Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dog Ownership

So very recently, my daughter started declaring that she wanted a dog. Mostly in passing, but I’ve heard it a number of times already. 

Then yesterday, this turns up in her backpack from school
A little dark, but it's a proposal from Random asking for a dog.  
What a big girl!  She laid out her argument so well, and put in some very persuasive points.  So I feel I should put my thoughts on paper here.

I’m grateful that she wants a dog, and I’m sincerely happy that she’s gone through the thought process and wants to show responsibility.  She’s so adorable, I want to say yes and make her childhood grand.  Here, in no particular order, are my objections.  I’d love for people to leave feedback here or on Facebook for me.  Help me understand what I would have to do to say yes to my princess.

The Cats

Not sure how they would react to a dog in the house.  Given their temperaments, I would expect somewhere between cold indifference to actively aggressive/fearful.  Also, how do you keep cat food separate from dog food?  The cats are piggies who forage all the time for any dropped crumbs.  I can’t imagine a dog dish being safe from the cats.  People with both, how does that work?


Daily, we put the cats to bed.  They go into the laundry room for the night.  I’m sure I’ve just horrified every cat person I know, since I’ve heard cats are supposed to hunt and roam all night, but these cats get treats when the go to bed, so they aggressively request bedtime each night by meowing and leading me to the laundry room. They have their carriers in there and sleep in there.  We obviously couldn’t put the dog in the laundry room for the night, could we?


Nicole doesn’t like the noise the kids make interrupting her sleep.  I can’t imagine how she would tolerate barking, whining, scraping, etc.  The kids we can at least appeal to their sense of mercy and ask them to be quiet.  Seems like when you have a dog, you have to expect them to bark at any and all hours of the day and night and be okay with that.

Letting the Animal Out

My understanding is that we have to let the dog go outside.  Animals don’t wear shoes in the house and therefore track everything in from outside and transfer it onto every surface they mount.  The floor, the counter, the bed, the couch.  Seems like a germy mess to me.

Letting the Animal Out, Part 2

We don’t have a fence for our backyard, so it seems like letting the dog out is impossible, at least without supervision.  Going for a walk with a dog sounds fine during the spring and fall, but I’m not willing to commit to doing that in the current weather.  If someone else committed to that, fine, but it will not be me.  I don’t have that kind of time.  And the cost of building a fence is currently prohibitive.


With a dog, you have to allow extra time and cost for boarding or increase imposing on friends.  When we go on vacation now, someone comes by daily to check on the cats, but with a dog, someone has to come by more than once, and possibly spend time with the dog outside.  It’s either one of those or ratchet back on travel.

Annual Trips

The family minus me goes on summer trips to Ohio for weeks at a time.  Since I am not willing to take on regular pooch-maintenance, those trips would either have to stop or involve boarding.


When we got the cats, I inherited the job of scooping the cat litter.  I’m over it.  I have committed to handling the cats litter boxes, but I’m done picking up poop.  I’m not wandering around outside looking for and scooping it up.  I’m not going to scrape it off the kids’ shoes or mine.  Having a dog means finding some way around me doing this.  Kid volunteers, Mommie volunteers, don’t care, but I’m not going to do this.

So those are my issues.  Help me figure out how to mitigate them.  I'm willing to live with the smell and damaged goods in the house.  I'm willing to pay for the food for any creature in our family.  But I'm not sure I'm willing to give up the travel or the money for fences or money for boarding, etc., and I'm inflexible on the walking/pooping issues, but I am interested in hearing how people do it.

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