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Author: toni

~ 06/29/09


I know. I’m a BAD MOM! I DO feel guilty about it. That guilt is made WORSE because she’s an only child who lets me know on a regular basis how HORRIBLE it is to be an only child. And how having a puppy of her very own to love would make being an only child so much more tolerable. Yeah. She’s working me. But there’s some truth to it.

I know how many hours of fun and companionship the dog would bring her. I got a taste of it recently on our trip to West Virginia where Julia played with Great Grandma and Great Aunt Vada’s dog CHAUNCEY (pictured RIGHT). They were instant pals and hours of fun were had.

On those days when a playdate isn’t possible,  when her dad and I are busy with adult things or when she’s feeling a little lonely and needs something a little warmer to snuggle with than LAMBIE PIE (the hot water bottle in the shape of a lamb my friend Ann gave me years ago to help with cramps)… a dog would be the ticket.

WHY WON’T YOU GET HER A DOG, YOU SELFISH MOMMY?!…you ask, knowing full well your judgmental attitude will likely push me over into the guilt abyss.


Well, let me count the reasons:

1) POOP. So much poop, so little desire to clean it up. Although Julia SWEARS she would clean up after the dog, I know how those promises end (cuz I made the same ones when I was a kid). With mommy doing ALL THE WORK

To make matters worse, pet ownership etiquette has changed from when I was a kid in the Midwest making shallow promises to my own mom. Back then, if your dog needed “to go”, you let them out, they did their “business” I don’t know where, and came home. Not so today. Today, you must follow your dogs (leashed of course) with a plastic baggie and be their personal pooper scooper. And as someone who holds a Master’s Degree, this just doesn’t sit well with me.

2) DESTRUCTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY. Randy the perfekt husband is kind of fussy. He likes things nice and neat. And it would MAKE HIM CRAZY to have our nice furniture and hardwood floors destroyed. And truth be told, it’d make me a little crazy too. The answer of course would be to KEEP THE DOG OUTSIDE. But apparently we can’t keep the dog outside like we did as kids, because there doesn’t seem to be any such thing as an “outside dog” anymore. No one has a doghouse anymore. Know why? They’re cruel. It’s too hot or cold for modern day dogs apparently. Today’s dogs need to sleep inside where it’s temperature controlled, preferably in the same bed as their owners AND with their own set of bed linens upon which you can have their names stitched. And a biscuit in bed on Sunday mornings would be nice too, thank you very much.

3) FREEDOM. We like to “go go go” on the weekends. Day trips to various places. Gone hours. And apparently, you CANNOT leave a dog alone for hours. They will get sad and to show their “disapproval” at being left alone, will chew ONE of every pair of shoes you have. Oh, and pull out all the dirty underwear from the laundry basket and RIP them to shreds. And if that doesn’t get the point across, they will SIT on your azaleas until they wilt and BITE HOLES in the bottom of your work slacks.

4) COST. In addition to the Personal Property Damage they inflict out of disapproval, medical bills for dogs are so steep these days, they are akin to bills for humans undergoing organ transplant surgeries. When a relative’s Border Collie went herd-loopy and chewed off its own tail, the resulting surgery was $900! A friend paid thousands to put a glass eye in her blind dog. A neighbor’s ailing dog required $200 dollars in X-rays. And of course if you have a dog, you will pay this. They are part of the family…unless you DON’T get one and then they’re not!

5) ALLERGIES. Here’s the biggest reason. I spent my entire childhood struggling to breathe. Granted, the asthma attacks were brought on mostly by cats (to which I am HORRIBLY allergic) but the dogs didn’t help either. I look at pictures of myself as a kid and see the dark circles under my eyes from the oxygen deprivation. Returning to that NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD state makes me cringe.

Ah, but what about the hypoallergenic breeds, you ask? That’s so perfect! I’M ALL FOR IT! ….As long as the dog also doesn’t shed, poop or get sick AND can be left alone for hours without detriment to my shoes…


So what do you think? Am I a BAD MOM for not getting my kid a dog? Should every kid have a dog? Does an only child DESERVE a dog? Is the ONLY way out of this guilt hell a trip to the pound?

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  1. Dear Mommakaze: You might as well get the dog bed and biscuits ready cuz it is not a matter of IF you get a dog but WHEN you get a dog. As someone who has been “peeping through the windows” from 3,000 miles
    away Miss Julia will be a proud puppy owner. Allergy part – well “baby” Chauncey (who is a Yorkie) is on the list at the vet’s for
    a perfect companion for people with allergies. He gives unconditional love and has never torn up furniture. Well, now the sandal = that was my fault for leaving it lying around. It only happened once because Chauncey is a fast learner!!!! (all dogs like to chew! and don’t give them rawhide – terrible for their stomachs –
    use Nylabones). The only other recourse is move in Chauncey’s neighborhood and he could share his love with Miss Julia (which he would love) but since Daddy’s job is in LA, I guess that is out of the
    question. Only other alternative is – visit Chauncey OFTEN! I know he (along with his WV relatives) would love that!

    Comment by MomofMaci — June 30, 2009 @ 12:09 am

  2. I think MomofMaci is probably right. Although personally I say hold out as long as you can. She “might” grow out of it. Do any of the neighbors have dogs you could just borrow for a few days at a time? They might enjoy the vacation.

    Comment by tonyt — June 30, 2009 @ 6:54 am

  3. I think the solution to your problem is to adopt a second child. If you adopt one that is potty trained, you don’t have to worry about poop. You can take the child with you and maintain your “freedom” of being on the “go, go, go”. You won’t have to worry about your allergies. Yes, the costs will be greater than having a dog, and there may still be some destruction of private property, but it would definitely solve your lack of companionship problem for Julia.

    If that doesn’t sound appealing, perhaps you try dogsitting some friends’ dogs, as Tony suggested, and see how it goes.

    Comment by Maureen — June 30, 2009 @ 11:15 am

  4. Hey y’all, I love Maureen’s idea, adopt a second child! What do you
    think Julia’s Mom?????

    Comment by MomofMaci — June 30, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

  5. I’m here to hold the line with you. I, too have countless precious, Hallmark-card-worthy, guilt-inducing pictures of my children holding the fluffiest of puppies. We have resisted the pleas of both children who are no longer content with the Rubbermaid tub the size of a Volkswagen filled only of kitten and puppy stuffed animals.
    Here’s the deal: We have allergies and we travel frequently. Put that together with the fact that I am not a fan of the potty pick-up, and there you have it. I’m fortunate that my in-laws have 4 dogs. They get their fill when we visit, but I still won’t be swayed.
    Best of luck to you, my girl, and start putting away a little for vet school. I think that’s where my little animal lovers are headed…

    Comment by mommymarchbanks — July 1, 2009 @ 11:16 am

  6. Hi Tony,

    I can understand your reticence, especially if you are allergic, to getting a dog. However, as a dog lover myself, I vote for the dog. Yorkies don’t shed, so maybe a breed like that would be good for your allergies. If you have to give yourself shots in order to live in the same house/yard/space with a dog then no, but aside from that and the fact that you will be much poorer and your house and yard will never be quite as immaculate again, dogs give so much more than they take, and that love and companionship for Julia and for you and Randy is well worth all the costs and sacrifices combined. I cannot put it into words, but what a dog adds to your life is immeasurable and I believe it is a very good experience for a child to have growing up. Remember this quote, “Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.” – Mordecai Siegal (b. 1934) And just think of the endless material you will have for your website!

    Comment by snipperjo — July 2, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

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