Should we get a dog?

“Should we get a dog?” is the one of the most frequently asked questions at our house these days. However, my kids, G and R, and have undertaken a very disorganized campaign for a dog. While it essentially entails talking about where the dog would sleep (G says her bed, R says his bed) and what the dog would be named (a current favorite is Bella), their arguments are not persuasive enough to make me say yes. G says she’ll feed it—once—and no one has claimed the responsibility of walking it every day, so the question lies there, unanswered.

For G’s recent birthday, my brother and sister-in-law sent her Zoomer, a robot dog (that’s G and Zoomer in the photo). The kids love Zoomer. He rolls over, barks, runs around in circles, and, much to the delight of the kids, lifts up his leg and pretends to pee. This is very funny if you’re a kid.

should_we_get_a_dog_red_shutters.jpgI never had a dog growing up. We were a fish and hamster family. So, this past spring, on a whim, I drove R and G to the pet store to purchase two beta fish, which they named Dashy Fish (after Dash in The Incredibles) and Chloe. They lasted a few months, but, after they died, it took the kids about three weeks to realize the fish tank was missing. They are not ready for a dog!

My husband, on the other hand, grew up surrounded by dogs. His father was a veterinarian so there was a dog in the house since before my husband was born. He even took his most beloved dog to college, where she lived with him at the fraternity house, waiting on the front steps for him to come home from class each day.

My husband’s adult life has been the longest he’s gone without a dog. He’s not persuaded that our family should take on a dog right now; it would be like a third child, he explained to me. That analogy slows down our decision to say yes. I’m allergic to dogs, too, so we’d need to go the hypoallergic route, which I sense is a disappointment for my Labrador-loving husband.

Despite the uncertainty about getting a dog, I found myself on Petfinder recently, trolling the pictures of rescue dogs for one that might be just right for our family. I narrowed my search to dogs that were good with kids. So many of them were cute, but, at each click, I became less certain. Interestingly, I’ve trolled on Petfinder before. Each time, it was around the time I became pregnant with R and G—a sign, I guess, that I was ready to expand our family. This time, though, it’s a dog that’s on the table—not another baby.

To complicate this question, at G’s five-year-old wellness check-up, her pediatrician, a woman I adore, who got me through those early baby years thanks to her support and wisdom, suggested that getting a dog might be a good idea for us. She recently capitulated to her kids’ requests for a dog, and while she’s had all of the responsibility for caring for the dog, it’s been a great addition to the family. “I didn’t want to hear when my kids were adults that I had deprived them by not getting them a dog,” she laughed. I smiled, but inside I thought, “uh-oh, something else to worry about.”

I shared our doctor’s advice with my husband over dinner last week, and R listened in, his ears perking up when I said “dog.” He has now incorporated the doctor’s advice into his campaign for a dog. “Mom, even our doctor says we should get a dog!”

We’ll see if that convinces us!

What about you? Do you have a dog? Tell me if you think we should get one in the comments!

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