To dog or not to dog that is the question

We have long promised our children that we would consider a dog when (or rather if ) all our children became self sufficient in the basics of toileting and self-care. Our youngest is almost five now...the time of reckoning has come.

On the one hand, I always had dogs growing up, they were part of the family. I have many tender memories of the loyalty and intuition I experienced from man's best friend. Nobody loves you like a dog loves you. Totally unrestrained and unconditional. It's the best.

Dogs are good security-I would love to have a big dog to run with and to watch over our home as we slept. In South Africa, where crime is rampant, one of the best deterrents to uninvited visitors is a big (loud) dog.

Dogs teach kids responsibility and blahblahblah. We all know who ends up doing all the dirty work once the novelty has worn off. Although when I was a kid, I did daily poop scooping in our back yard for our three dogs, regularly washed their dishes, fed them and occasionally walked them too. I would say my parents made good use of the responsibility enhancing properties of a pet.

On the other hand.

Dogs are expensive. First you have to procure the dog. Even those from shelters cost money, then there is the matter of their care-that costs money. In the last several months we have spent more on the medical care of our insane bunny then all four of our children combined (and that was just getting her spayed!). There is their food to think about, the fact that we live in a shoebox and a dog would have to be regularly walked (not a bad thing) and "let out" (just when I got done with potty oriented duties? Unappealing).

On the third, neutral hand, dogs need other things. I would say this was bad because they cost money and spending money for me automatically bodes ill. However, (and this is where we resume our ongoing series: "finding alternatives for more human babies" )

If you are a woman there is a good chance you find that shopping for small cute things to be fun.

And then there are the gadgets. Nothing makes me happier then the newest fangled gadgety baby bath-and they do have some pretty nifty doggy baths these days. (Gone are the days of running after them with the hose it seems). And you know, there's nothing like a new baby for poring over potentially life changing toys. Failing which, it would appear that there is nothing like a dog for an excuse to buy small and adorable objects. Look! Baby doggy toys! And ok how ridiculously adorable are the doggy toy-boxes? Did you know there was such a thing as doggy toy-boxes? Hilarious. The one shaped like a fire hydrant in particular, ushers great joy and gladness into my soul. Although it does make one wonder what might happen to it if left attended with Fido.

I have to admit I have recently begun to lust after doggy beds. There is no better way to make a design statement then with a stylish doggy bed. Trust me on this. I know things. Forget about cute crib bedding! You would not believe the variety of doggy beds/chaises/sofas/recliners/magical flying carpets out there. When we went recently on a mission to find a receptacle which the Crazy Bunny would deign to pee within on a consistent basis, I saw a doggy bed that was so perfect for my newly decorated kitchen that I almost wept with the yearning. Aaron said we weren't getting a dog just so that I could satisfy my need for a pink and green argyle dog bed.

Still on the fence about whether I'd ever subject my child dog to doggy clothing, but

I know that picking out a suitable leash would
be no small matter.

It would become a project worthy of much research
and opinion asking. Because you see, dog collars
and leashes are like... totally important fashion
statements, people. And if you desperately
miss the days of buckling a kid into a car seat,
they now have doggy seatbelts and even...
doggy strollers (which... seriously? Is
pathetic and sad and very disturbing on
many levels, and if you have one
you must stop that,
stop that right now).

Basically more then ever, when it comes to consumerism, a dog is a super awesome substitute for a baby. They have all the cute stuff (and then some) we are genetically programmed to salivate and spring a lot of cash for. And you don't get stretch marks bringing them into the world, plus you can get these really cool gizmos, (which you don't have to nag) to automatically feed and water them. Perfection! NOW...what type of dog shall we get....I must call the Obamas for opinions.

In all seriousness, we probably will not be getting a dog until our priorities are in better order, such as somebody other then Aaron or I will need to show that they are willing and able to take care of Thumper's Need For Pee (to be everywhere) and maybe my desire for the actual dog needs to outweigh my desire for a really adorable perfectly coordinating with my kitchen, pink and green dog food bowl.

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nyn said...

We just got a baby kitten on Saturday, also because of the "promises" we made. I have no desire to potty train anything and we don't have a yard for a dog therefore, we got a cat. And you are right shopping for little baby things human or otherwise has been so fun, there is also the naming process. Teaching the kids resposibility is sort of happening, amidst all the fighting over who gets to hold poor little Shoeshine next. (Yes, turns out that is the name that got pulled out of the hat, much to Adelle's joy). So good luck with your decision. I hope the desire to fulfill the dog promise happens in good time and with all good things in tow for your family.

Anonymous said...

Kirsty - I'm all for the dog thing. I never realized how much dogs shed though - all that hair all over your house. I think of our house in Witbank and dear old Muppett, and I don't remember seeing that much hair. Then I remember - WE HAD A MAID!!! A maid who vacuumed the hair every day - so that is why I never saw it (and all the other dirt, dust etc). When we first arrived here I was amazed at all the hairballs and dust I saw in people's houses and one day it finally dawned on me - no maids. How I LOOOOONG for one!! I think on my most desperate days it could even be reason for us to move home!!

Back to the question, if you get a dog, I think you're very brave!! You know that one trip to the barber costs $70 and up!!!! YIKES! And the vet, and the shots, and the deworming for the dog and the kids! I still need to ask you how you got your bunny potty trained, I've now taken the litter box out and given up. My hat goes off to you, girl!

jena said...

I thought I wanted a cat. What I really wanted was another baby. Now I have the sweet baby but I also have an insane cat that attacks my hands. Do not listen to the children that say they will take care of the cute little critters. They lie. And dogs as protective as they seem at times make me pretty much mental the rest of the time. I clean up more poo from the various mammals in this household it is just ridiculous. And then there are the immortal goldfish... If YOU want a dog, then get the dog you want. Do NOT get one for the kids. LOL And one last note, my dogs would rather sleep on my dirty laundry than a designer pet bed any day. ;)

Mrs. M said...

We're waiting until the youngest child turns two...which, if things go as planned should be about 2 years and 20 days from now!

Then we plan on getting a dog but it's going to be the smallest dog we can possibly find. I'm paranoid about dog bites-I'd rather punish my kid for accidentally breaking Tiny Dog than have my baby scarred for life by a playful but powerful puppy.

We WILL be forced to get one someday though-Monkey and Hubby insist. Then I will get a cat (which is what I really want) and I will name her Princess Pepperdoodle von Yum Yum.

In short, pregnancy also makes you ramble and yes animals are a great child-substitute!

Dahling said...

Sweaty !

What is this doggie contemplation ?? You know you can't get a dog until you are living HERE. WITH ME. IN ADELAIDE. AUSTRALIA.

Believe me - the accessories are not exciting at all. I have derived almost no pleasure from procuring leads, beds, bowls etc. for Max and Minnie despite loving them an abnormal amount. The only thing that I ever got excited about was their very expensive "antique" wicker bed which they chewed to pieces within weeks....

They are currently having a Turf War on a Global Scale over the remaining black and white "bowling pin" that you bought them (the other one has also been chewed to pieces) is tres comical to watch....

Tooj said...

I will give you no comment on this. I don't want to push you one way or the other with my feelings/thoughts. LOL I will be excited to hear what you decided, either way.