Little Girl Sitting With Dog

Should You Get Your Kids a Dog?

Dear Sara,

I have three school age girls and they all want a dog. I’m working full time and really don’t want the responsibility of a dog. On the other hand, I had a dog growing up but my Mom was a stay at home Mom and had more time. I sometimes regret being a working Mom and feel guilty for denying my kids a dog. Do I let them have their dog or not?

Dear Bonita,

You seem to have two problems. One is your kids need to have a pet and the other is your guilt for not being a stay at home Mom. It’s sad that women weren’t valued for the time and effort that they put into staying home and caring for their family. People took this valuable service for granted and women decided that working for someone for pay increased their esteem and then they were valued for increasing the family income. In the process we lost a lot of stay at home Moms.

You’re right to give the dog project some serious consideration. If you decide that it’s OK for your kids to have a dog then you might consider some things that will make things a little easier. You need a low key relaxed dog that won’t stress you out. An older dog from a shelter could relieve you from having to train a puppy not to pee on the rug. Your kids will be happy and excited at first but will lose interest fairly quickly so you are right that this could end up being your responsibility. Be clear on your expectations regarding the dog. Try to make it a family project and give each girl a couple of days a week to be in charge of their new pet.

It seems that you remember your dog fondly. Maybe your kids also need this connection to their childhood. You may be in charge and frustrated but your kids will also have good memories of the time they spent with their pet.
Good luck,