I have always loved dogs. When I was a kid, we were allowed to keep one of the puppies from the litter of our neighbor’s dog. She was a little black mixed breed, and we named her Melissa, Missy for short. Missy lasted about a month or so in our house. She drove my mother crazy by tearing up everything she could get her teeth into. She would sit by the dinner table and guilt us into feeding her table scraps. Spoiled is what you could call our Missy. Finally at her breaking point, my mother insisted that we give Missy away. She found a nice family to take the dog, and I remember the heavy air of resentment that permeated our car ride to the apartment complex where Missy was going to live.
I have been thinking about Missy lately because my kids have resumed their intense lobbying efforts to get a dog. Although I would dearly love to acquiesce, I just know I am not willing to do what it takes to be a good dog owner. For one thing, I live in a climate of extremes. It’s either cold or hot, and under both conditions, I am reluctant to have to walk a dog. Today I saw a man walking his dog in a torrential downpour. Both he and the dog were soaking wet. I could imagine not only the discomfort of the walk, but the dripping mess when they reentered their house. Another drawback for me is the need to pick up their poop. I am not all that squeamish. I have, after all, raised four kids. But this daily task would just gross me out.
Another drawback to having a dog is having to make arrangements for its care when we travel. As my husband and I get older, I anticipate more trips that would be complicated by the need to find good care for the dog. Even a long day can be difficult. I have known many people to cut outings or visits short because they have to get home to their dog. I am almost done with needing babysitters, so I’m not keen on having to find pet sitters.
Friends who have dogs are always telling me that once I got the dog, I would fall in love with it. No kidding! I would be its utter slave. One look from those big eyes, and I would be serving it filet mignon at the table with the family. I would have a hard time disciplining said dog, so it would probably be poorly behaved, ruining good shoes and jumping on people when they came to my door.
I know all the benefits of having a dog – their unconditional love, their companionship, and their ability to deter burglars. I was once in a serious relationship with a man who owned a beautiful golden retriever. After we broke up, I sometimes missed the dog more than the guy.
But I have been a stay at home mom for the last 23 plus years – and counting! As my youngest two children grow up and leave the nest, I am actually looking forward to having more time to myself and more adventures. It will just be so much easier without a dog.