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Dog Dilemma

Emily wants a dog to the extreme degree!  She feels like she is the only girl in the world that doesn't have a dog.  I am not a dog person at all.  I just can't imagine adding a dog in with our two cats.  Kristen will be 14 next month and I think having a dog would just do her in.  I already have to keep the two cats separated.
Last week she got to go see one of  her best friend's new puppy.
I keep telling her that one day she can have a puppy, but now is not the right time.


Dear Addilyn said…
You know the country song that says "You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back, you're gonna wish these days, hadn't gone by so fast" ? 10 years from now don't be sitting there in your robe with Emily off at college wishing you had just got her the dog...I'd probably just get the dog. You could compromise and say "You can get a dog but Momma gets to name it" cause you know, naming them is the best part!
Anonymous said…
I know you don't like dogs, but is it fair to Emily that you have two cats who won't let her touch them just because they make you happy? I read your post on Kelly's blog and you mentioned Kirsten won't allow anyone but you touch her and the other cat doesn't want to be touched at all. It was your decision to bring two cats into the family that she can't play with and as someone who has been in that type of situation it is not fun to always be the one wanting an animal to love yet having to just watch. I think that makes you sound a bit selfish.

We had a dog and 4 cats living in our house at one point and years later had one of those cats (she lived to be 21) in the house with 4 much younger dogs. Yes, we are insane people. With our one dog, he was clearly alpha and as long as the cats accepted that, he put up with them. None of them liked each other, but they realized nobody was going anywhere.

When we had the four dogs, we kept the cat upstairs and the dogs downstairs with a baby gate so they wouldn't bother her. Very rarely did we have issues. Kirsten will learn to adjust or get out of the way if she needs to. I don't know what you get out of that other cat if nobody can touch it, so I'd find that one another home if you can't deal with separating 3 animals, but seriously more than likely with a puppy on it's one with two cats, it probably would quickly realize it was outnumbered and leave the cats alone.

Along the lines of what Dear Addilyn said about thinking about the future, if Emily died a year from now would you be okay in denying her a dog she desperately wanted simply so you could make sure a 14 year old cat was happy? If not, I'd consider getting her the dog and figuring out how to deal with it even if she only has a larger outdoor dog.
We also have two cats (both are 13). We finally allowed my 22 year old son to get a dog in August, a black german shepherd - he pays for it, takes care of it when he's not working, etc. During the day, he's basically mine (my son leaves for work at 4:00 a.m. and gets home at 3:00 p.m.). I LOVE the dog but oh my, he's a lot of work. He is house trained and even rings the bells hanging on the doorknob when he has to go potty. Our cats do NOT like him. We have a gate in our hallway so he can't go back to them but we wish we would have just let them duke it out in the beginning because they'll never adjust now. If your cats have claws, be very careful if you do get a dog. Our dog has a cataract from being swiped across the eye by a cat immediately before we got him. By the time we figured it out, we had already bonded with him and there was no way we could have returned him.

Personally, I wouldn't let my kids have a dog until they are 15 or 16 - old enough where they can take care of him/her almost 100%. Dogs are like having another child except you can't take them off on your taxes - and they're expensive (their crate, basic supplies, grooming, vet bills, food, flea & heartworm meds, etc). Housetraining them, getting them used to being around other dogs, obedience classes is also a big commitment. While our dog lays around alot (he's laying at my feet now), he needs so much attention (unlike most cats) and there are a lot of times I can't even read on our couch because he's poking me with the ball the entire time. I love him to pieces and wouldn't trade him, he is a lot of work. I guess it just depends if you want another child and have alot of time on your hands : ) I have to note too that I'm more of a Type A person so I don't go with the flow very easily - I have had to relax my cleaning standards because of dog hair, nose prints on the door glass, water dripped all over the floor when he drinks, etc. I'm sure these things aren't a big deal to a lot of people but I'm getting better!

Good luck and keep us posted!
Donna Simpson said…
Hi Laurie,
Came to you from Kelly's blog. My two cents for what it's worth is to get a rescue dog that's already housebroken, not a puppy! Puppies are waaaaay too much work and there are so many cute dogs that need a home. To me that would be a good compromise. If she likes the cuteness of a little puppy just look for a smaller breed dog. They're not quite as expensive as far as food, and supplies go also. That's my suggestion.
Kwilson said…
My husband really didnt want a dog, and they are now best buddies. He is the dog's "person".
Lesta said…
I was also "not a dog" person. I gave in and we got a puppy when the kids were around 10ish. It is amazing how "not a dog person" turns into a dog person once a puppy enters your home and your kids adore it. Dogs aren't like cats. Cats only tolerate people and they feel like they own the house. Dogs are actually your friends! They WANT you to play, hold, cuddle and enjoy them. Give in.... I'm here to tell you that your girls are going to be grown and gone in the blink of an eye. You'll be glad you allowed them the chance to be a pet owner. Sometimes us Moms have to be unselfish and just cave in. I promise you'll be the Mom of the year in your girl's eyes.
Get that sweet girl a puppy!!!!!!!!!
His Doorkeeper said…
Laurie, You need to do what's best for your family BUT I do believe loving a dog is the best way to teach your children many things from responsibility to loving others. I've had a dog all my life and I STILL look back with such fond remembrance of my childhood dogs! They enrich your life! I would suggest a 1-3 yr. old dog already house broken!
Tracy said…
Get a dog and you'll quickly become a dog person! They sure have a way of working their way right into your heart!
Tonya said…
Dogs rule! Cats drool! (This coming from a dog person!) Haha! You have to do what's best for your family, but I will tell you some of my best childhood memories were the ones with my dogs! And bonus, they also listened to my problems when my parents just didn't understand! They were truly my best friends at times! :)
Jen said…
As a mama who does love dogs and is currently dealing with puppyhood at our house- please don't let anyone who will not be caring for this dog sway your decision! It is a huge commitment and a lot of work! And the majority of the work will fall on you. House training can be frustrating and puppies are naughty. They bite and chew and pee all day long! Is it rewarding? Of course! But it is a LOT of work. And as far as the kids go, puppies are cute, yes, but they bite and it hurts. Even training them to not use their teeth on you takes time and patience and the willingness to endure sharp puppy teeth while training. The girls need to understand that that will happen and will happen for awhile. We are a dog family, we have always had a dog, and we love our new little girl puppy. But we are exhausted, we are taking shifts for her care, (puppies need supervision 100% of the time), and it is a LOT of work. So, please, for the sake of any animal you may bring into your home- this is a life that is completely dependent on you. If it's not for you, it's not for you. And that is ok. Your girls will survive and be teens soon and wanting to only be with their friends anyway. And busy with activities. Personally, I think it speaks volumes about you as a person (in a great way) that you take this seriously and are not being impulsive about it.
Leigh said…
Getting a dog is a big deal and not to be taken lightly, so I completely understand your hesitation. My recommendation is getting a dog from a rescue organization and definitely not a puppy. We got our first family dog 2 years ago. I looked for a local rescue group, emailed them and told them all about us, and let them make a few recommendations on which dog would match best with our family. He was 4 years old when we got him and it's the best thing we ever did. I worried my kids would be disappointed to not get a puppy but I couldn't have been more wrong! There will still be some potty issues initially because they are living somewhere new but our dog was house and crate trained when we got him. And the foster family who had him previously gave us a 2 page letter telling us all about him and his likes/dislikes. While I definitely had some requests (smaller size, non-shedding, not a puppy but still young) I let the rescue group make the match based on our lifestyle, activity level, etc... It truly has been a wonderful experience overall and I love that my kids' eyes were opened to the world of animal rescue. They've even had lemonade stands and Birthday parties requesting donations for the rescue organization we adopted from. Good luck!
Candis Berge said…
Wow. You are not selfish. You are a loving, caring mother who is evaluating what is best for you and your entire family. My three sons survived just fine without a dog, by the way.
Heather said…
Oh sweet baby Jesus, this is Laurie's choice with HER family. She is the mom and allowed to make the decisions. Dogs are not for everyone, and that's okay. Someday Emily will have her own home and can have 5 dogs if she so desires. But to call someone selfish because she won't let their kid get a dog? Come on. Laurie, you do you. Emily will not have a horrible childhood because you have two cats that are anti-human. I have a cat who prefers to love us from a distance, and we know that and love him anyway. Stay strong Mom :)
Katherine said…
Some of these comments are rude. Having a dog is a big responsibility. A lot of the work will fall on you. Most likely you would fall in love with the dog and not mind the extra work and not even think of it as work. I think it is smart of you to think about all the logistics. It also isn't fair to the dog to bring it into a house with 2 unfriendly cats. Some dogs would be terrified of the cats and be very fearful, especially a rescue whose background you may not know. Some dogs have a high prey instinct too. We keep our cat and dog separate because she is mean and he just wants to play. It really isn't a big deal to keep them separate at all. If you decide to do it then work with a rescue or humane society to find the perfect dog for your family. A lot of rescues DO have puppies too if that is what you decide that would work best. Maybe you could spend some time with friends' dogs or puppies and see how you react. See if you warm up any. They are truly great comforting companions who bring tons of laughter and love to your family. You just have to make a careful decision and I think it would all work out! The cats would get over it. But you have to do what is right for y'all. If you already have a lot going on in your life and don't have the time or energy for a dog then it is probably not a good idea. Don't let people make you feel bad about that.
Katherine said…
I came back to say that some rescues will let you try a dog out for a weekend too. If you find a dog you like on their website and meet the dog and still aren't sure they will let you keep the dog for a weekend to see how it goes. Also a little bit older dogs like over 2 are sometimes cat tested. They have been in foster homes with cats and most likely just ignore them. I think if you can find a dog that ignores cats and doesn't chase or torment the cats, they will learn to live with the dog. But all this to say you have to be ok with it too. I think it's a family decision and everyone should be on board.
LizaJane said…
I wanted a dog the whole time i was growing up, and we got a puppy. Within a week, my mom was so stressed out she was yelling constantly, and the dog went back to the rescue group. When i grew up and had my own house, I got a dog, and I love love loved him like you wouldn't believe. (He lived 16 years and passed away last fall after a good and long and loved life.) But now that i'm a mom with a preschooler, I recognize that having another dog would stress me out too much right now. We will absolutely get one when the time is right, but if the time is not right for you right now, don't do it. Don't let anyone tell you that you're selfish or that your child might die and then you'll regret it (what the heck was that?). You know how to manage your house and your stress levels and do what is best for your family. You'll know when your family is ready. For me - the thought of keeping 3 pets apart would put me over the edge! It would be like having three exploring toddlers - you could never relax!
Unknown said…
Just get the dog! (this comes from a dog person who loves every doggie she sees!!) Every kid needs a dog. They can learn so much from them (and not just responsibility). Dogs are loyal. The are always happy to see you! They will disobey, but they are always sorry when they do! Sometimes, they are more well behaved than the kids (I know this for a fact!!!) They will listen and not talk back!! Somehow, they can read your moods and they just know when you need a snuggle. They are always there to kiss a tear away and they always make you feel better. They sort of remind me of GOD!! You know, how He is always there......But then again "DOG" spelled backwards is "G O D". :-)

Good luck!
Lisa said…
Okay, for what its worth... Let her have a dog. I have to agree with the person that stated get a Rescue Dog. There are the best and give back love that you never knew existed. We took a Deaf Rescue dog. We didn't want three dogs in our home... but once Keller came in and won our hearts we were just heart broken when he passed away. He never chewed anything up and never went potty in the house. If for some reason it doesn't work out, the rescues in most cases will take them back. Cats okay but not personal like a dog. She needs something of her own to love on, and feel loved from. Rethink it Laurie, let the girl have a dog. Please, pretty please!
MM said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
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