Someday, We’ll Be Dog People

Dan calls me and says, “I want a puppy.”

This is unprecedented. It’s usually Flora telling me she wants a puppy, at the dinner table, as a means of distracting me from the reality that she is not, in fact, sitting the correct way in her seat.

One part of my mind immediately jumps to the worst-case scenario: that he already has a puppy in his possession and is just trying to figure out how I am going to feel about it. (See, it’s not just cars on fire and worse: My husband mentions a puppy, and I’m already thinking, “We can’t get a puppy. We’re going out of town this weekend.” Yay, my brain.)

My response is, “I know. I want a puppy, too. But I don’t think we’re ready.”

“I want a puppy,” he says again.

“Well, who’s going to feed and train the puppy? Who’s going to get up with a puppy at 2 in the morning?”

“I’m not going to be the one doing that all the time.”

Wrong answer. Thank you for playing.

Look, I do want a dog — a puppy I’m a little less sure of. But I do want a pet. I grew up with dogs, and I always intended to have one. I’ve volunteered at Animal Friends (and I hope to be able to do it again someday). I’ve researched good family dogs (in the case that we don’t go with a rescue dog).

But we need a few things to happen before we get a dog, let alone a puppy:

1. The girls have to be older. They have to be able to take responsibility for a pet: feeding it, grooming it, and, most importantly, cleaning up after it. Walking it is going to be something of a family activity, especially if we get a labrador-type of dog. Which is what we are leaning toward. I am thinking Flora has to be 7 or 8 before we bring a dog onboard.

2. We have to be able to afford a dog. I know that pet food may fit in our budget right now, but vet bills definitely do not.

3. We have to have the time to give a dog, especially (again) a lab or a border collie. Given Dan’s current work schedule and the girls’ ages, a dog would be almost wholly my responsibility. And I’m just not ready for that right now.

4. I am willing to consider other pets, although not a) cats. I’m allergic. Plus, see “cleaning up after it”. I don’t do litter boxes.

b) Fish? Okay, although repeated viewings of Finding Nemo may make this inadvisable.

c) A hamster? Meh. I had hamsters as a girl, and first, they aren’t the sturdiest of pets; second, they don’t have a long life-span; and third, again with the cleaning. Ever clean out a hamster cage? Not as bad as a litter box. But Flora’s attention span isn’t enough to get her through helping me make mac’n’cheese. So “helping” me clean a hamster’s cage is a dicey proposition at best.

d) What are other pet options — low maintenance pet options, if any?

Given all of this, I probably should not be looking at sites like this. Because I want one too, right now. The cuteness trumps all.