Relationships

Do You Have a Dog?

Do You Have a Dog?

Five-year-old Anton and nine-year-old Toby have started their childhood campaign to get a dog…

“Our family is like a soup,” said Toby last week, “and we don’t have all the ingredients.”

And Anton points out cute dogs on the street. Although when I asked him if he’d help out with walks, he answered, “I’ll definitely play with the dog, but you guys can take care of it.” (I appreciate the honesty, Anton.)

Alex has always loved dogs, but I have to admit, I didn’t grow up around them, and most of my life, I thought they were a little scary. If I walked by a dog on the street, I thought there was a not slim chance it might turn and casually bite off my hand.

But this year, my mind has changed. We work in a shared office in Brooklyn, and people often bring in their dogs. And one in particular — this lady, above — has stolen my heart. She firmly believes she’s welcome everywhere, and her hilarious self-confidence is so endearing! She’ll saunter over and just stand on our computers. Or stretch out and nap on literally anyone who is sitting on the sofa. I’m less scared now and I now see why people adore dogs so much.

So, I’m curious: Do you think we should do it? Do you have a dog? What’s his or her name? I’d love to hear about your experiences! We’ve been reading lately about how to adopt a rescue dog.

P.S. Caroline’s open letter to dogs, and this dog’s amazing eyes. Plus, a funny way to name a dog.

(Photo by Samantha Gehrmann via Stocksy. Cartoon by Charles Barsotti for the New Yorker.)

  1. Carlin Miller says...

    We have a dog. I say “we” but I mean I have a dog that I share with my husband and children. My husband takes care of him (lots of walks and poop pick-ups in our yard) but our dog is very clear that I am his person. And, this amazes me because one of the reasons we got a dog was because I was afraid of them and I wanted my children to be more comfortable.

    And, make sure you are prepared for your kids to do NOTHING to help with the dog. If it turns out that they are more invested than ours, you all win. If you are right, then you won’t be disappointed.

  2. Virginia says...

    We have two dogs and, yes, they are a ton of work and very expensive to maintain (far more than we ever imagined) but well worth all of the time, money and effort. One of the smartest things we did was to buy pet insurance. Our older dog has had multiple surgeries plus a few injuries that were very expensive; the younger dog has also had a minor surgery and another expensive health scare. We have Trupanion and our dog’s surgeon told us that they are the best to deal with (which we have found accurate). The premiums are high but we have gotten our money’s worth and the peace of mind of not having to worry about the fact that the treatment will run into the thousands has been invaluable.

  3. Jessica says...

    I have to say, we recently put our pet dog to sleep after over a decade and a half of time with him. He was the best. In the years leading up to his death, I worried anything he seemed off that THIS WOULD BE THE TIME that we’d have to make a decision about how life. When the time finally came, some of my loudest thoughts were that this was SO worth it — his life was so worth the sadness we felt that day (and continue to feel). I’m so glad we got to know him and love him. If I had to do it over again, I’d try to worry less that he’s going to die and enjoy every single second with him, even the unexpected trips to the vet and the nights spent wiping messes off the floor. He was so worth it.

    Something we might try in the future before adopting again is fostering. I fostered kittens for a few years. They are just adorable — teeny kittens who aren’t yet big enough to be spayed or neutered. They are so loving and energetic and sleepy. They would run home when I put my key in the door and jump onto my leg and hug it when I walked in. They’d curl up under the blankets or inside the pillow cases and sleep with me through the night. They’d chase a toy and then suddenly fall asleep from exhaustion. I’ve never fostered dogs, but I bet it would be a good way to gauge whether my family is ready for another one!

    • Chantsy says...

      This. The HARDEST part of having a dog is saying goodbye. I have done it several times now and it never gets easier but the love they bring to your day to day life is like nothing else. So sorry for your loss.

  4. Natalie A says...

    100 times over yes

  5. Jane says...

    I have two brothers who desperately wanted a dog. We got one when my younger brother was 12. We loved him- except my dad. He stopped my brothers from having those bored, drag out fights. We feel we got Toby five years too late and when he was five we were essentially out of the house and he was lonely.
    Fast forward and I am the mom to three boys. When my youngest was three we got Rosie. I wanted her and my youngest to grow up together.
    Foolishly, but not really, we just got a puppy. Rosie is seven and my youngest is 10, so this pup will carry us through to the kids leaving home.
    I have no regrets about adding pets to our family- we also have a cat-the unconditional love and affection alone make it worth it. A pet teaches kids empathy and they need to care for them too. The children walk the dog and feed all the pets. They love them too. My kids are never home alone- the animals are there for company, it sounds silly but it’s true. Once my middle son remarked how the dog is always happy to see him. My oldest is 17 and when he comes home he greets the dog and then looks for the cat to say hi to her. At an age where he won’t come and sit on my knee (that would be ridiculous!), he can be affectionate with the animals.

    Suggestions-
    I recommend a non-shedding dog- both of ours are poodle mixes and we don’t have to deal with pet fur everywhere all the time.
    A medium sized dog for boys- too small is not enough fun for them and too big is too much work. Go knee high- then your boys can walk a dog and deal with the pulling.
    I had heard that female dogs are less likely to run away. I don’t know if it is true but as the only female in the house, I am happy to even out the numbers with the pets.

  6. Nina says...

    I have always had dogs growing up. My mother and father weren’t so consistent with keeping dogs so they would get mad or upset and get rid of our dogs. That was heartbreaking. I had a dog I rescued before my son was born, a 6lb toy poodle named Louie. He was very old and frail and I had to have him put to sleep after my son was born, he was down to 3 lb despite me making him raw food and feeding him by hand. Honestly, I probably should have had him put to sleep sooner but I felt guilty like ‘new mom gets rid of dog and is selfish.’ I got my son a weim/lab mix puppy when he was 2. the economy had hit the skids and I lost my job and I thought well now is the best time. OMG I don’t recommend anyone EVER have a 2 year old and a puppy. so.much.work. but he is an amazing dog. He just turned 10 and he’s super chill. 100 lb. Everyone who sees him loves him. Kids lay across his back. He has tons of allergies and gets separation anxiety but I love him, his name is George. He’s not super snuggly so my son is sad about that but we did things like play hide n seek and tug of war and he still runs to find my son like he is a puppy. we are currently fostering a chiuaua named Princess. We just started last week. Someone moved in with family for health reasons and needed someone to temporarily keep their dog. Its a learning experience. 1. she no longer will eat the cheap food they sent with her, as she prefers my dog’s expensive limited ingredient grain and potato free. She is exhibiting some undesirable behaviors – last night she growled at my son when he moved her in bed so she will go to her crate for sleeping now and she’s been peeing and pooping in the house. I hate when people get little dogs and don’t train them. Just because they are little doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train them. No jumping up. No growling. No biting. Simple things like that. She barks at trucks and every person who walks past us on walks so we are giving her time outs. She actually stopped after the 2nd time out (turn the dog away and stand there, then turn back around and see if they keep barking and do it till they stop). I also fostered a tibetan spaniel when I was single. My little dog Louie hated him but he was super sweet and I would have kept him but my life wasn’t conducive to that, at that time. How about fostering? then you can see how hard it is (I always forget how much work another dog is!) and if you fall in love with one, you can always be a foster fail. We’ve also dog sat for weeks/months for friends and family. Most of the time we are so happy to get back to our big George. I’d like to get one smaller dog after George but we’ll see. George loves other dogs but when they live with us, he gets annoyed. He likes to smell them and then have them go away. Luckily this foster can’t jump up on the high bed he usually sleeps on.

  7. Carole says...

    Dogs are a lot of work… and it’s tough when you go away but honestly it’s all SO worth it. I always stress when we go away, “who will watch the dogs?, will they be on there best behavior?” I always leave the longest list of things that could possibly happen and of course every time I come back my friends are always “we had SO much fun!” Dogs are the best companions, they know when you have a bad day, they love unconditionally, they make us laugh” I have had a few dogs now and I honestly would never go without a dog, they fill our lives with so much joy and love!!

  8. Tali says...

    My family just lost our childhood dog of 16 years. He was the best decision we ever made! My brother and I had grown up dog sitting for neighbors and when we saw this little white lab puppy under a picnic table, my mom knew he was ours. She knew we could help care for him! We named him Buddy and he was so handsome. He loved to swim, the snow, eat paper and always wanted to be with us. After his passing, I still find myself about to ask my mom how he’d doing or if she can walk into the living room and show me him. It’s the hardest for my parents but I wouldn’t take back any of those years! Highly recommend a dog! They will enrich your life and complete the soup :)

  9. Don’t have a dog and no plans to get one. I like animals, but I’m not sure my sanity and introversion would stretch far enough for another creature dependent on me. I do not want the dog to be a source of resentment for me! Our kids do beg for a dog – we have small pets that they can handle 100% and I tell them they can always get a dog when they have their own living space (and understand all the ramifications, hahahahah!).

  10. Victoria Haynes says...

    I’m not saying this is my position, but I recently heard an argument (from someone who is very concerned with responsible animal stewardship) that says that the rescue craze fuels demand for bad practices, and that breeders are people who care that the happiest, healthiest animals are the ones whose lines continue. We got our dog from one of those adopt-a-pet vans at a street fair years ago, and he was a sweetheart (I was 8 months pregnant and I blame my husband for not calling out the hormone storm I was in!), but when I became pregnant with my third, we found him a new loving home where he goes snowshoeing every day with a retired couple. He’s living his best life and we can focus on our new (human) bundle of joy.

  11. Katie says...

    100% YES to adopting a dog. My husband and I adopted a 1 year old rescue dog and it was the best decision we ever made! Adopting an older dog made it easier in an apartment because he was already house trained and could stay by himself while we were gone at work all day. I know puppies are cute but tons of work to house train and need to go out regularly as they are training and growing (so cute though!) This past year my mother in law passed away from ALS and it was an incredibly hard time leading up to her passing and of course when she did pass away. Our dog Indie was such a support and therapy dog to my husband and myself as we went through that difficult time. Plus having a dog forces you to get outside for walks even on not so nice days in the cold of winter and you always feel better after getting outside for a walk. They are a lot of work but the love they bring into your home is SO worth it.

  12. Sherrie Saag says...

    Adopting a dog into our family was the BEST thing that ever happened. The kids learned empathy, kindness for all God’s creatures and the importance of caring for all breathing things. Plus – a PLAYMATE. My kids are now 23 and 21 and it’s the one of best decisions I made for their childhood. I, too – never had a dog growing up – my mother doesn’t like them – but we are now on our 2nd 4-legged member of the family and your capacity for love is boundless. Just get a breed great for the city, is small and will be happy in an apartment, and only wants to love on its family. We had a Multichon first, now a Coton De Tulare. Cannot recommend enough.

  13. Caitlin Pond says...

    The love I feel for my dog Finn is downright ridiculous, but I admit that I understand your hesitation. Dogs are a big commitment!

    I am a huge Gretchen Rubin fan, and she had very similar reservations when her two daughters started asking to add a dog to their NYC life. Ultimately, she chose to go for it, and I think about her decision in my own life a lot. She said, “Have trouble deciding whether or not to choose a course of action? Like — whether or not to get a dog? Try this: Choose the bigger life.”

    I may already have a dog, but “choose the bigger life” is still so powerful for me. It applies to everything. Going on that run you’re dreading, moving to a new city, or even splurging on the nice handbag.

    Choose the bigger life, Joanna!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i love that, caitlin!

    • Lisa Chow says...

      “choose the bigger life” – awesome

      I grew up with lots of pets, including dogs, and I missed having them so badly. My husband did not and it was a hard sell, he liked dogs but didn’t want the responsibility. In the end he and even my reluctant in-laws have fallen hard for our dog (their grand puppy). Fast forward 8 years later and there are zero regrets.

      I agree with the suggestion of a mid-size (20-30lbs), non shedding dog. We have a min- schnauzer (I grew up with one!). He never needed a lot of exercise (40-ish min throughout the day), but he does love attention.

      Unsolicited advice: the first 6-8 months of training if you get a puppy is so very important. You don’t need a dog to do tricks, just be easy to live with – easy to walk, calm in the house… the time you spend in the beginning will serve you both well.

    • Avani says...

      Thanks for this message Caitlin! I think i’m going to use this for making other decisions in my life too! I’m not at a point where adding a dog to my family is feasible yet…

  14. Kari says...

    “Family soup” – omg too precious. And accurate – a dog will be such a joy for your family! My doodle pup, Frankie, is just about to turn a year old. She’s a ton of work and can drive me nutty but I still love her more than I could’ve imagined. My unsolicited advice would be to look at slightly older dogs. The early puppy days are no joke (getting up with them through the night, tiny puppy teeth biting, so much training, so much energy), so I bet that a 2 or 3 yr old dog would be a perfect addition to your home. Good luck!

  15. Jenny says...

    I named my rescue dog Keeper because he was scared I was taking him back to the pound and I wanted him to know this love is forever. In my hardest times, Keeper has been my family, my soulmate dog, a heartbeat in my empty apartment, a reason to run outside, a joy to come home to.
    Having a dog will make your kids unafraid of dogs, and know how to interact with them. Even right now as my sighing sweet boy rests his chin on my foot, I understand that your life is hard. The drudgery of caring for other people is real. A dog will love you with his entire self, but it’s also ok if you need more space, less living things relying on you too.

  16. Leigh D. says...

    I am thankful we do not have a dog. We can be gone from the house for long periods of time without worrying about a dog missing us or feeling lonely. My 9-year-old daughter does a lot of extra-curricular activities, and I would feel guilty leaving a dog alone for so much of the day and evening. We have angelfish instead! They’re actually surprisingly social and happy to see me when I walk into the room, but there’s no guilt in leaving them alone all day long. That being said, if my daughter wanted a dog, I would consider it, but I find the thought overwhelming. Consider your lifestyle and try to predict what your lifestyle will be for the next 10-12 years before committing to a dog. I know, though, that dogs give back a hundredfold. They are a tremendous responsibility but great for the right person or family.

  17. janine says...

    I was a staunch “cat person” for many years and 2 years ago we got a dog.

    He is the best dog ever, and I don’t know how I ever lived without him.

    He is also best friends with my son. The dog will snuggle with him, play with him, and gently lick tears from my son’s face when he is upset. The dog’s enthusiasm upon seeing my son is pure, unbridled joy – even when my son just wakes up in the morning!

    The dog likes everyone – humans (kid and adult), other dogs, cats – and everything (going to the vet or groomer? No problem!) And everyone who meets him (human or animal) is won over. No one can resist this dog’s charms!

  18. Am says...

    I was always a dog person – growing up we had dogs who I loved to bits and were so incredibly special to me. My older sister has a phobia of cats and so I never really paid much attention to them and didn’t ‘get’ the whole cat lover thing. I felt this way until my mid-20’s when I moved in with my partner, who had just rescued a kitten. Let’s just say this kitten grew on me. Maybe it’s because my dogs were family dogs and I never had a pet that was my responsibility, but I never felt so much love from an animal before. I had NO IDEA cats were like this. She was an indoor cat and when we returned home from wherever we had been she would run to the door to greet us, purring and wanting to be picked up. She would snuggle up on our laps every evening and in the morning she would wake me up by gently patting my face with her paw…. and she didn’t wake me up because she was looking for her breakfast… she just wanted cuddles! All she wanted was to snuggle up on my pillow and fall asleep for another while. She sadly passed away suddenly when she was just 7 and it was one of the hardest things we have had to go through. I have definitely converted from a dog to a cat person. I still absolutely love dogs, but knowing now that cats can be so loving (and a lot less responsibility) I don’t think I will be getting a dog in the future. Also, whatever animal you do get try to get one that doesn’t shed…. it will make things much easier!

  19. Linds says...

    I adopted a rescue last year. He is the sweetest three-year-old Catahoula/Rottweiler mix – champion cuddler and a total clown. As with any rescue – he comes with a past and this poor guy was afraid of everything, from window blinds, all men, traffic cones, unexpected noises…The smallest changes to his environment would take him hours to get over. It’s been so much fun to see him gain confidence and I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process. Definitely worth the time and investment! I highly recommend taking your time in finding a dog. The right one will choose you back :)

  20. Ms Nina G says...

    Adopt a cat/kitten (or foster one first.) I grew up with a dog and was not a cat fan until my boyfriend came into my life with one. They give so much love and are so much less work (especially if you live in the NYC area.)

  21. Catharine says...

    I adore the photo above of the baby and the dog. It reminds me of my 7 month old son’s wonderment of our dog. We got an English Bulldog, Calvin, shortly after getting married and loved him so much that we added a second English Bulldog, Matilda, 3 years later. I think they both would have preferred to be only children in the home, since they both just wanted our undivided attention. We now have a 3 year old daughter and 7 month old son. Sadly, Calvin passed late last year. I felt that I did not have the time to give him the attention that he deserved since adding two little ones to our home. I think that adding a dog once you have passed the baby/toddler years where the children can grow up with him/her would be ideal. I think that my daughter prefers cats, but I can already see my that my son is captivated by Matilda. I hope that curiosity and adoration continues for a long time. All of this to say – I would highly recommend a dog (unless you are a neat freak because your house will never be the same). They will love you even on your worst of days. : )

  22. Linda says...

    We <3 our dog, which we rescued about a year before we starting adding kids to our family. Neither my husband or I had a dog growing up.
    – I'd suggest pet-sitting for someone so that you get a grasp of how this might work for your family. (I love our dog, but a dog is a lot of work, and you're choosing to add this work to your daily life.)
    – Also, if you get a rescue, understand that it might have some emotional issues to work through at the beginning. Our dog had separation anxiety (completely understandable) but with enough time, he understood that we're his family and won't leave him.
    – And also understand that the rescue org has its own priorities, esp if they're overburdened. Do your own diligent homework, spend time w/ the dog, and trust your instincts.
    – We first tried adopting from our local shelter, but the smaller-sized friendly dogs were adopted shockingly fast; it was kind of heart-breaking for us, but good for the dogs, I guess; if you go this route, it might be better for you and Alex to go first so that Toby and Anton don't fall in love w/ a dog only to find out you're like 3rd or 4th in line to adopt it.

  23. Kristina says...

    I love my dog and he gives my life so much meaning – but DON’T get one if you’re not a hundred percent sure you have the time, energy, resources and devotion. Small dogs also need lots of exercise and guidance.
    I’m not sure if Europe, where I live, is very different, but I read a comment further up by someone who walks their dog ONCE a day and that would never ever be enough for someone here.

    Our dog is home alone while we’re at work, which means he needs our attention the rest of the day. That means no weekday date nights! But I guess with kids you would need a babysitter anyway:)

    A dog can be a wonderful addition to a family but it takes and deserves a LOT of work.

    • Kristina says...

      Btw I have a cat too and they’re also great company and much more independent :)

    • Nina says...

      yes, I am fostering a small dog right now and told the family I would be walking her at least 6 times a day and they were like SO MUCH!? um yes and one of those walks is at least a mile…and she is learning to go to the door whenever she needs to go out. They trained her to use piddle pads but I think that’s gross AND bad for the environment.

  24. LaReesa says...

    New pet parent here! Yes, get a dog, it’s the greatest, but it is a HUGE lifestyle change. We can’t be away from home more than 4 hours, we spend 2-3 hours a day on walks and training, we have to take her out to pee or poop on a leash whenever she demands, we have to spend money on food and a kennel and a bed and vet visits and toys to keep her occupied, we have to find care for her when we work a long day or go out of town. I LOVE my dog and we got her at the right time, but please consider the time, effort and money you need to dedicate. A good foster will ask you lots of questions to figure out if you’re ready and to help you decide what type of dog is right for your family. And thank you for considering a rescue. It’s the only way to go in my opinion!

  25. Alexis says...

    I am writing this with an extremely heavy heart because only 2.5 weeks ago I had to put my beloved (to put it mildly) Abby to sleep. She was a gorgeous purebred Black and Tan Coonhound rescue who I adopted as a puppy. Her long floppy ears, velvet coat, and sweet eyes stole my heart. She was with me throughout my entire twenties—post-college jobs, relationships, law school, everything in between, and so much more. She was my soulmate dog, and her loss has been profound.

    Here are my few practical dog tips:

    1. Routine is everything. When Abby was a puppy (and I barely had my life together) it was hard to be regimented and know whether it would pay off, but by the time she was 2ish until she died at 10, she was a well-oiled machine: 7 a.m. at my bedside; 7:30 a.m. at her bowl ready for breakfast; walks at 8 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 6 p.m., and of course at her bowl ready for dinner at 6:30 p.m., every day without fail.

    2. Get a bell. I hung a bell from a ribbon to the backdoor that I taught Abby to ring every time she had to go outside. I could hear it from anywhere in the house, and importantly, on the rare night she was sick and needed to go out a.s.a.p. That bell saved us both a lot of hassle and me a lot of furniture/rugs. The added bonus was people were amazed and delighted when Abby would ring it—as if they were seeing magic for the first time. The funniest part was in the summers when I would leave the backdoor open, Abby would ring the bell and then walk through the open door!

    3. Find a vet who shares your same philosophy about animals and care. Especially as your dog ages, it’s critical to have a vet who understands who you are as a pet parent, your strengths/weaknesses, and lifestyle.

    4. Consider (but don’t stress over) what the end of a dog’s life will be like for you/your family. Admittedly, when I was 21 I didn’t consider what carrying a 10-year-old, 65 pound dog with a degenerative neurological condition would be like, let alone the agony involved in having to make the decision to put her to sleep. I wish someone had told me then that one day I may have to make difficult decisions about her care, and ultimately her death.

    5. Say goodbye on your own terms. I had an amazing vet who did at-home visits, including at-home euthanasia. When it was clear Abby could no longer live the life she deserved, I arranged for my vet to come on the warmest day of the week, a sunny Friday afternoon. I could not bear to put her in the car and drive her to a packed vet office to say goodbye. Instead, Abby spent her final moments sunbathing in the backyard, gnawing on her favorite bone, my body wrapped around hers.

    Dogs are magic and so many people’s lives are better because of their presence.

    • Lisa says...

      I’m so sorry about the loss of your dog. I can tell it’s a fresh wound. My pup has been gone for over 2 years and I still miss her terribly. You gave great advice! I started volunteering at my local city animal shelter after we had to let our pup go. It helped tremendously (and I didn’t feel guilty about putting in my volunteer time and going home empty handed). Dogs are a ton of work but they are worth every second of time and every heartache that inevitably comes.

    • Alexis says...

      Thank you for your kind note, Lisa, it means so much to me. I love that you volunteer at your local shelter. When my wound isn’t so fresh I would like to do the same. But seriously, how do you not take every dog home?!

  26. Adopt don’t shop is the way to go. My rescue’s name is Gutter because he was rescued from a gutter. He is the best, sweetest thing that’s happened to me in recent years and I hope you guys get to experience the same thing. (IG: @mr.gutterkim)

  27. freya says...

    Get a cat! They say the way to raise feminist boys is to get a cat…

    • katie says...

      Love this, Freya! (And your pretty name, too!)

  28. Nigerian Girl says...

    Oh please, get a dog. They have a way of brightening the world. Anton and Toby will be happier for it, and your whole family will be better for it. I grew up with dogs and I love them so much, but sadly my current lifestyle doesn’t leave room for pet ownership. I can’t wait to have a dog and a cat named Khaleesi someday. So yes, absolutely; you guys should get a dog.

  29. Cait says...

    My husband and I (married for 3 years, no kids yet) got a dog last summer, so we’ve almost had her for a year. While I have found it more challenging than my husband (I’m more type-A/OCD/anxious and he’s a lot more go with the flow) it has been absolutely wonderful. We got her when she was a puppy – and the puppy stage was no. joke. It is hard work. But the rewards and love she gives is endless. She just has so much love and affection to give, and there is nothing quite like coming home to a dog who is out of her mind excited to see you (even if you’ve been gone for 30 minutes!) She makes us laugh constantly and we would not trade it for the world. We did crate training which worked very well for us (the first couple nights is the hardest) but she is now sleeping on our bed. I think all of us are secretly thrilled about that :) I will say that we did underestimate the costs of having a pup, so really look into the size, potential vet/grooming bills, food, etc. We have bought quite a few expensive harnesses and leashes, just trying to find the one that worked well for us. That being said, I think we’ve found our groove and routine, and I really think we will never not have a dog in our house. Good luck with your decision!!! :)

  30. Eileen says...

    A totally biased opinion from a kookoo dog person—do it! Dare I say even adopt 2… once we had two (sometimes more) we will never have only one. Our current Mavi and Simon are the weirdest, funniest dogs, like they all are! Their goofy antics and random demands for belly rubs, food… it’s all so hilarious which masks the “chores” of feeding, walking, cleaning their endless shedding, etc. I promise it’s the most fun especially with kids. Life is hectic anyway, might as well go for it!?❤️

  31. Nikki says...

    I’m going against the grain here. Don’t get a dog. I had a magical childhood and we never had dogs. But we were able to travel on weekends, go visit family, go on long day trips, go to lunch after a long soccer game, spend a long time at dinner etc. My family had four kids and I honestly think a dog would have been neglected or spent a lot of time at the babysitter. When I think of childhood days I think of the summer at our local pool going RIGHT after breakfast and staying until dinner, eating PBandJ on the pool patio. My family loved the freedom of never having to rush home to take the dog out. Just playing the devils advocate.

    p.s. I’m also the curmudgeon though that hates that dogs are allowed everywhere humans are. I want to enjoy my brunch without your dog coming into my crotch or I want to sit at my kids baseball game with my toddler and run around and not get nervous when there are big dogs off leashes.

    • A says...

      Just seconding this comment. I too had a wonderful, happy childhood without a pet. And now I’m a well-adjusted adult, happily married, two kids and still love not having a pet. It’s not for everyone and that’s ok!

    • Molly says...

      WORD. I live in a very dog-friendly city and it is super annoying. I HATE when dogs are up in your crotch and that they totally freak out my 4 year old.

  32. paola says...

    our dog is a lovely Shiba girl, named Bambou (à la française!)
    my kids too campained for a long time, and when I felt they had grown up enough to take care of it, I convinced my husband
    we have never regretted our decision
    my 2 teenager boys love her so much, and that is probably the best thing: to see how they can love someone else with such tenderness
    I know everyone says not to buy breeds and to go to shelters; but I love breeds, their selection is from the dedicated work of men
    but to each their own, any dog will be great
    go on, then!; it seems like you’ve already decided, right?

  33. Karen Benson says...

    I never grew up with dogs, was the last one on board with the idea, and now am bonded/head over heels in love/attached to our yellow English lab named Huckleberry. The first month wa challenging ( think newborn and toddler rolled in to 12 short weeks) but now I cannot imagine not having that love. English labs have the BEST temperaments – this one adores people and other dogs – is curious and goofy – and sits on my lap every day. His snoring is one of my favorite soothing sounds ever. Having said that, it does require work that you and only you, as the parent, will actually do. They are sort of perpetually toddlers/kindergartners. I love that he gets me out walking daily on nice days – less so on rainy days :) But travelling or long days away require a dog sitter or arrangements and that can add to the stress load. It really changes how mobie you are or at least adds a new element to it. I can’t imagine our family now without our sweet, goofy dog but just be aware going in to it, that it is a time commitment. The love you get back in return is awesome but I highly recommend getting a dog whose energy and exercise needs match your lifestyle; labs need walks but English labs in particular, get nice and lazy during the daytime hours, post-morning walk. A dog like a border collie, for example, is go, go , go and require so much more. I’ve seen owners who don’t think about that and their dogs sometimes seem neurotic because they are not actually getting what they need, So to be fair to everyone – being mindful and realistic about how much time in the day you have and what their breed needs, is crucial to a happy fit for humans and canines. Good luck in your decision!

  34. Bethany says...

    Yes! Our dog is a rescue and NOT a puppy. We’d never gotten an older dog (4 years when we adopted) before, but it is soooo nice. It is all the perks of having a best friend with dog breath and none or very little of the hard stuff – like accidents, tearing up our stuff, or energy that we can’t keep up with. My dog is an essential part of my support system and so important to my mental health. We get each other and can communicate with just a look or touch.

  35. Sandra says...

    I love other people’s dogs, but I’m not sure we are meant to be dog parents. It has to be the right fit for your family AND for the dog. To be a good and responsible dog parent is a lot more work than it seems! What is your tolerance for animals in your house (pet hair, pee, muddy feet, dog smell)? Will you have to board the dog a lot due to travel? Will the dog spend a lot of the day alone? Are you OK with adding another being to the house that will wake you up when, for the love of God, you are just trying to get some freaking sleep? Who is doing to do all of the work related to having a dog? The posters above have mentioned the joys of having a dog, and there are many, but it’s good to go into it with realistic expectations.

  36. Kayce says...

    My husband and were simply not “dog people”. After years of being told it’s the best thing to do for our boys, and after one summer of spending time with our version of the world’s best dog, we threw caution to the wind and got a puppy. 2 years later, Marge is without a doubt the best thing that happened to our family. She changed all of us in various ways. We no longer frequent patios that won’t allow dogs, how rude! We take her on family vacations, and I’m not gonna lie, have decided going back to work was not going to happen, because what would Marge do all day? Hint? Sleep, she’s a bulldog! Get a dog, if you have the love, time, and patience to put in the hard work. Fun!!!! You’ll be rewarded with love that you never knew was possible. My sweet pooch is on Instagram @marge_the_bully

  37. Jess says...

    Please rescue a dog, but only if you’re absolutely sure your family wants and is in condition to keep and love one. I can tell you right off the bat, though: The upsides are so many!

    Although dogs are for sure a lot of commitment and work (which you should def look into, while considering whether to adopt one), they are so loving it’s amazing. I’ve been in a serious depressed episode since my mom passed away last year and my dogs were, at certain points, my single motivation to keep going. While family, friends and loved ones could move on from me not getting up from my bed, not leaving the house, losing my job, etc, my dogs couldn’t. They needed me and loved me (and also gave me /so many hugs/ and let me cry on them whenever needed). So I got up and kept going. They bring me so much joy and purpose! I can’t say that for many of my human relatives!

    I was brought up with dogs (and other animals) and it was amazing to share such bond with a deeply loyal and loving being, you know? I think it is great for kids and should I ever adopt (kids, not dogs), I don’t think I’d want them to grow up without knowing that kind of love. Also, it’s a great way to teach kids how to be responsible, respectful and empathetic to others, be them humans or not.

    Anyway, it’s important to carefully consider if you’re up for the long-lasting commitment, since dogs are so dependent on us, we always have to take them into consideration when moving, travelling, etc. I find it’s worth it for me. I hope you find it’s worth it for you and your family as well.

    All the best, love seeing your happy family on your blog!

    Jess

  38. Marie says...

    I think I’m in the minority here, but I’d say take your time on this decision. I absolutely adore our dog, but she’s not the best fit with our kiddos. She’s small and gets scared of their erratic movements, so she barks at them, and then they get scared of her and yell at her. We work hard on making safe spaces in our home for her, but it’s not ideal for anyone. We had her for years before we decided to become parents, and thought she’d be a good family dog because she loves everyone (kids included) when we’re out and about. Turns out loud kids running around her house are not the same. Our dog also has lots of health issues, so she gets as many dr visits as our kids do, which is a lot for working parents. We’ve also struggled with getting a good dog sitter over the years when we travel, which adds a significant amount of stress to any vacation decision. We love our dog to pieces, and she’s a forever member of our family, but if I could do it all over again I’d wait till the kids are older and make absolutely sure we got a doggo that loves kids and all the unpredictability that comes with them. If you really want to see if a dog fits well in your family, offer to dog-sit a friends dog during a long trip. It will help both you and your friend out. And might just be enough dog experience for your kiddos to realize what having one actually means.

  39. Marnie says...

    My oldest (now 8) had been begging for a dog for years. We decided make the leap last fall. Our sweet kid is a super-sensitive soul, and we thought the unconditional love and bond with a dog would be really important for her. We were right.

    I agree completely with the “adopt, don’t shop” sentiment *and* I also know that it doesn’t work for everyone.

    We thought carefully about the kind of traits we wanted in a dog (how big? Does it bark a lot? Energy level? Can we take it on our boat/does this breed like swimming?)

    We tried for months to adopt, but couldn’t find a match. Finally we went to a respectable breeder (not a puppy mill) to get a pup that would fit well in our family and lifestyle, and we couldn’t be happier. Adopting is awesome, but ultimately, you have to do what’s right for your family.

    A few notes:
    – Think carefully about getting a dog walker. I was against it at first, but am so glad we decided to invest the $ – for now. Next year, when both the dog & kids are older, the kids should be able to take over the walking.
    – Find a dog sitter for your holidays. We have a lovely retired couple and that keep our puppy in their home while we are away – much nicer than a kennel!
    – Make sure you can afford it! It really adds up – food, vet bills, dog toys, dog sitter/dog walkers etc.

    PS we got a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and named her Juniper. She’s the sweetest little love bug!

  40. KJ says...

    Our dog is Gary :). I found him on Craiglist (for free?!) in the pet classifieds section – only a few days after my then fiancé (now husband) and I agreed that we wouldn’t get a dog until after we were married. Oops! He’s a white, poodle mix of some kind and about 25 lbs but he looked like a cartoon! I answered the ad before I even talked to my husband. Apparently someone found him wandering and took him in but their current dog wasn’t a fan and they just thought he was nice and would be a good pet for someone.

    He did have a chip but the chip company tried for 5 days to reach the number and never got a response from anyone so then he was ours! He’s about 8 years old now and the calmest dog of all time. He came house trained and with a few tricks so I know he was loved at some point in his past. It was just meant to be. I love having an adult dog and don’t think I’ll ever get a puppy – just rescued old guys :)

    Also to note, we lived in Chicago when we got him and the dog walking company we had while we worked was incredible with photo updates via email and reasonably priced too. In bigger cities, they’re plentiful. Wag (app) is always great in a pinch too! It makes having to plan for a dog a bit easier but with kids, you’re already a pro. And I have to say that there are MANY times I wouldn’t have walked on a snowy evening and am glad that I did and got to see the quiet, sparkly fresh snow that everyone else misses.

    It’s doable!! And enjoyable! And if he isn’t here for any reason, I find myself looking for him more than I realize. Good ole Gary.

  41. sarah-mai says...

    Yeeessss! I had a serious aversion to having a dog for years…the walks, the cleaning up, the overall responsibility. But my girl has changed my life. She is my best friend and I can’t thank my husband enough for campaigning so hard for her and pushing me out of my comfort zone.

  42. I have often thought about getting a dog for my children, especially because I’m finished having babies and sometimes think I would enjoy the love of a dog. But then my better half sets in. I am a very late person, always a bit stressed. I worry about the added stress of having to walk (also train, pick up toys so the dog doesn’t swallow, pick up throw up, give medicine when something absurd happens) and I realize that a dog just doesn’t fit into my life. It will inevitably fall on me to manager, as my husband works long hours. Not to mention traveling — you will need to pay someone top dollar to care for your animal or find a hotel / airbnb that is pet friendly. It’s all too much. I have all the love I need without one.

  43. Julia says...

    My dog BeeBop is an enormous white Frenchie. He’s the love of my husband’s and my lives. I can’t imagine our lives without him! I didn’t grow up with dogs, but always liked them. I agree with everyone else — make sure s/he is the right fit for your lifestyle. When we got BeeBop, my husband and I promised that for as long as he’s with us, we’d give him the life he deserves and that there’s no “plan B” with him. We bring him to our family outings as much as we possibly can. He’s a part of our family no matter what. XO

  44. Mel says...

    My husband and I decided 11 years when we were dating (for a few months!) that if we ever got married we would get 2 dogs, a furry one named Obiwan and a little one named Ernie. 5 years ago, 2 weeks after our honeymoon we got Obiwan (a cockapoo that we bought, not adopted as i’m allergic to shedders and most dander and knew from experience poodle mixes work for me). I grew up with schnauzers (the allergy thing, they don’t shed)) and he grew up dog less and to this day resents his parents for it a little (he begged for a dog but they just don’t like them). He would go play with neighbors dogs by the hours. Obi is just as much a part of our family as our 3 year old. She sleeps with us (often in the nook of my arms which I love) and cuddles on the couch. She’s the first to want to barge into our daughters room to lick her face awake. Everyone at the playground knows her and we take her anywhere and everywhere that dogs are allowed. Some times I cry and ache knowing that her time with us is so short. A year ago I quit my corporate office job to work from home and one of the #1 motivators was to be home with her. If you get a dog you’ll never feel unloved a day in their life.

  45. Ramsey Fountain says...

    Like humans, every dog has a personality. We have always had dogs, but some had personalities that would not be ideal for someone like you who hasn’t always been comfortable with dogs. When you adopt a dog that you’ve not had a chance to spend a little time with, you take a bit of a chance. We’ve had 2 dogs who we were told (by PetFinder and by a local shelter) were fine with other dogs, and that turned out not to be true at all. We’ve kept every dog we’ve ever adopted because we are hard-core dog lovers who will put up with almost anything (but if a dog was at all vicious I absolutely would surrender it to a shelter). If you can adopt from a local shelter where you can spend some time with the dog, that would be ideal.
    As for the kids helping out with the dog, haha, forget it. They’re just kids. You have to want the dog for yourself, because it will, in the end, be YOUR dog. That said, having a good dog is just the best thing in the world.❤️?? Like kids, they are a lot of work, but also like kids, they bring unlimited joy and love into your life. What could be better than that, right?

  46. Allison says...

    i firmly believe getting a dog is the best thing you could ever do for your family. having grown up with one, i can’t imagine having a family of my own without a dog being a part of it. they makes the hard days easier and the good days that much sweeter. i’m 29 and our family dog has been gone for 13 years now but i still miss her when i go home to my parents’ house. of course yes, they are a lot of work, but like children they are also so rewarding and teach you and your family so much about unconditional love. it’s also a wonderful way to teach children about responsibility and how to care for things that belong to them. you will be amazed at the joy that fills your home *when* you get one!

  47. Liz says...

    My dog is the light of my life! haha sounds over the top but I mean it. We run together, hang out in parks together, sleep together, have weathered relationships together, trust each other, keep each other company and calm. Plus he’s super cute (chocolate lab) and a 70 lb snuggle bug. He also loves all living creatures, which is amazing to watch! If my dog doesn’t like you, I will trust him 100x more than I will ever trust you. haha I also am very suspicious of people who don’t like dogs. I mean seriously! How could you? They’re so innocent. My yoga teacher always says “dogs are here to teach us how to be kind.”

  48. Megan Lec says...

    My husband and I adopted our dog Molly just a year into our relationship. Since then, she has joined us in Asheville for our engagement, walked down the aisle at our wedding, moved cross country with us to Colorado, and was with me when I found out I was pregnant. She’s almost seven now and it delights me to see my son, who is almost two, love her as much as we do. They get frustrated with each other, like all siblings do, but she is the first one to get a kiss when he gets home and the last he says goodnight to. If you have the time and the love to give, adopting a dog I think would be a beautiful addition to your family!

  49. V. says...

    We went back and forth on the decision to add a dog to our family of 4. I worried about the early morning/late evening/all-weather walks (we live in an urban area without private green space), the mess of a dog (bringing the dirty city into our apartment, on sofas, beds, etc), and the ability to leave (or guilt of leaving) a dog home alone. But a chorus of family and friends sung the praises of having a dog and assured me it would be great, and I figured it must be something like having a child– meaning it’s limiting in ways but worth it beyond measure. I was still nervous about the commitment, though, and ultimately, decided to sign up to foster a puppy from a seeing eye dog school for a year. She was a beautiful, sweet King Poodle, and we all fell in love with her, but it was a killer year for me, her main caretaker. Every worry from the beginning came true ten-fold. I would not do it again or recommend it to someone in a similar circumstance. But for those interested, a seeing eye dog school is another source for dogs to consider with:
    – foster programs to care for a puppy for its first year
    – 1-2 yr-old dogs that have fallen out of the training program and are available to adopt (many dogs fall out because it’s a challenging program and difficult for dogs to be perfectly suited for this work, but they still make great pets and have been professionally trained and assessed)
    – “retired” seeing eye dogs available to adopt
    Good luck with your big decision!

  50. Molly says...

    I don’t know what you should do, but we are firmly anti-dog. I mean, we are dog people and we LIKE dogs, but we have basically vowed to never own one. My husband and I both grew up with dogs, and to be brutally honest, we don’t think they are worth the work. Plus we have 2.5 kids and I just don’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s poop. I enjoy other people’s dogs, but have zero interest in pet ownership.

  51. Bruno Rosa says...

    I rarely coment on articles, but this topic is very sensitive for me. If you can aford a dog, and all the demands that come with getting one you definitely should. I grew up in a small apartment and my parents were low im cash at the time so we never were able to get one, and for me until this day, i think part of my childhood was missing.I know it can sound a little harsh, and im not blaiming my parents for it, but if you can, you should do it. dogs teach a lot of valuable lessons to children(and adults too) that no money in the world can buy.(sorry for the crappy English)

  52. Paula says...

    Firstly, I never comment but I just had to after I read this post.

    We toyed with the idea of getting a dog for YEARS. We finally took the plunge last year and while the first few months were an adjustment (8 week old puppy) we absolutely can’t imagine our life without her. These fury friends really do make you stop and smell the roses. Our golden makes us smile/laugh every single day. Do it, you won’t regret it.

  53. Erin says...

    We have 2 dogs, named Harry and Lloyd (yes, from Dumb and Dumber.) And i adore and despise them all at once. They make huge messes. But when one of my children is having a rough day, the dogs sense it and love on said child. It is a lot of work, a lot of clean up, a lot of eye rolls, but definitely worth it.

  54. valentina says...

    Definitely get a dog!!! They are the absolute best pals to have around at any time, but especially while growing up. Plus, when they’re older and living with their significant other who wants to get a dog, they’ll know what they’re doing! My fiancé and I got a dog last year and I had to do a fair amount of teaching what it means to be a dog owner, because I grew up with dogs and he didn’t. So just do Anton and Toby’s future S.O.’s a solid by getting them familiar with caring for dogs now, lol!

  55. Ali says...

    I would love to say get a dog, but most dogs are lonely at home all day. I honestly believe people shouldn’t get a dog unless there is enough time to walk, play and make it a part of the family – FOREVER! It’s a big commitment. The other option is to get two, so they can keep each other company when the family is busy but of course that comes with its own complications. Then again, I guess you could argue that getting a rescue dog means they are still being saved and having a loving home, even is they do feel lonely during the day. It’s a tough one!

  56. Sarah says...

    I grew up in a family of privacy-seeking introverts with little overlap between interests or extracurricular activities. Over the years our dogs were our common ground; they were the most often discussed dinner table conversation and sources of mutual love, concern, and humor (we had one golden who sneezed repeatedly when she got excited and it never made us not giggle.) Not to mention the secret joy we share overhearing my stoic father sing to the dogs when he thinks he’s alone!

  57. Rachel says...

    YES YES YES. Do it!

  58. Rachel says...

    Do it! If you’re worried about the time/energy commitment (especially with travel, etc), you could also get a cat! I don’t understand why cats get a bad rap. They’re hilarious. Super loyal to their families, but most importantly, must less demanding in terms of care. You could even get an automated litter box!

    But if you don’t care about the time/energy part of a dog- do it!! They’ll love you no matter what and every kid needs a dog!

  59. Peggi says...

    I waited 20 years to get a puppy. Seriously. Partner not a pet guy. OMG, having a puppy nearly killed me. Joe is now a 60 pound lap dog who requires endless games of fetch, grooming, feeding, training and attention. My floors will never be clean again…nor my car. My cat still does not love him. My lawn is no longer lovely. And the vet bills. The time he ate a bag of chocolate chips, and I thought he was going to die! Sheesh.
    Best. Decision. Ever.??

  60. Amber says...

    I’ve always had dogs my whole life and cannot imagine life without one or two. I live on a big propert though and wonder how people have them in apartments?

    • Amber says...

      Ps please adopt a pound dog too. There are so many homeless dogs and they are so loving and loyal. Also the people I know that have pedigree dogs are always at the vet due to so many health issues!

  61. I’ve always had dogs around (right now, we have 3!), but I had always raised puppies until about 2 and a half years ago, when I adopted an adult dog. I can honestly say, she’s the best dog I’ve ever had! No guessing how big she would be, she was completely trained and I didn’t have to deal with puppy shots or getting her spayed. She’s sweet and cuddly and is great with my kid!

  62. Lorraine says...

    Hi from Spain! I have 2 dogs … I love them , but having a dog is so much work and worries !! They are like having children !

  63. Katie says...

    When we got a dog as kids, each of us had to contribute $5 (big deal!). My mom told us it was specifically to pay for a leg, and we’d have to walk it. (3 kids). We all loved Sparky so, so much. Yes, you’ll likely end up with the extra work as the dog mom, but I suspect it’s just like kids – you love em so much you don’t mind.

  64. Maria Maher says...

    As a complete stranger from London who very much enjoys your blog I can tell you with absolute certainty a dog will bring you much and such happiness. A pet becomes the family member and thread between you all.

  65. K says...

    STOP IT, Toby did not say that! That is so CUTE. I already commented on this on your Instagram post but it deserves saying again…. DO IT! We thought and thought and thought about getting a dog, we spent Hours looking at websites for rescues and reading about different breeds. And we finally found Lenny – our little British Bulldog. We knew straight away he was ours. He loves to snuggle and walk on the beach. We live far away from family and he has really opened up the community to us. We know so many of our neighbours now, and we love taking him to sit outside at the local pub to have a drink on a sunny afternoon.

  66. Sukie says...

    Getting our Cookie (poodle terrier mix) was the best decision. He is the only family member my 18yo son say “I love you” too

  67. Nicole Costello says...

    I have 2 miniature sausage dogs – PJ & Phoebe. They have flown all over the world with me & I cannot imagine life without them. I think teaching kids how to love and handle dogs from a young age is so important <3

  68. Kate says...

    My 3 year old has been asking for a dog and I’ve told her if she asks for one every day for the next two years, we’ll get one. >:-)

  69. Super cute, I’d like to get a job but our housing situation doesn’t allow for it at the moment. Just make sure you adopt, not shop! There are plenty of pups waiting to be adopted. Read through some basic dog training tips to get over your fears.

    Also Toby is hilarious, I like the soup analogy. Although I think what’s mixing in my family soup is more cookware.

    Good luck! Looking forward to the dog pics!

    • Ha ha ha I meant dog not job!!!

  70. This is going to sound dramatic, but getting a dog will be the best thing you’ll ever do as a family. It teaches kids responsibility, spontaneity, life, love and death in ways we can’t. The thing about dogs? They love you without limits . That kind of love is hard to find, harder to put into words and impossible to replicate. Please – get a dog!

  71. Molly says...

    Yes yes yes. I got my dog shortly after my sister passed away and he’s brought me more joy and comfort than I ever thought possible. But definitely do a puppy/dog test! My dog trainer aunt has a great one on YouTube hah. Honestly some of it sounds/looks super goofy but it helped us pick the perfect, mellow, playful dog at the pound. I’ve shown it to a lot of my friends as well and they all swear by it: https://youtu.be/n4OCRsUOqIY

    So excited for you guys should you choose to take the plunge!

  72. Gretch says...

    I am a huge fan of sharing life with pets. In my mid-30s I finally was settled enough and got 2 cats. I didn’t realized I was touch deprived until I got daily cuddles. They improved my quality of life immensely. 2 years later I met my husband, who was not a pet person. They totally won him over, and I don’t think he can imagine life without them anymore.

  73. KatieK says...

    I was like you. I didn’t have good experiences with dogs. I had been knocked over by a family dog when I was little, my grandmother’s schnauzer bit me (“she didn’t mean it” Grandma said). I regularly envision a dog walking by and turning to snap at some limb or more chunky part of my body.
    But I too had kids (two boys, in fact). And my husband grew up with dogs. He was fine to go at my pace. Our first rescue was a wolf. Truly, we grew to believe she was a wolf – and everyone, including the trainer we hired – agreed she had no business living with a 5 yr old and 9 yr old. But we tried again. A rescue again. And we were so lucky. I saw her online and she looked so beautiful with these soulful eyes. Katya – a mix of St. Bernard and maybe a Corgi (yes, difficult to imagine). We went to the shelter and they told us another family had been in before us. But the toddler in the family was afraid of dogs – even when our sweet girl licked her tears off. So when we came in – with our sweet but loud boys, the only one who might be afraid of the dog was me. The boys signed contracts that they would help to feed and walk her (the shelter wants the entire family to take care of the dog). And we have so many pictures (real and in my mind) of our boys lying on our dog, cuddling up with her, and loving on her. She’s almost 15 now. I was never a dog person (we always had cats) but I would adopt another one just like my pup if I could.

  74. Alex says...

    Rescue 1000%. And early socialization, with dogs of all sizes and ages (people too for that matter). And really think over the time commitment especially if you get a puppy. My dog is so so easy compared to others and she was still a LOT of work. I have a friend who also didn’t grow up with dogs and she says she wants one but if I bring my dog over she near loses her mind about the dog hair (I have a short hair 16 lber it could be worse ?) and generally seems uncomfortable with her although I can tell she’s grown on her – she claims to like her lol. Maybe you can foster for a few weeks as a trial?

  75. Lark says...

    I have a 7 year old chihuahua. Her name is Pia and she is a rescue. We got her when she was a puppy. She and her siblings became rescue dogs because their mother couldn’t nurse them. I never pictured myself with a chihuahua, but my brother and his family have one and they just love her. Pia is the sweetest dog ever and loves to cuddle. My kids are teenagers and they still don’t help out much with taking care of her.

  76. Marian Schembari says...

    Am I the only one who hated having a dog? Don’t get me wrong, I LOOOOVED growing up with our springier spaniel, Dillon, she was a member of the family. When she died this year, my three brothers and I Skyped in to the family home so we could “be there” as the vet put her to sleep. After the birth of my daughter, that was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.

    As an adult now though, with a full time job and a toddler… I am SO GRATEFUL to not have a dog. My husband and I got one about 5 years ago, and after we had our daughter, we ended up needing to re-home him. I’m sure I sound like a monster but he’s so happy now in a family that has time for him. My personal experience was that he just added so much to my plate. I don’t have an extra hour every day to walk him, never mind the vet appointments and the barking and the expense and finding someone to watch him every time we want to leave the house for more than a few hours.

    Obviously many many people ave had amazing experiences with their dogs. Unfortunately I was not one of them. I think if him often, but I never regret passing him on to a family that appreciates him more. (My kid is also way happier now that mommy’s not so stressed all the time.)

  77. A says...

    Dogs are wonderful! But some practical notes for having a new dog in the city:
    1. Obedience training ASAP. It’s key to have a well behaved dog so that your friends will WANT to dog sit when you travel!
    2. Roll up your rugs and cover your couches. Any dog will have accidents in a new place.
    3. get ready to sweep your floors daily – dogs don’t take their shoes off at the front door and will track the city streets into your apartment. And they shed…
    4. Don’t forget the poop bags! And don’t let them pee on the garbage bags on pick-up day. Those poor sanitation workers!

  78. Elizabeth says...

    Yes! Our dog Pearl has made our family so much richer. We got her after our daughter’s last heart surgery. Pearl has been such a bright spot for all of us after the trauma of heart surgery.

  79. Meg Groom says...

    My rescue dog is my life. He brings so much joy wherever he goes. I cannot imagine life without him. He is a weirdo/monkey/meerkat but he is my weirdo/monkey/meerkat. His name is Buddy and little kids get a big kick out of the fact I named him after Buddy the Elf because he has big elf ears. Getting a dog is a massive responsibility but I 100% agree with the soup analogy. A dog will make the meal whole :)

  80. Jane says...

    Dogs are wonderful but a whole other deal in NYC. If you have a little backyard where they can run pee without you (when it’s 11pm and you’re exhausted and it’s freezing rain out) I say go for it!!! If you don’t have that option I’d really consider who is going to walk the dog at 6:30am on the weekends when the boys are too little to go alone and you are desperate to sleep another two hours with your husband while the kids watch cartoons :) We love our dogs but living with them in Manhattan for 6 years before we moved to CT was kinda exhausting, sorry!

  81. AMBER ERIN says...

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  82. Brooklyn says...

    Dogs are such a gift that we don’t deserve. A dog will give your boys compassion, love, laughter and so much joy!

  83. Rae says...

    Find the dog that works for your current lifestyle. Not the one that works for your ideal lifestyle. Dogs are wonderful. But it’s not a small decision.
    Research all of the things and talk to people who have the kind of dog you want. Ask for all of the good and bad bits.
    Size. Temperament. Known health problems. Exercise requirements. Shedding vs. non-shedding. Rescue vs. breeder. Puppy vs. older dog.
    Then you have to have big family conversations. Rules. Expectations. Responsibilities.

  84. T says...

    I love the number of comments to this post! We have always had a dog (usually two because the dog also needs a dog). What is so special with the child-dog interface is the notion that the child is responsible for the well-being of another. That lesson is played out well with a dog in the house and of course the risks are managed by mom and dad who stand ready to deliver the food, water and walks when the kids are too tired or uninterested. The expression of unconditional love is important to every family member. Good luck!

  85. Alexa says...

    I have never truly been a dog owner. My husband’s dog came as a package deal with him but passed away unexpectedly when my daughter was 2. She and my husband adored the dog and it was a tough transition for him (of course my daughter didn’t understand). Our second child was born 2 weeks later and life got really hectic. I never had even a passing thought about getting a dog for our family. Less than two months ago, however, my older daughter, now 5.5, was diagnosed with autism and the thought kept crossing my mind about whether a pet might be beneficial for her. We watched a friend’s dog who was out of town and both of my girls bonded with her and my wheels kept turning. Then I was walking in a shopping plaza and they had rescue dogs in front of the pet store and I fell in love with one. So much so that I brought my family back to meet her. I suddenly felt like I couldn’t picture our life without her. It made no sense! We weren’t in a position to make a choice that fast and she found her home with another family but something has unexpectedly shifted in me. I am finding myself poking around on the rescue sites looking for a pup to bring home.

    • Katie says...

      Hey Alexa,
      This is so moving. I’ll be keeping a good thought for you as you & your family find your dog. I totally think our animals find us, and, as a teacher I have seen first-hand how an animal can calm, soothe, and inspire students of all stripes. They are quite a comfort to adults and the elderly among us, too. Good luck! (: Katie

    • Alexa says...

      Thank you so much, Katie! I appreciate the thought and we hope to find her too!

  86. Lisa says...

    Continue to bring us along on this journey, please. We are in exactly the same spot. My 5 year old daughter asks every day -sometimes multiple times a day- for a dog. We’ve been through a ton of transition with my husbands job and are still not out of it. We keep saying, “This just isn’t the right time to grow our family.” And so we wait a bit longer. We had two dogs we loved dearly before but they’ve both grown old and passed on. We know what it means to care for a dog till the end, and that is not something we take lightly as we consider a new family member.

  87. Oh my the family soup! We didn’t get a dog until I was in high school and we’ve always had one ever since. My husband has always had several throughout his life, and I know we’ll never go without pets in our house based on his love of his best friends!
    Different breeds are SO different though. Pit bulls get a bad rap but they’re my absolute favorite. So sweet and loving. We have a 2 year old lab and he has such boundless energy and an incessant need to chew on things. The pit bulls mostly want to sleep and cuddle.
    Our family dog was an Australian shepherd and she was so sweet but never really liked other dogs. So you just have to figure out what type will work best for your family. But I highly recommend a small pit bull!

  88. Loren says...

    I’m a cat person. If you don’t want a dog, don’t get one.

  89. Nicola says...

    We have a 13 year old rescued dog called Emily, who is a German Shepherd, Kelpie, possibly with a bit of Rottweiler cross. She is the best thing that ever happened for our family. I grew up with dogs and firmly believe having a dog is the best gift you can give a child. My husband didn’t have dogs in his family and always wanted one but because we travelled a lot we didn’t get a dog until my eldest was nearly 9. Our first dog sadly died of cancer quite young but that in itself was a experience, though painful, that taught my children a lot. I’m really proud that our kids are like me – very comfortable around dogs and with an empathy and patience that I think comes from caring for an animal. I would definitely recommend a shelter dog because you can see how they are at their worst. If they are gentle with the children when in that stressful environment in my experience when they have been home a few weeks they blossom into happy zen dogs. It’s also important- I think- to let kids know that sometimes things become homeless and unwanted for no fault of their own. And the pleasure that comes from making an unwanted animals life wonderful is priceless.

  90. Jennifer says...

    Please, get a dog. Your boys and you will always be grateful. I have always had dogs and they have taught me so much in my life, most importantly unconditional love. I have three kids, 11, 15,17 and we have had dogs before they were born. We lost our first dog three years ago and last Memorial Day, we lost our other dog. It was so diificult in so many ways that we take for granted, everyone has their own relationship with a pet and I learned so much about myself and my kids from these experiences. We got a puppy last June and I have seen my kids and their friends fal in love and have such a gentle and loving way with him, we are just all smitten. Dogs teach compassion and empathy, kids learn responsibility and grow so much from having a dog. As a middle school teacher, I have seen the power dogs have on kids who are struggling, in many different ways, giving them support like no one else possibly could. Dogs are magic and beauty and we as humans are so lucky to have them. I hope your family finds one to love each of you, you will be so lucky.

  91. Kristine says...

    We got a Vizsla when I was in 7th grade. We named her Autumn since the color of her coat matched the leaves in the Fall. She died when I was 25, and 7 years later, I can confidently say I’m still mourning her. I think of her often, I miss her when I visit my mom, and she will always hold a special place in my heart that’s reserved for “the best dog in the whole world.” There is something magical about having a dog live with you through the entirety of your childhood. I will never, ever forget her, and am thankful she was my sidekick the whole way through.

    • Maggie says...

      I have a Vizsla too – the BEST dogs for people who are new to dogs. I’m a cat lady, but my partner has a V and when I moved to Australia to be with him, I just had to learn to love this dog. Luckily, Maple Bacon is such a delight and I was smitten by the end of the day. I’m convinced Vizsla’s are just big, red cats!
      As I type this, she’s curled up in my ‘knee pit”, her favourite spot :)

  92. Get a cat! I know people say that cats are anti-social and that dogs have masters and cats have staff but I love my two.
    I can leave them alone for long periods of time and know they will be happy when I return, you don’t have to walk them and they are so much less work for a busy family.
    The whole cats are anti social things is a myth, they are social just not in the way that dogs are. I have actually found that my cats are social around us but not around other people which is fine, My ginger boy will wait for me and the moment my cat pulls into the driveway he is waiting for me, my calico lady likes to make sure we are all in for the night and if we walk by her without acknowledging her she is not happy.
    If you think it will be to hard to manage a dog, I highly recommend a cat.

    • Jeannie says...

      I have a dog and a cat. I must say, the cat is easier to care for. Lol, truth!

      Cats do require being taught manners (e.g. don’t wake people up at 5:00am, etc), otherwise they’re great. Indoor cats are self-cleaning, don’t need to poop outside, and yes, incredibly, lovingly social with their humans. <3

    • Gretch says...

      I agree! My cats follow me around, are very communicative (and are selectively verbal). We joke that the boy cat doesn’t know he is a cat because he is so social.

    • Kate says...

      Here to second this! I was in a dog family growing up and definitely thought all cats were mean and anti-social. That is until a stray kitty walked up to my husband and decided we would be her family. She is absolutely a delight, always waiting for us at the door when we come home, and loves to be around/on her people. Dogs in New York can be hard if you aren’t fully committed to walking and having a regular schedule. I have been so, so happy with our unexpected feline friend!

      But also, I loved growing up with dogs :D

    • Samantha says...

      Second getting a cat! All three of mine beg for attention like dogs and love to snuggle and play. I don’t have to walk them, and when we go on vacation they can stay at home where they are comfortable. We have a friend check in on them twice a day and feed them.

    • bisbee says...

      I agree…depending on your particular situation, a cat (or 2) might work for you. I had a big dog when my kids were young – a Bouvier. She was wonderful. Much later, we got cats…ended up with 4. They all came with me after my divorce, and luckily, my second husband loved them.

      We only have 1 left now…he is over 19 and frail. When he passes, we will rescue 2 cats. They don’t go outside…much less daily effort involved. My cats make us laugh every day…they are lovely, gentle creatures.

      Cats suit our lifestyle…we are older and not up to walking a dog multiple times a day.

    • ANDREA says...

      Male cats are often social, like dogs. Get a pair of cats at a time if you go that route. Or get two dogs. Animals need companions, too.

    • Claudia says...

      Yes, I too have 2 cats, one of them is very doggy, I call him my shadow. Wherever I go he will be just behind me…
      And you’re right: cats aren’t anti social, they’re just different from dogs. :)

  93. Jeanne says...

    My 4 year old son loves dogs so much, but after reading him a quite long guidebook for puppies book he promptly declared that it was way to much work ?.

    • Catharine says...

      Yup! Excellent advice! Definitely read through books together. This dog will ultimately be for the adults. If adults are at all on the fence or think it’s “the kid’s dog,” I would not get it.

  94. Jackie says...

    yes!! there’s nothing like a kid/dog friendship :) and you’ll give them the skills to take on their own dog as adults (which can be great for your mental health) and it’ll be a great way to teach compassion/responsibility

    I imagine it is hard to do dogs in NYC though

    but it is a great way to get the family outside for walks!!

  95. Shashi says...

    Yes to a dog! Unsolicited advice coming:

    Take training classes with the dog and kids

    Teach dog recall asap

    Go to prospect park for off leash hours- soooo fun

    Make sure to exercise your dog, they will be happier and less likely to have annoying traits like chewing shoes bc they are pooped

    Socialize the dog early! The park is great for that.

    And have fun!

  96. Brandi says...

    Our dog was our first child. We had our chocolate lab for 12 years before he passed. It was a very difficult time for my husband and myself. It affected us more than our children. He was a wonderful dog and a great part of our family. He has been gone for about three years now, and I don’t think we will get another dog anytime soon. We found the older our children got (our oldest had entered middle school when he died) we had less time to commit to Kona. We felt we were neglecting him and therefore have decided not to get another dog. However, he was a wonderful addition when he was with us.

  97. Grace says...

    I’m a dog person, but totally understand if someone isn’t. They smell, slobber, and lick each other’s butts. There are many other types of animals you might consider instead of a pet, who will also have and teach unconditional love , perhaps less demonstrably than a puppy. Perhaps a bunny, cat or iguana?

  98. Caitlin says...

    We adopted our sweet girl Remy two years ago: We had been struggling with unsuccessful fertility treatments and I was an emotional wreck. I pulled into the parking lot at work one morning to find this beautiful Pitt bull running towards me, scared and soaking wet. She ran up, licked my face, and jumped into the front seat like: “hey Mom, time to take me home now!” By the time we found her people (and found out she was being fostered! and available for adoption!), my husband and I were both totally in love with her.

    One month later, I was pregnant! I was nervous about being able to take care of a dog and a newborn (no backyard + high energy dog = LOTS of time spent outside), but honestly I think being forced to get outside every day was a huge boost to my mental health as a new mom. I felt like our walks gave a sense of structure to my day, got me out of the house, and gave me some company during a beautiful but isolating time.

    • Ali says...

      This is a beautiful story Caitlin! Made my heart melt.

    • TB says...

      Def. Get a (rescue) dog.
      First family dog was bought by my parents as my elder brother was struggling with friendships and confidence – total godsend for him and he has never been without a mutt since
      First own dog was pre kids, second dog came along in a moment of first pregnancy madness. Two dogs and 3 kids under 3 sounds a nightmare but it got me out of the house and gave the day a structure. .
      Our old lady dog now deaf and partially sighted and its a pleasure to watch how gentle and loving the kids are with her.
      Best friend’s two dogs have helped her and 3 kids through a divorce.
      Get a dog – the boys will love it.

  99. Rebecca says...

    Always say yes to a dog! I’m currently in a not so dog friendly apartment and wishing I could get one! My parents have two who I thoroughly adore. If I have a bad day I head over to visit my parents…. and by parents I mean their dogs! They warm my heart and make me forget my worries with their cute little faces. My dad likes to tell me what the dogs and him talked about that day. He will make up the silliest stories about them and laugh hysterically at himself and then I end up laughing too! Dogs provide endless joy!!!

  100. Robin Parke says...

    Please adopt, don’t shop. I foster dogs for a rescue in Pennsylvania. We often take in dogs from Lancaster puppy mills. The mothers and fathers of those adorable puppies people buy online or in pet stores are kept in deplorable conditions, in crowded dirty rabbit hatches, often receiving no medical care. Females are impregnated during every heat cycle until they cannot produce profitable puppies. The dogs who are unable to produce puppies are often killed. Buying dogs allows this cruelty to continue. I do suggest adopting from a foster-based rescue that require a waiting process and home visit. This may seem like a hassle – so many dogs need good homes, why the red tape? A foster family will know the dog’s quirks and the dog should be fully vetted.
    Also, finding the right dog for your family is a bit like finding your significant other. You may have a dream person in mind but rarely is “the one” exactly as you may have imagined. A foster based rescue can match the dog that fits your lifestyle rather than a breed, age of a dog you think you want.

    • Julia says...

      This! Adopted dogs and cats know you rescued them. Please don’t pay for a dog! There are so many worthy dogs that need to be rescued.

    • Catharine says...

      If you decide to rescue this is great advice. My brother just fostered puppies and these organizations are really great. This being said, there are responsible breeders out there who dedicate so much to bettering a breed and caring for their dogs. It can be hard, expensive, and time-consuming to find a great breeder with available puppies, but this is also a worthy option. We rescued an incredible senior mutt, but now that we have two little kids, we want a reliable breed that will work for our family. This is why we put in the research and thought and are waiting for our sweet Golden boy from an incredible breeder.

    • Mary says...

      Fostering is a good way to test the waters as a new dog owner and with a particular dog!

    • Denise says...

      Excellent advice Robin! <3

  101. Helen says...

    My partner and I decided we were ready to adopt a dog about three years ago. I grew up with animals, but his parents were really anti-pet (they probably had similar concerns about a lack of assistance with care and feeding!). After a bit of a search, we mutually fell in love with a pup from a local special needs rescue, a wrinkly, all white American Bulldog puppy who was deaf. We named her Salt, after the bread/wine/salt housewarming blessing. She brings so much flavor into our lives! Salt just turned three in April. We love walking with her and have met so many new friends and neighbors through their love of our friendly pup, who has never met a dog, cat, or human she didn’t like. Her special interest is babies of any species and converting non-dog-lovers. My partner’s parents adore her and buy her special presents every time we bring her to visit—quite a step for folks who never wanted animals in their home!

  102. Kristen says...

    Getting a dog will without a doubt be one of the BEST decisions you will ever make. We have a 12 year old Cocker Spaniel named Toby (hah!), and as much as I deeply love my husband and daughter, Toby is my soulmate. My #1 fan. My first baby. Your dog is out there and you will be so happy when you find each other!

  103. rach says...

    I have two small-ish dogs, Lily and Luca, mixed breed, but mostly terrier/dachshund mix. and im overrrrr it! (lol) Ive had them for 14 yrs, they were my children before my real one came along, and i know, even though i say i’m annoyed with them, that a house wouldnt feel like a home without a dog. I hate cats (lol) but i do love dogs. MY husband loves cats and dogs, so in order to never have to have a cat, I will have dogs.

  104. Whitney O. says...

    We have two rescue dogs one small 15 lb furry mess named Baxter and a 60 lb husky mix with two tone eyes named Wiley. Our Wiley boy is newest to our home. He was dumped in a hotel parking lot and after trying to find his owners with no luck and being told by hotel employees he’d been there multiple days and likely left by someone we decided to take him with us and try to foster him. We fell in love with him after he became friends with our youngest kitty. They love to greet each other every morning. They call it a foster fail when you decide to keep your foster pet but it’s definitely a win and not a fail. They are a lot of work but they’re so wonderful. My husband is a firm believer that a house without pets isn’t a home and the stray fur balls and doggy and kitty toys can be a mess but just seeing them around the house makes me feel so much love for my furry babies. We also have two kitties an 8 year old kitty who we found living under our house and an adopted kitten whose grown into quite a big boy.

  105. Pooja Rao-Pennington says...

    A life without a dog is no life at all ?Having said that, it takes a lot of time, love and dedication to look after someone who’s only goal in life is unconditional love for her/his master. We had our dog, Henry, before our son was born…it’s been fun watching them grow together.

  106. Traci says...

    Having a rescue boxer dog has changed my life! Easy to train, smart, loving, silly, and not smelly. She is such a joy. She’s getting older and I’m hoping to get a boxer puppy in the fall, so she can help train him. She also travels well in the car and has said in motels with us. Another good choice for a family dog would be a Boston terrier. The time is now! Your entire family will get so much out of having a dog and I never thought I would be a dog kind of gal.

  107. Amalyah Oren says...

    You should talk to Sarah Brasky of The Dog Matchmaker / Foster Dogs, who will help you find the perfect rescue dog for you!

  108. Kate Sullivan says...

    Dogs are the best kind of love you will ever have. 100000% do it. You will never regret it.

  109. shirin says...

    Dogs not only make for a better childhood they are in the top five reasons for living. Get a dog and be sure to get a rescue.

  110. Allegra LaViola says...

    I campaigned HARD to get a dog as a kid. Finally worked when I was 11 but honestly that was too late. I was a teenager and then out of the house. 8 is a good age. I got my current dog (Molly, a rescue) when she was 5 and she’s now 15. She’s like the velveteen rabbit– all her fur is rubbed off and her teeth are falling out (literally) but we love her to bits and my little son calls her MaMa. Get a dig– but get a dog YOU like, cos that will be YOUR dog no matter what the kiddos say!

    • Ll says...

      Agree with this comment! I started my “get a dog”-campaign when I was 6 years old (as my older neighbor got one) but it wasn’t until my 12th birthday that my parents FINALLY agreed. Only thing was, I moved away from home at 16 (for school, common thing where I’m from) and couldn’t bring my dog with me. So I got
      4 years of her being all mine, then my parents had her for the rest for her life as I never moved back home. Funny thing tho, even her last week alive, she still saw me as the leader of the pack, and refused to show weakness. I was visiting my parents and before arriving they had warned me she was old and weak and might not last until I got home. When I got home, she jumped around as a puppy, having loads of energy and played with me all the time. Day after I left, she didn’t get up in the morning. They took her to the vet to say goodbye the next day. This will forever break my heart.

  111. Brenda says...

    Living in an apartment with young kids (4 and 5) and a dog that has no concept of personal space is the most wonderful thing. We love it! :)

  112. Gillian says...

    YES to the dog idea. I love the thought of “borrowing” a friend’s dog for a night or two to check for allergies — I’d recommend finding a really hairy one in order to get the best odds of catching an allergy. Talk to T&A about how this dog will be the entire family’s responsibility, with each of them having certain responsibilities like scooping out food or washing the dog’s water dish (sorry, Anton!). I grew up having difficulty making friends, and my family’s dogs were my comfort and companionship during the challenging pre-teen and adolescent years. They also taught me to put my dogs’ needs ahead of my wants. Now that I’m an adult living in Minnesota, my friendly beagle mix gets me outside even on the chilliest of days, and she teaches me how to set boundaries, prioritize saving over spending (because emergency vet bills are REAL), and that even at my grumpiest, I’m still lovable.

    • Gillian says...

      Also: I’m a therapist, and that very New Yorker cartoon print mounted on a canvas was my parents’ gift to me for finishing grad school. :)

  113. Julia says...

    I recently spent a year and a half as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia, and adopted a sweet pup while I was there to keep me company in the bush. I struggled with my mental health a lot while in Zambia, and having a dog helped so much. Little Remy came back to America with me last week and is now happily exploring American life :) best souvenir ever

    • Melissa says...

      Hey, Julia! I was a PC volunteer in Paraguay and also brought my pup from my site home with me! She passed away last August, at age 16. Together, we explored everywhere from Peru to Manhattan to Guatemala to Brooklyn to (our final stop together) France. Along the way she adapted to a husband, kids, and other pups, always sweet and by my side. She’s no longer here, but she’ll always be my forever friend and best buddy. Enjoy your pup! xoxo

  114. Lori H says...

    We just lost our beloved Westie, Hobbes (as in Calvin and..). Westies are confident and they are certain that they are big dogs, just like Labs (they are lap-sized dogs with a big dog attitude). Perfect and perfect for us. I did not grow up with any pets, but really think getting Hobbes was the right thing to do, for our kids and our family as a whole.

  115. Amy says...

    I have two dogs! They’re the best, most sweetest pups ever and I can’t imagine my family without them. They’re rescue dogs, both mixed terriers, and they’re brothers. They have the funniest little personalities, and it’s been amazing watching them blossom from scared, malnourished, untrustworthy little things… now they rule the roost, sleep on my bed, and don’t even bat an eyelid while being pummeled by my 2-year-old and 4-year-old!

  116. Karin says...

    Tip: Work with a rescue organization… Aside from helping a dog out, most rescues are very careful to match you with the right dog. They will talk to your family about what you want and not give you more dog than you can handle (as newbies). You’ll also generally get a housebroken dog (not a puppy, which is way too much work with 2 kids and jobs).

    Also, every mom i know ends up taking care of the dog, but also ends up not minding.

    GET A DOG! Growing up with a dog is something every child should experience and your heart will burst seeing the boys with the dog. Good luck!

  117. Sarah says...

    Yes rescue pups all the way!! When I was in middle/high school I got involved in taking my dogs through obedience and agility training, and ended up competing across the country. It was so cool to be able to work with my dog like this and provided great skills for later in life, i.e. how to cope when people don’t do what you want them to do!

  118. Annie says...

    Yes, yes, get a dog! It sounds silly because I have a ton of friends that I love, but for a difficult period of time my dog truly was my best friend. We hung out and went on walks and were always together. Thinking about his slobbery kisses still brings me joy.
    I think a family with two young children is PERFECT for a dog! Just do some soul searching so you can be honest with yourself about how much time you have to devote to them (walks and training) as well as what energy level you are willing to deal with. My partner and I found ourselves with a husky (someone we know kind of left her with us and moved on so we took her in) . . . she is ALOT, but so cuddly and we do our best with helping her get her energy out!

    • Annie says...

      Also, if you feel like having a gentle sob, this is a poem that really illustrates what having a dog in your family is like. At least for me.

      He’s Just My Dog
      By Gene Hill
      He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds;
      my other ears that hear above the winds.
      He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea.
      He has told me a thousand times over that
      I am his reason for being;
      by the way he rests against my leg;
      by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile;
      When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive.
      When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile.
      When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.
      When I am a fool, he ignores it.
      When I succeed, he brags.
      Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful.
      He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion.
      With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace.
      He has brought me understanding where before was ignorance.
      His head on my knee can heal my human hurts.
      His presence by my side is protection against my fears
      of dark and unknown things.
      He has promised to wait for me……whenever
      ……wherever — in case I need him.
      And I expect I will — as I always have.
      He is just my dog.

    • Leah says...

      That poem made me cry! So true. Thank you for sharing.

      We adore our dog and everything he has brought to our lives. He is just a dog, but if you love one, you know – they are better than us, and bring out the best in us.

  119. Rachelle says...

    We’re pretty in love with our 8 month old Aussie/sheltie, Murphy. She was so much work as a puppy though! I have the feeling that an older rescue dog would be a good option for you guys :). Skip the very hard work of puppy training! If we ever get another dog that’s definitely what we will do. But Murph brings us so much joy and endless entertainment :)

  120. Simone says...

    Yes to rescue!!
    Ours is Hopscotch (mostly called Hopper). I’m a total dog person and I love this guy but the timing with having a busy 3 year old and a seven week old baby…not ideal. We got him a year before having kids and if I could do it over, I’d wait – the age of your kids much better for having a dog (in my experience!).

  121. Eliza and her dog, Gilly says...

    I think you should DEFINITELY get a dog! But also, I have an extra large breed dog who I love to the end of the world but her medical expenses are astronomical (simple things cost a lot more when your dog is bigger – flea pills are bigger, sedatives are bigger, grooming bills are bigger). Mixed breed (mutt) dogs can either have none of the problems or all of the problems of their inherited breed genetics and you never know which end of the lucky stick you’re going to get so have a little bit of a pet-health savings set up! Also, make sure both dog “parents” know who is going to be responsible for the care (training, walking, grooming, making appointments for vet/grooming/training, etc.), or all the responsibility and mental load could all fall on one person who thought it was going to be an equal pet-owership!

    • Okhee says...

      It’s been three years since our dog Ppoppy(뽀삐) passed away – from an undetected cancer at the early age of eight and a half. Through her whole life, she was such a loud farter that she used to jump up at the sound of her own. We still blame her(“Ppoppy?!!!”) if one of us toots in the room. It still brings laughs (and a tinge of sadness) every time.

      Get a dog, your life will never be the same.

  122. em says...

    get the dog! my dog was one of my favorite parts of childhood.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I totally felt like you (dogs are a bit scary) before, but my husband LOVES dogs and we got a rescue pup two one years ago. I am totally smitten! A total unexpected bonus is being forced to walk outside every day, no matter the weather. No matter what’s going on, it’s an amazing pause and it’s hard not to feel better after a walk.

      100% would recommend paying for a good dog trainer – ideally one that comes to your house and works on what you specifically need! The best investment. Having a well trained dog makes all the difference in terms of what you can do with them! Also ideally find some people that wish they had a dog but don’t so they can be ‘part time owners.’ We have a roster of friends and family that will take ours for a day or weekend and it is both convenient and super sweet. On the flip side, dogsitting for a friend for a weekend or week would be a great way to try out how a dog would fit into your life!

  123. Heather says...

    For too many reasons to name yes you should do it. As crazy as you may go for a bit with house training that is a blip on the screen in what a dog will bring to your family. Every single day he or she will be thrilled to see you and want to love you and be loved back.

  124. Emily Crowder says...

    We had a dog in our family growing up, a Labrador cross that I loved, but I didn’t know how much I could love a dog until I met Devo. My partner had a whippet when we met, inherited through a roommate. He was sweet, snuggly, sometimes trouble, always gentle, and turned me from a “dogs are great, maybe someday” person into a total mush around all dogs. He left us at 17, last fall, and we miss him and talk about him often still, though it’s mostly paired with a little bit of hope: when our toddler is a bit older we’re going to look for another whippet to adopt. <3

  125. Tina L. says...

    Yes, yes, yes, dogs bring a special something to your family. We’ve had one continuously now for about 17 years (one dog for 13 years – Millie, and this current one for the last 4 years – Roscoe.) We always get rescue dogs and they are the sweetest, but do have personality traits you should be aware of (ask a lot of questions!) This last one was a puppy when we got him (they’re the cutest, but too much work for full time employed people with kids) soooo glad that is behind us now…because two years of him eating ALL THE SHOES. We always stress we have to have a dog that loves people, and of course kids. Both of our rescues haven’t loved other dogs for various reasons, which makes it harder to bring them into public spaces. Yes, we have to board them when we travel (both of our dogs have done fine with it), it’s a lot of work no matter what. Feeding them, grooming them, vet bills, it all adds up, and the kids are really no help at all. Still, every darn day that dog is excited to see us, takes such happiness from his walks, LOVES hard on everyone around him, and cocks his head in the most adorable way when you talk to him. He truly makes me laugh out loud often. One piece of advice – crate train the dog or get one that is crate trained. That way, you can safely leave your house with the dog inside and feel secure he is not ripping up your couch or bed, or whatever is important to you. Also, we always invest in behavior training so the dog is not jumping all over you and your guests and knows how to behave in social settings.

  126. Floortje says...

    I HIGHLY recommend that if you’re looking at rescue organizations, go for one that allows you to have the dog on home-trial. It will give you time to truly experience (a little bit) of the dog and what getting a dog really means in terms of responsibility!
    We adopted our Aussie shepherd-mix dog Dalton back in October last year, when he was 7 months old. He is the cutest, sweetest pup (55lb) when we are home. HOWEVER, when he’s alone, he gets bored in 15min and destructive. We got him through a rescue organization where he was with a foster family until we got him. He was always a good boy with them – even when the humans left – because he had other dogs around. We tried many things (including daycare?!) but finally decided to try adding a new pup to the family (Piper, 6months), a mini Viszla-lab mix (+/- 30lb). They make an adorable duo and are such good boys together. We can leave them roaming the house, they’re up for snuggles and cuddles and play together.
    All of this to say, that 1) it’s worth the time to search for THE RIGHT DOG for your family and 2) be aware of what you’re getting yourself into and make an informed decision! Hope you’ll find your four-legged new family member soon ;)

  127. Em says...

    Aww, Toby’s comment about “family soup” is pretty genius!

    Dogs are the best! Really, having a kind and loving soul that’s SO HAPPY to greet you when you get home is LIFE CHANGING! You’ll wonder how you ever came home to an empty house.

    Yes, you have to walk a dog, everyday – sometimes more than once a day – however, your dog will also inspire you to get out and explore, more. As an NTP, I have to say, taking care of a dog includes good food – please get a quality food made with human-grade ingredients, it makes a world of difference for their short-term and long-term health, and energy levels.

    When you’re going out of town, you’ll have to make plans for your dog’s care – or bring it along! We’ve taken our dog camping and to hotels, it really is easier than you’d think. If you think you’ll fly a lot and want to bring your pooch with you, a small dog is best. Although, with two little ones in tow, not sure you’ll want to go there, Joanna! ;-)

    Dogs light up a family’s world and bring lots of silliness and laughs. I have many happy memories involving my family’s dogs. Dogs really do unconditionally love their family, and provide comfort beyond words.

    Be prepared to shift your life when you get one, in ways you’ve planned and ways you haven’t. It’s all so worth it though!

    • Kristina says...

      «Sometimes more than once a day”?? I walk my dog at least 30-60 minutes three times a day, without fail!

  128. Annie says...

    I got my golden retriever, Teddy, 5 years ago when he was just a tiny pup. I’ve always loved dogs and sought them out as a kid, but my dad was never a fan so we never had one as a family.

    Aside from my fiancé, Teddy is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He is goofy and sweet and intuitive and soulful, and he believe the best in everyone. The best part: when I brought Teddy up to visit my dad, he fell in love, and my parents ended up getting Teddy’s brother from the following litter. Now we have two golden boys in the family. My 75-yo dad gets on the floor with his dog, Mackie, looks into his eyes, and says “I love you, son” to him. It’s the cutest thing ever.

    • C says...

      This melts me and sounds SO much like my parents. I lost my 6 year old Golden, 2 months ago and I’m still devastated. My parents also have a Golden and I love him so much but my parents live for their dog. Goldens are the best dogs.

  129. MelTown says...

    I have always been anti-dog. I too thought they were a bit scary, and definitely felt like they were too much work. I also thought it was only worth it if you got a big dog.

    About a year ago my oldest (now 7) started writing songs and poetry about how mean I was for not letting her get a dog, and I also read an interview with a children’s hospice doctor who said that having a dog was one of the great life joys reported by his patients. Talk about weakening my resolve! Fast forward to two months ago when my sister found a dog on the side of the road and despite a fervent search never found her owners. I resisted, but we now have a little dachshund named Jellybean.

    Y’all, I love this dog. I really wanted four babies, but that wasn’t in the cards for health reasons and this dog is baby sized but way less work than a baby. She’s adorable, and sweet, and my kids love her. I don’t love it when she poops on my rug (which has been happening a lot), but I’m still glad we have her, and I’m very glad she isn’t a large breed. She’s all the fun of a dog without the giant destructive body taking up space that a larger breed would have been.

    If I could offer my advice it would be this: get a dog, but AFTER you have kids. A dog plus a newborn really is too much to handle, but if you get one when your kids are a bit older it’s great. My kids are 7,5, and nearly 2 and it would have been better if we could have held out until the youngest was 3, but definitely better than getting the dog before babies.

  130. Malissa says...

    I am 40, no children (with husband) – living in Singapore with my geriatric pug lady, Marlie. When I was 25, I was dating a guy who L-O-V-E-D pugs. We were in grad school/law school. I drove to a farm in Ohio with my blank check book; I was B-R-O-K-E. Of course I wrote the check for $500, and nearly 15 years later and $50,000 over the lifetime of this lady, here we are. She is my sidekick, and while I never regret having and loving her, I don’t know if I would repeat it. I’ve spent 15 yrs. loving this dog, but also worrying about her, so many hours of my life revolving around vet/health care, and not to mention coordinating babysitters for her when we travel. It’s a LOT!! But I love her so much and will be heartbroken when her little pug personality does not occupy my life.

  131. T says...

    From what you’ve posted before, Joanna, it sounds like Toby is a sensitive soul, and an empath. As a kid, my cat and then my dog often felt like my only refuge, no judgement, no talking, just firm and unconditional love. There are some breeds of cats that are renowned for their affection if that’s one thing holding you back from cats.

    And I know it gets a terrible rap, but as a first time pet owner, it is ok to do your research and buy an ethically bred pup or kitten. I know adopting is ethically better, but sometimes knowing your limits is good too.

    • MeganRK says...

      I love and agree wholeheartedly with your comment. Just happened upon it before adding my thoughts and so glad I did, I couldn’t have said it better.

      (I’ve felt a little guilty about getting puppies – not from rescues, but have terrible asthma and allergies and know what I can manage, so the second part of your comment was perfect.) Thanks!

    • Eve Russett says...

      I totally agree. I had zero experience of dogs before we got our first one last year. I did loads of research and read a couple of books about training etc and we decided to get a pup from a trusted breeder for our first because of my total lack of experience I just didn’t think I would be capable of bringing up a dog that might have experienced trauma and have additional needs. I have a few friends with rescues that have required huge amounts of work to get the dog into a state where it is happy and also trustworthy around children and the public – I knew I wasn’t capable of that and I couldn’t bear the thought of taking on a rescue and ending up having to return it and put it through that trauma because I wasn’t able to cope. It was definitely the right decision for us. Now that I feel so much more confident around dogs we will probably rescue our next one ? and yes Joanna get a dog! She is the best decision we have ever made. We have a cream golden retriever named Betty (looks just like the one in your picture!) and highly recommend the breed as the perfect family pet. I’m going to go and cuddle her right now!

  132. Sarah T says...

    Hi Joanna,
    Dogs are extremely important in my life and I think they really do bring a family together. I always remember when I was growing up and even if various members of my family were arguing or being annoying or life was just difficult, we ALL spoke to the dog and about the dog to each other! She was the glue that held us all together.
    I would just like to add that raising a dog is very much the same as raising a child and you get out what you put in. Dogs require work but the pay off is enormous and unlike some other obligations, the investment you make will absolutely be worth it. Walking my dog is one of the great joys of my life – particularly off lead through a beautiful park where her happiness at running and exploring is infectious.
    I can also recommend listening to this wonderful story from Gretchen Rubin which never fails to make me smile (and if I’m being honest, tear up a bit!):
    https://gretchenrubin.com/podcast-episode/little-happier-barnaby

  133. Emma Shelby says...

    Yes to a dog!!! But before you do:
    Keep a friend’s pup for a weekend and see how it goes. The boys may have allergies (or you might!) you aren’t aware of. Better to know before you incorporate him/her into your family.

    Also, getting a puppy is a lot of work – especially if you’ve never had a dog. Consider pee pads, or an older, house-trained love bug.

  134. Erin says...

    I have a friend who adopted a puppy last year. Her family has three kids — the oldest child is in middle school; the other two are in elementary school. The dog is cute and friendly, but seems to have made their lives a lot more complicated. They do nearly as much strategizing about how to juggle the dog’s needs on the weekends as to coordinate the activities of the kids. The dog isn’t OK with being left alone and has to be taken to the dog sitter even if they are just doing a day trip somewhere. And it’s become harder for them to have friends over because the dog runs around like a maniac when there are extra people in the house. Watching her experience has really made me hesitant to ever think about getting a dog myself.

  135. Chandra says...

    Dog mom here. Once you have one you won’t know how you lived without one! I have a black lab named Trudy garland. Labs are awesome but can be super active which is perfect for kids.

  136. Katy says...

    Dogs are the best! But there are also a few things to consider before you get one: If you have a backyard that you can easily let a dog out, it makes things *a lot* easier. Lugging our two small dogs up and down stairs and the elevator of our NYC apartment is a pain in the neck. And walking them in snow and winter temperatures at 7am is brutal. Pets are also expensive. Paying for boarding/Rover every time we go out of town adds up and now that our dogs are senior — the vet and medication bills are $$$$. That said, I love my dogs and wouldn’t have it any other way. :-)

  137. Danielle says...

    I grew up with anywhere from 1-3 dogs in the house. I have asthma and allergies but developed a tolerance to their dander for the most part. If I got too close and rubbed my face in their fur or rubbed my eye after petting them, the allergies would start so I had to be really careful. When I came home my freshman year of college for Thanksgiving, my eyes immediately started watering and I began to sneeze. 18 years of built up immunity was gone.

    Now, I do not have a dog, or any animals except for 2 betta fish. Dogs are cute, but with my allergies, it would be way too much to keep up with the hair and dander all over the place. (Yes, I’ve considered hypoallergenic breeds. My in laws have a maltese and if I’m at their house for more than an hour with no antihistamines, it’s bad news.) Also, we don’t really have a yard (South Florida, zero lot lines) and the thought of taking care of another thing, plus all the cleaning I’d have to do is enough to keep me firmly in the no pets camp.

  138. Susie says...

    We have Addie…adopted when she was 1 1/2 and now is 13. She is our 3rd rescue ( we have had just one at a time:) ) They have all been females, and just great…different personalities, but have fitted into our various stages of family life.

    As cute as puppies are, we have never wanted to deal with the house breaking, chewing etc., so we have looked for a mature dog in need of a home, with demonstrated ‘good with kids’ credentials.

  139. Anita says...

    Could you please update with details of the breed of your gorgeous office dog? I’m sorry if it is already in the comments but there are too many to go through!!!

  140. Carrie Milligan says...

    I had to scroll for a while to find a like-minded person. I am a firm “no” on the dog front. In a nod to the fact that women still do the lion’s share of the “worry work” and “uncompensated around the house work” no matter how wonderful our partners are, I have steadfastly refused to get a dog. I had a dog as a teen (more for my younger sibs), and did not enjoy it then, nor do I think I would enjoy it now. It is ok to love dogs, it is also ok to not love dogs. It would be a lot of work, and as the person who still does most of the work around the house, it is a hard pass from me. PS I do really love my kids.

    • Caitlin says...

      I’m with you, Carrie! Not into it, and definitely don’t need any more work. My kids love visiting friends and family with dogs and I hope, if they want, that they have dogs when they get older. But I’m not a dog person and having one would not just *not* fill my cup, but it would actively take away from it.

    • Kristin says...

      Carrie, thank you for sharing that you don’t love dogs. I’m not fond of them, either. They’re a lot of work, and I’m not charmed by their constant adoration. I feel like others would think less of me if they knew I didn’t care for dogs, as it seems like everybody does.

      My husband loves them so we’ve owned some for 18 years. We now have 2. He does the majority of the care for them, but I clean the vomit and poop messes indoors (infrequent), vacuum shedding (horrific), and help when he’s at work. The trade off is that we have 3 cats, which I adore and he tolerates. I feel like it’s a fair trade.

    • Molly says...

      Thank you for your comment! I was beginning to feel like a sociopath for not wanting to own a dog.

    • I’m there with you – I enjoy other peoples’ dogs that I don’t have to do the dirty work for!!! But my household currently has enough love, dirt, and details and I’m not adding another pet or kid or anybody.

  141. Christina H. says...

    I always asked my parents for a dog while growing up, but it ended up being a short-lived experience (my mom had my brother, and taking care of the baby plus dog was too much so my grandmother cared for our dog). A few years ago, my fiancé (then boyfriend) and I decided to adopt a dog together. We adopted him from a rescue group in Houston. Honestly, he had a lot of separation anxiety and issues from however he was abandoned, and it took a lot of time and patience to get him used to being alone. After two weeks, I remember crying on the phone to my dad that I was worried getting a dog wasn’t what I imagined it to be. Fast forward 2.5 years, and adopting a dog is a decision I would make again and again. Also, I travel pretty often for work which is not ideal for a dog, but my fiancé and I make it work. He brings so much joy to our lives! I can’t imagine life without him.

  142. Claire says...

    That dog is adorable!

  143. Alexa says...

    My husband and I rescued Pete two years ago and he has absolutely swelled our hearts. I grew up with dogs, but my husband did not. Pete has made us feel like even more of a family and I can’t recommend getting a dog enough.

  144. Emily says...

    Yes!!!!! I’ve always had and will always have a dog! I’ve lived in Boston with a dog, I’ve lived in the country with a dog. I have three daughters ages 7, 11, and 13. We currently have two dogs. Dogs are awesome – especially for kids! They are always there for you when you need some extra love. Yes – they are work and time, but what you get in return makes it so worth it! Everyone should have the unconditional love that comes from a dog.

  145. My dog, Eleanor Roosevelt (Elly) is a great apartment dog- she’s 4.5 pounds, not a big fan of walks, and prefers to run up and down the strip of grass we have behind our house. I would say that having a dog gets you very comfortable handling animal waste, but I imagine you got over that with having kids :)

    I honestly don’t know what I’d do without my Elly. She’s my best friend.

  146. Jenny says...

    I grew up with dogs & cats (and fish), and my own dog is currently 14 years old (I got him when I was 19). I think pets are super special when you’re a kid, they teach you so much. I found a cat when I was 3 and we were BFFs until she passed when I was 20. But, as an adult – they are like bringing in another child. They require a lot of care, they get old and sick and then die. Going out of town (or even somewhere after work) gets harder and more expensive. Every apartment you choose has to be dog-friendly (and more expensive). It does complicate things! And no – you can’t just give them up. Pets are a life-long (theirs) commitment!

  147. Teresa says...

    I have a dog named Ike, a perfect blend of stubborn, fun-loving beagle and Italian Greyhound. I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without him. He makes me and my husband laugh every day, and reminds us to take a deep breath, to slow down, and to seek out small and ordinary joys.

    Even the things that are annoying — taking him out every time he needs to do his business (we live in a city, so no yard) — have taught me patience and have introduced me to so many people in my neighborhood! Everyone loves Ike. The owner of the Mediterranean restaurant down the street gives him pieces of lamb. The baristas at the coffee shop by our apartment give him treats and pets. Other dog owners nod and smile at us when we pass; it’s like a secret handshake.

  148. Liz says...

    Dogs are wonderful and an amazing family addition. They are always happy to see you and make the world better. I foster dogs as well as having a lovely three year old golden retriever. But I would give thought to as some others have mentioned how it fits in your lifestyle. They not only need walks and play but attention. They want to be part of the family curled up near your feet, included on weekend trips and they need training especially puppies. The time and effort required is 100% worth it but critical to consider. Also consider what type of dogs suit you, big/small, energetic/calm who is your ideal companion? Sure the cutie puppy might look like the best option and they are wonderful but is the calm older dog your family’s soul mate? I think rescues are amazing having experienced pedigree and rescues both are amazing but rescues really need a chance in life and definitely will reward you for it with their unconditional love. Best of luck!

  149. Liz Roberts says...

    Dogs are wonderful and an amazing family addition. They are always happy to see you and make the world better. I foster dogs as well as having a lovely three year old golden retriever. But I would give thought to as some others have mentioned how it fits in your lifestyle. They not only need walks and play but attention. They want to be part of the family curled up near your feet, included on weekend trips and they need training especially puppies. The time and effort required is 100% worth it but critical to consider. Also consider what type of dogs suit you, big/small, energetic/calm who is your ideal companion? I think rescues are amazing having experienced pedigree and rescues both are amazing but rescues really need a chance in life and definitely will reward you for it with their unconditional love. Best of luck!

  150. Callie says...

    We have the worlds best dog—his name is Mr Mason and he’s 14 years old and 14 lbs and going blind and just so incredibly loving and sweet and tolerant of my kiddos (who are 2 and 3). Sometimes I feel like he gets the short end of the stick now but then every night he is the only “baby” in our bed snuggling with us.