The kids want a puppy

Our fluffy, bright-white, spirited American Eskimo dog, Blanco (with his terrible yapping bark) died a year and a half ago. We really miss playing fetch with him, having him greet us at the door, and hearing the pitter-patter of his feet around the house.

What we don't miss are the huge vet bills, the boarding fees incurred when we travel, the pooper-scooping of the yard, and worrying about him daily as his health deteriorated in the end. Ever since we buried Blanco, the hamster and the fish - in short sequence - the kids have been rallying around the cry:
We don't want to be a family with no pets!
I agree with them, and yet I am on the fence about bringing another puppy or a rescue pet home to care for. I feel a lot of pressure to make a loving, conscious choice about adopting or buying a dog and am concerned that now isn't the time to make it happen. The Humane Society of the United States blurb describes my feelings precisely:
The key to creating a true "family pet"—one who is gentle, loyal, and loving to both animals and people—is to treat the animal as a beloved family member and to provide the training and care he deserves. It's not enough to get a pet "for the kids." A pet is not a temporary playmate for children, but a lifelong family member who depends on the entire family, especially adults.
It is the word "depends" that gets me. So many things depend on me now that adding another makes me cringe! I ask myself:

Is there room enough to love another soul in your life?
  • Yes, there is always room to love another soul.
Can I tolerate a bit more chaos in my life?
  • Umm. In the past I'd say, sure, but these days I want less and less chaos.
Can I handle the poop?
  • Not sure about that, might be my husband's job.
Can I handle training my children to help?
  • Yes, absolutely. And they're great with pet responsibilities.Link
You know, as I write out this Q + A, I am reminded that loving a living creature, even when it is chaotic, imperfect, expensive, and scary, is still love. And wise people say that the best time for love is the moment before you. It's all got me thinking . . .

. . .

Today it was a total shoe meltdown


  1. I have a few things to share about Blanco. I was never nuts about the fur, or the barking. Those doggie downsides seemed insignificant next to his personality and warm heart. We used to drag him to the Fells on those 6 mile runs in the heat of the summer. We were all in heaven. He was a good running companion and he always put us to shame. What's a little fur, barking and poop when you get such loyalty and love in return? Blanco, I miss you too.


  2. Our son still carries a photo of him in his wallet. I remember my dog growing up better then many of my friends (and even my parents sometimes!). Unconditional love is rare now as it was then. And they say in Washington if you want a true friend get a dog.

    So I guess the rewards are greater then the responsiblties, but hoping to avoid puppy training in the dead of winter.

    -poop scooper in chief

  3. You guys got me all choked up.

    Truth is, I'm choked up all the time thee days with the world being in the shape it is.

    It just dawned on me that I dislike getting attached since the dog is going to die someday. How's that for playing the ending?

    Must be the strange way my efficiency genes express themselves. I am sure it comes from from the Rodgers side of the family :)

    XO to my two good friends and GET TO THE FELLS for me, girl!

  4. We have a Lab in our family. He is going on 14 in about a month. He pre-dates the kids and next to my wife has often been the center of the family.

    I like him more than most people.

    He has gotten to that point where we are saying... any day now... any day.

    Kids are already pushing for another dog. They are A LOT of work and it is hard to sign up for that. I suspect we will take a break but I hope it is not too long. Dogs bring something rare to a family when they are loved as family.