Don’t Get the Puppy

{Fellow pet owners, please don’t hate me! I’m not suggesting we should give up our family pets. We truly love our Sofi dog; there’s no need to feel sorry for her as your read this. She’s still plenty spoiled! Right now she’s cuddled up on the couch after wearing herself out at our church Easter egg hunt this morning. That’s right, folks. We still bring her (almost) everywhere!} 

Young Couples Everywhere,

Here’s a bit of unsolicited advice: don’t get the puppy.

Even if that two-pound bundle of cuteness is on sale. Even if you discover it’s hypoallergenic.


Don’t get the puppy. 


Because if you do get the puppy, that little puppy will become your child. She’ll go with you everywhere.


Literally, everywhere–church, weddings, walmart, football games, and on airplane rides.

Should you get a puppy?

You’ll buy puppy sweaters and special puppy chew toys. You’ll go to puppy class, and you’ll teach her tricks. You’ll brag to everyone that she is the smartest, most-talented dog ever. She jumps through hoops! She puts her toys away! She dances! She’s probably even smarter than Lassie.

dog tricks

dog tricks

You’ll take her on long walks, and you’ll watch the Dog Whisperer. You won’t mind when she eats a whole package of birth control pills or chews through a leash. She’s just a puppy, after all.

don't get a puppy

should you get a puppy?

Eventually that puppy will get older. You’ll still love her, because she’s your dog daughter. But you start to notice how inconvenient she is. You’ll still travel (because you swore a dog wouldn’t hold you back), but it’s a pain to find someone to watch your (usually) sweet schnoodle pup.

schnoodle dog

You’ll get annoyed when she has accidents. You’ll look for ways to get her to stop barking and to stop eating poop. She’s no longer a puppy. Shouldn’t she have outgrown those bad habits by now?

puppy problems

dog is your child

And then, if you’re like most couples, one day you’ll decide a dog daughter is not enough.

dog is your child

You start to want a real daughter.

dog and new baby

And one day that daughter will be born, and you’ll wonder how the dog will do. Will she like the baby? Will she growl? Will she bite?

dog and new baby

But then you realize it’s not the dog’s behavior around the baby that bothers you. It’s that the dog eats Kleenexes out of the trash, licks the lotion off your legs, and barks at all the visitors. And every day she needs silly, inconvenient things like walks and dog food.

dog and new baby

should you get a dog?

dog and baby

Gradually, the dog will stop going with you everywhere. Not because you don’t love her (although you may begin to doubt your love), but because you just don’t have enough hands or energy to manage hauling around a dog and a baby. 

should you get a dog?

dog and new baby

A few months later, you’ll come home with a second baby. And you’ll struggle to even find a picture with the dog, because the dog gets even less attention now that there are two babies. The dog is no longer important.

should you get a puppy?

And one day your dog may escape the house and disappear for awhile, and (to your surprise) your first feeling is relief. (One less thing to take care of.) And then guilt. (She was/is your dog daughter.) And then sadness. (Because deep down you believe there is something good about kids growing up around a dog. They learn to love animals and have fewer allergies.)

should young couples get a puppy?

But, still. This parenting thing is hard. Maybe there’s a compromise? Your husband takes the dog to work and tries to convince his coworkers they need an office dog. And it seems to be working.

Until one day your two-year-old cries as daddy and dog are leaving and says, “No, Daddy! You can’t take Sofi. I miss her.”

And that’s when you realize…she’s no longer your dog.  Although it will be a few years before they can walk/feed/care for her, the dog belongs to your kids. You can’t (ever) get rid of her.  Because she’s part of the family. Your babies love her unconditionally. They need you to keep her. They don’t know life without her.

So young couples, make it easy on yourselves.

Don’t get the puppy.

Or do.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you.


8 thoughts on “Don’t Get the Puppy”

  1. Not sure if this was meant to be funny, but i just cried reading it, and I love your honesty! we had two cats before our son was born and they have definitely become his cats! We have talked about a puppy a few times and i just know that I DO NOT have enough, time or patience for a puppy right now. Thank you so much for your honesty!

    1. Aww, thanks so much for commenting! I think some parts are meant to be funny–I laughed when I remembered how we freaked out when our puppy ate the birth control pills. The emergency vet just joked that at least we wouldn’t have any unplanned puppies. But it also broke my heart to write it. I feel a bit disloyal because she really was (is?) our first child! And I’ve heard so many of my friends express similar feelings that I felt compelled to write. 🙂

  2. I guess it was supposed to be funny and I get it …. kind of. It’s just too bad for your dog is all I guess. We have two kids and our dog is such an elemental part of the family that I can’t imagine her not being here. Almost all of what you wrote is true, less pictures with her, more work… But as old as she is now I realize that she won’t be here too much longer and this kind of sentiment is just saddening. I would say to young couples: get the dog, learn how to love something unconditionally that didn’t come from your body and later teach it to your children….

    1. Hi, Kat! Thanks for your honesty! Aww, I’m sorry if it didn’t come across that we love our dog unconditionally. We surely do! I wrote this because I’ve heard SO many people express frustration, annoyance, and doubt regarding their pets. (But they feel guilty admitting it.) I tried to capture that one facet of the relationship (and the passing of the “man’s best friend” relationship on to our children). This sad sentiment is one season, one phase, one moment. There’s a lot of joy in our relationship with our pup, too! 🙂

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