Don’t Get the PuppyJanuary 15, 2013
Young Couples Everywhere,
Here’s a bit of unsolicited advice: don’t get the puppy.
Even if that two-pound bundle of cuteness is on sale. Even if you discover it’s hypoallergenic.
Don’t get the puppy.
Because if you do get the puppy, that little puppy will become your child. She’ll go with you everywhere.
Literally, everywhere–church, weddings, walmart, football games, and on airplane rides.
You’ll buy puppy sweaters and special puppy chew toys. You’ll go to puppy class, and you’ll teach her tricks. You’ll brag to everyone that she is the smartest, most-talented dog ever. She jumps through hoops! She puts her toys away! She dances! She’s probably even smarter than Lassie.
You’ll take her on long walks, and you’ll watch the Dog Whisperer. You won’t mind when she eats a whole package of birth control pills or chews through a leash. She’s just a puppy, after all.
Eventually that puppy will get older. You’ll still love her, because she’s your dog daughter. But you start to notice how inconvenient she is. You’ll still travel (because you swore a dog wouldn’t hold you back), but it’s a pain to find someone to watch your (usually) sweet schnoodle pup.
You’ll get annoyed when she has accidents. You’ll look for ways to get her to stop barking and to stop eating poop. She’s no longer a puppy. Shouldn’t she have outgrown those bad habits by now?
And then, if you’re like most couples, one day you’ll decide a dog daughter is not enough.
You start to want a real daughter.
And one day that daughter will be born, and you’ll wonder how the dog will do. Will she like the baby? Will she growl? Will she bite?
But then you realize it’s not the dog’s behavior around the baby that bothers you. It’s that the dog eats Kleenexes out of the trash, licks the lotion off your legs, and barks at all the visitors. And every day she needs silly, inconvenient things like walks and dog food.
Gradually, the dog will stop going with you everywhere. Not because you don’t love her (although you may begin to doubt your love), but because you just don’t have enough hands or energy to manage hauling around a dog and a baby.
A few months later, you’ll come home with a second baby. And you’ll struggle to even find a picture with the dog, because the dog gets even less attention now that there are two babies. The dog is no longer important.
And one day your dog may escape the house and disappear for awhile, and (to your surprise) your first feeling is relief. (One less thing to take care of.) And then guilt. (She was/is your dog daughter.) And then sadness. (Because deep down you believe there is something good about kids growing up around a dog. They learn to love animals and have fewer allergies.)
But, still. This parenting thing is hard. Maybe there’s a compromise? Your husband takes the dog to work and tries to convince his coworkers they need an office dog. And it seems to be working.
Until one day your two-year-old cries as daddy and dog are leaving and says, “No, Daddy! You can’t take Sofi. I miss her.”
And that’s when you realize…she’s no longer your dog. Although it will be a few years before they can walk/feed/care for her, the dog belongs to your kids. You can’t (ever) get rid of her. Because she’s part of the family. Your babies love her unconditionally. They need you to keep her. They don’t know life without her.
So young couples, make it easy on yourselves. Don’t get the puppy.
But don’t say I didn’t warn you.