A few years ago, I was writing for another parenting-focused website and I posted an article about how our family dog had dropped way, way down the old Priority Totem Pole since we had kids. In describing how my doggy affection had diminished in the wake of diapers, feedings, and general all-consuming neediness, I angered quite a few animal lovers, some who were outright disgusted that my devotion to my pet turned out to be something less than unconditional.
So I suspect this may not be a universally well-received confession, but here it is: I'm yearning for the day when we have a dog-free household. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm eagerly anticipating the death of our good girl -- because no! God, no -- but I'm saying I highly doubt we'll turn right around and adopt another fur-bearing creature when she heads off to the Great Dogloo in the Sky.
I'm just ... tired of the mess. The hair everywhere, the dirt that gets tracked in, the rainy day muddy cleanups, the garbage that gets pulled from the can and strewn around the kitchen, the occasional old-dog incontinence accidents. It's so much already with the kids, you know? And judge me if you will, but once we've finally gotten both kids off to bed for the night and I have a precious couple hours of peace before it's time to turn in, the sound of a pet sitting nearby licking their dog parts (slup ... slup ... slup ... ) drives me half out of my skull. Or the scritch scritch scritch of toenails going up and down the hallway outside the sleeping kids' rooms. Or the eye-searing, nostril-watering aroma of canine flatulence, wafting by in a deadly cloud.
It sounds awful, I know. I do love her, and I know I'll miss her when she's gone. But I now understand why some families simply choose not to have pets, especially when the kids are young. It's an awful lot of work already, trying to manage everything in our lives, and sometimes a careless dog turd on the carpet is enough to send a person sailing over the edge.
How about you -- did you notice your patience for your pets changing after you had kids?