Our family is not pet friendly. We are always on the go, despite homeschooling. We don’t really have time to pay attention to a pet, nor train it. Someone always complains about feeding and potty duty. And honestly I hate cleaning up after another living thing that will NEVER be self sufficient. But we have a dog anyway. Let me explain.
In the beginning years of marriage, my hubby and I first engaged in pet parenting before we had children of our own. Not long into our first year of marriage, we acquired a kitten. I named him Simba because I loved the Lion King movie. He was so little, and I had to get up with him at night, and I taught him how to eat and drink out of a bowl. Very much like a baby! He quickly grew into a full-grown ball of energy. He acted possessed at times, eagerly playing with toys. His favorite activity was to chase a super ball all over the house. My mother-in law dubbed him Satan because he was such a wild thing! I loved him like he was my child. When we moved to Oregon for a year we even dragged him cross country and back. We only chose an apartment that would allow pets.
A couple years later, we were expecting our first child. Ken dutifully cleaned the litter box for me through that pregnancy and the two that followed. When we brought our third child home from the hospital we quickly realized there was a problem. Our baby Sam had a constant running nose and watery eyes whenever we were at home. We thought it might be an allergy but didn’t want to blame it on the cat right away. When we moved to our newly purchased home we realized that the cat had to be the issue.
So with a heavy heart, I took our 9-year-old cat to the Humane Society. My husband was happy. I was not. He was our first pet together as a family. He was that constant lump at the end of the bed in the middle of the night. He was the reason for the stinky box in the laundry room. He was my favorite Cheeto-and-yogurt-eating “possessed” pet ever. But kids before pets.
When my oldest child asked for a dog at about 7 years old, I adamantly said no. Then the kid wore me down to agree to go looking. Well, we bought the first dog we looked at. (Can you see sucker on my forehead?) He was the proud owner of a one-year-old beagle we named Jake.
We DID NOT need a dog! We were never home. We had full-time jobs and school and sports! No one who’s never home should own a pet! We endured pee and poop in every possible area of the house! My son, Matt, did not own up to his promise to take care of his beloved pet. It was a fight to take him potty, clean up the yard, and even feed the poor dog. This was not the original plan! One time right after cleaning carpets, Jake peed in every room only moments after I finished! We had a friend that worked in a prison dog training program. She took Jake for two weeks, promising he would be 100% better when he returned. That lasted a couple weeks. He went back to his old self. The problem wasn’t him. It was us. So once again, I took a family pet to the Humane Society. Luckily, he already had a forever family waiting. We as a family swore off pets for good. Or so we thought.
Nearly two years ago, we lost a baby boy we were expecting. The whole family had been excited. Especially Sam. He already had a baby sister and was hoping for a baby brother. So losing his brother was hard. Very hard. About six months after our loss, Sam began asking for a dog. Again I said no. He wanted a dog so badly that he had begun dragging around a stuffed dog with a make shift leash. I actually felt bad for the kid, and the stuffed dog! And after wearing me down AGAIN I took him to “look” at a dog. I had started thinking that maybe a pet would be a good way to help him heal from the heartache of losing his brother.
We are now the owners of a dachshund mix dog named Snickers. She’s been a part of our family for a little over a year now. She’s a pain in the neck. She’s always following me around and under foot. She’s the new lump at the end of my bed in the middle of the night. I don’t have patience or time for her. I’m usually the one left to take her potty and feed her. Yet she doesn’t care. She lets the kids, especially Sam and Sarah haul her all over, and drag her around with her leash. She lets them pretend dance with her. She will climb in bed with just about any of them. And even though she doesn’t like it, she lets them bathe her a lot! She is loyal and a quick learner. She has been therapeutic for all of us. And I did notice she’s growing on me.
We really aren’t a pet friendly family. But at least we have one that accepts us faults and all.
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