickly became known -- simply and affectionately -- as Dog. Dog joined us for many adventures before the kids came along, and although she was getting on in years when our boys became ambulatory, tail-pulling toddlers, she was always gentle and patient with them.

We tearfully said goodbye to Dog in June of 2011, and I figured that while we'd never truly get over the heartbreak of losing her, it wouldn't be long before we welcomed another canine member of the household. But it's been almost two years, and every time I think about getting another dog, I get hung up on one thing.

The MESS.

Well, and the responsibility. What if our next dog isn't as good-natured and well-behaved as Dog was? What if she/he has behavior issues? What will we do with him/her when we leave town? What if New Dog decides our cat would make a delicious long-haired snack?

But I've got to be honest, it's mostly the mess that gives me pause. I love that our backyard is refreshingly feces-free, and that I don't have to inspect the kids' shoes when they run indoors. I live in Oregon, where a person must be resigned to a muddy dog several months out of the year, and I don't miss wiping down a rainy, dirt-coated dog several times a day. Ditto on the non-nostalgia for scrubbing the carpet after a dog experiences a bout of explosive gastrointestinal distress.

I'd likely be up for dealing with all of those things if I wasn't at near-capacity with kid-related messes. I'm already cleaning up after people all day long, from the sticky pools of cereal milk in the morning to the final toothpaste-on-the-mirror smear at night. I have moments of feeling precariously close to curling up in the corner and weeping when faced with yet another Sisyphean housecleaning task -- the laundry pile is threatening to become sentient again? -- and I suspect adding another animal who increases my overall workload might just be the tipping point that spirals me straight into Britney Spears levels of crazy. And not the relatively normal, if desperately in need of a good bra Current Britney, either ... I'm talking about the shaved-head, umbrella-whacking version.

The thing is, I still feel guilty about how our sweet dog plummeted down the priority list after kids came along. We gave her a wonderful home until the very end, I'm sure of that -- but she didn't receive the same level of attention she did before we became parents. I'm not sure I think bringing a dog into a loud, chaotic, already well-populated household is the right thing to do, either for the dog in question or for me.

Maybe when the kids are a little older, is what I tell myself. But it's hard not to look back on all those wonderful years we had with Dog and not feel tempted to try and find another furry companion. Sure, she might have been a little messy, but oh, it was worth it. She was a good, good dog.


Where are you at with kids and dogs? The more, the merrier? Or are you happier having fewer creatures to take care of?


Images via Linda Sharps

family, boys

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tinyp... tinypossum

We had a dog when son #1 came along 6 years ago, and he also quickly plummeted to the bottom of the list. He was a sweet pup, but when he passed and another son came along, we knew we didn't want another dog for a long time. We just recently added a new puppy to our lives and it was the right time to do it. He's a sweet, loving, and easy dog and we're really enjoying him. Yes, the mess is a bit of a hassel, but with two boys already, I hardly notice. He's also forcing me to exercise more since he needs good, long walks every day. Adding a dog to a busy family with young kids is a challenge, but I'm glad we were finally ready to do it. 

jalaz77 jalaz77

I used to love dogs now I just like them. It is an easy decision for me, NO DOGS!! I don't want to deal with the hassle of a dog, the mess, potty training, hell I can't even potty train my 2.5yr old right now. We are about to have a 4th child so I want to focus on raising my kids. My parents have a lab and that's enough dog time for me. I can admit I don't want to put time and effort into a dog now or any time soon. Kids would love it but nope.

Melis... Melissa1508

We have 2 girls and a boxer, who, at my husband's insistence, lives IN THE HOUSE with us.  And she STINKS.  hahaha  I'm not really a dog person (I prefer cats), but our dog is very sweet and very loving toward our kids.  Once this one is gone, which I will be very sad about one day, there will most definitely be no more dogs in our house.  EVER. 

Tangl... TangledBlue

Our sweet old lab passed away last year and I came pretty close to divorcing my husband when he came home two weeks later with a puppy.  The last thing I needed was another living thing to feed, clean up after, take to the doctor, etc.  And I still curse the extra work but my daughter loves him to the moon and back.  She more than makes up for my inability to lavish a lot of time and attention on him.  Every day I hear her giggling mischievously in her bedroom and find the dog dressed to the nines at a tea party, having his nails painted, or listening to her "teach". 

Angie... AngieHayes

Great pics, the Dog was part of your family and you will always remember him! You will probably get another dog one day, maybe when your boy are a little older and then they can Scoop The Poop!!!

lobus lobus

I also had a lab before I had a child. He was very energetic and needed lots of attention, and he was great company while my husband was deployed. When the first baby came though, I had zero time and patience for him. He went from sleeping in our bed to the downstairs couch. I could never take him out and I was constantly snapping at him. He shed like crazy and my son would get dog hair in his mouth all the time which was gross. Not to mention he sometimes dragged in poop from outside and when you have a crawling baby no amount of cleaning seems to suffice. I felt bad because he was a good dog and I could tell he wasn't happy. Thankfully my mother-in-law loves dogs and her pets all died so she gladly took him in and he's loving it she spoils him. I told my husband that I will only get a dog again when he is permamently home and no longer deploying or when the boys are old enough to take care of it completely on their own. But that won't be for a looooong time.

Simon... SimonzKedge

ry saying is that I'll always have more dogs than kids. That way at least the majority will listen to me, most of the time. Lol



We currently have 4 dogs and 3 kids. However we decided that we won't add another pup to the family until both the older 2 dogs have passed on (they are 11 and 12yrs). My hobby is dog training, but with my older kids in high school and my youngest just turning a year, my plate is a bit too full for me time. Until then, they are all still much loved members of the family.

Vegeta Vegeta

Reading these comments man.. you guys take care of kidsbut you don't have enough time to open a door to let your dog outside? 10 minutes to bathe your stinky boxer (they have super short fur!)? 5 minutes to walk around your yard with a shovel and bag? 3 minutes to sweep or vacuum dog fur off the floor? (Do you not normally clean the floor anyway?) I dunno guys, if you don't want a dog don't get one, but those excuses are just dumb. If your not home enough to spend time simply in the same room as them, then that's a good reason.

Serab... Serabelle

I can't imagine my life without a dog, I've had at least one since I was a year old. I know they are a lot of work, so kudos to those who recognize that it's too much for them, at least for the time being. I believe having a dog growing up is good for kids. It helps teach them the responsibility of caring for another living thing, teaches empathy, and gives them something to run around with so you can sit back and watch while you get a minute to rest. I do think it's important to get an appropriate dog for your family. No little breakable dogs with toddlers! You need a dog that can handle when the kids get a bit rough, and won't snap at them.

IKnow... IKnow0101

beautiful pictures


 

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