Do you have to choose between having a dog and having kids?


*declares post completecloses laptop, goes to the kitchen, eats a cookie in celebration of a job well done, eats a second cookie in celebration of how good that first cookie was, reconsiders answer, returns to computer*

Here’s the thing. The answer is really that simple… and yet, it’s not. All at the same time. Allow me to explain.

I don’t believe that “you” (in the broadest sense) have to choose between kids and dogs. I don’t think it’s a zero sum game. At the same time, do “you” (in the narrowest possible sense) have to choose between kids and dogs? I can’t answer that one. However, I have thoughts. Lots of them.

What prompted this topic, you might wonder? Well, it’s all due to a link-baiting, absolutely infuriating article I read on Slate yesterday: The One Thing No One Tells You Before You Have Kids. That one thing? Don’t get a dog. Little did I know that a fulfilling life containing both pets and children is the stuff of fantasy.

So, if you were hoping to someday have a child and still love your pet, I suggest you hop on your unicorn and have Scotty beam you both back to Narnia. (If you currently have children and dogs, yet manage to love them both, I believe that qualifies you as the Eighth Wonder of the Modern World. Congratulations.)

After all, it’s a well-known fact that each of us has a finite amount of love to give, so you’d better not give it to a bunch of people. If you’re not careful, you can run out. Then, if you want to love a new person, you’re probably going to have to stop loving someone else. Sorry, third cousin twice removed. I’ve met someone new. You’re cut.  It’s tough, but that’s life…

Oh, wait. That sounds insane, doesn’t it? So does the author of that post (we’ll call her AB, for short). Before I go on, I suppose I should give you the high points. AB’s boyfriend got her a surprise puppy, which she describes as “the best surprise a man can give to a woman he loves.” (I beg to differ, but that’s a post for another day – how about getting a puppy after some thoughtful consideration, people? That’s romance.) Anyway, she totally loved this dog. He was the center of her universe, until…

She got pregnant. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not foolish enough to think that your life remains exactly the same when you have a child. Whenever you add responsibilities and stress to your life, priorities change and balancing them can be tough. That being said,  this post could have been a thought-provoking and interesting piece about how to deal with those challenges and what to consider before bringing a pet into your life. Or a cautionary tale based on AB’s experience, reminding us that maybe having both kids and pets really isn’t for everyone. Instead, it’s a flippant essay that almost made my head explode. It’s obvious that AB is going for hyperbole and shock value – at least I hope that’s the case. If my response sounds harsh, I’m only taking my cues from her. (To put it in schoolhouse terms, she started it.)

A few choice quotes, and my reaction:

John took the newborn hat from the hospital for Velvel to smell, to prepare him for the tiny human heading his way. That was probably the last nice thing we ever did for him.

Well, that’s depressing. (Cue sad trombone.) I’m sure she feels bad about it though.

A friend of mine once told me that before he had a kid, he would have run into a burning building to save his cats. Now that he has a kid, he would happily drown the cats in the bathtub if it would help his son take a longer nap. Here is how I feel about that statement: Velvel, avoid the bathroom.

Hilarious. By which I mean, not even a little bit hilarious. That’s supposed to be a joke, right? A poor one? If not, for the love of Kelly Taylor, get a new friend.

It’s not that I don’t love my dog. It’s just that I don’t love my dog. And I am not alone. A very nonscientific survey of almost everyone I know who had a dog and then had kids now wishes they had never got the dog.

Damn. Perhaps it’s time to scrap that whole friend list and start over. I shared this story on Facebook, and the responses there gave me some hope. Apparently this is not the “universal truth” that AB claims. Plenty of parents were chiming in to say that they couldn’t imagine life without their dogs and that they still love those furry faces.

I could share a few additional quotes, but it’s really just more of the same. The dog whines, he sheds, he needs to go for daily walks, he barks, he occasionally gets sick… can you believe the nerve of this furry guy? I guess before she had kids, he was hairless, silent, and managed to walk himself. He also had the gall to stop being a cute puppy, grow older, and have the occasional health issue. Needy much?

Daily Dog Challenge #86

If a real dog’s too much work, maybe try the one on the left?

Listen, nobody’s perfect. We all get busy. We neglect friends, family, and dogs that we love. Having kids isn’t easy. It can be stressful. I know people that have struggled with finding that kid/dog balance, and I have nothing but sympathy for those facing that challenge. It’s a big change. Those people, however, at least seem to recognize that it’s an issue.  Unlike AB, who doesn’t even sound sorry.

It almost sounds like she finds the whole thing funny. There’s a pretty big difference between admitting that you’ve been neglecting someone you love and deciding that you don’t even love them anymore. Difficult is not synonymous with impossible. (To paraphrase her post: “For years, I’ve neglected this being that depends on me for his every need. He’s just so annoying and always… there. I wish he didn’t exist! I’m not heartless. I have kids, so it’s okay! See how funny and shocking I am?”)

I know I said no more quotes, but I can’t help myself. Here’s the last one:

There are many lessons I’ve learned from my parents, but one in particular I wish I had followed. They didn’t get a dog until my sister and I were grown. They loved him like a dog should be loved until the day he died.

That’s funny. I learned a lesson or two from my parents as well. My parents had a dog when they had me. They adopted more animals over the years, as our family grew. At one point, my parents had two kids, five dogs, two cats, two turtles, and some goldfish living in our house. Do you know what I learned? That pets are awesome. That it’s possible to have children and take care of your pets at the same time. That it’s possible to consider the well-being of both your children and your pets. That your pets are part of the family. That you made a commitment to those animals, and you should honor that commitment. That it can be done.

So, do I think it’s absolutely necessary to choose between having kids and having dogs? No. However, if you’re even asking that question, then maybe you do have some choices to make. At the very least, stop and think.

(Honestly, part of me wants to send AB a thank you note. Perhaps her essay will keep other people like her from getting a dog and later regretting that choice.)

When I posted this article on Facebook, it inspired a lot of discussion. (Check it out here.) I’d love to hear your thoughts on the article, on having both pets and kids, and anything else you want to talk about. In spite of this overly long post, I think I still have more to say on this subject.

Given that it’s a sensitive subject, a few ground rules in the comments: (1) Play nice; (2) don’t make assumptions about reproductive plans and status (as a society, we run the gamut from child-free by choice to child-free by circumstance to just not there yet, so be cool, okay?); and (3) don’t rely on “if you don’t have kids you can’t possibly understand” as an argument. (With regard to that last one, as humans we’re capable of empathy and understanding things even if we haven’t experienced them directly. I also believe that a statement like that is a lazy argument being played as a trump card. Let’s dig into the substance of the debate instead.)

UPDATE as of 7/31: I asked Jodi from Heart Like a Dog (the Louise to my Thelma) if she would be introduced in doing a companion post about this issue from the perspective of someone with both dogs and kids. She obliged me, and has written a beautiful, moving, and brave post. Go check it out: Free To Good Home.

UPDATE #2 as of 8/1: Jen from My Brown Newfies has added her voice to the conversation in this honest and thought-provoking post. Jen writes from the perspective of a mom and a dog lover who found herself in a tough situation. Her post – unlike AB’s – is a revelation. Go read it!

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93 thoughts on “Do you have to choose between having a dog and having kids?

  1. Great post! After reading the selected quotes from the article, I didn’t want to read the whole thing. Just the quotes got my hackles up! Grrrr!

    First, let’s state that I am child-free by choice……

    I think there are “dog-people” and people who have dogs. There is a big difference between the two. Dog-people need a dog in their lives whether they have kids or not. This need is so fundamental that they can innately balance the load of having both.

    My parents raised me with every type of pet imaginable, for which I am truly grateful. Dogs just happened to be my favorite. Horses were a close second…..
    Taryn recently posted..We All Have Our Hopes and Dreams…….

    • “I think there are “dog-people” and people who have dogs. There is a big difference between the two. Dog-people need a dog in their lives whether they have kids or not. This need is so fundamental that they can innately balance the load of having both.”

      Well said, Taryn.
      Pamela recently posted..What Do You Expect From a Dog Blog?

    • Taryn, I’m with you. I was so angry when I first read it yesterday that I couldn’t even think straight!

      Also, I agree with Pamela 100%. Your description of dog people vs. people who have dogs is spot on. (I only with I’d thought of it for my post!)

  2. Great post AJ. I read the article and sadly was reminded of myself before Sampson.

    She obviously couldn’t find a balance between her children and her dog, which is sad, because she’s setting a poor example for her children about kindness to animals.

  3. There’s no point of comparison between a dog and kids because they both are awesome parts of a person’s life. The one who declares that dogs are better than kids may be in a situation where it’s better not to have kids. And people who say that kids are better than dogs have not really appreciated the bond of love that an animal companion and a pet owner shares. Nice post!

    • Excellent point. Why compare two things that are different and can be experienced and appreciated because of those differences? (Seriously, you guys in the comments are way more eloquent than I was in my post!)

  4. When I first saw the headline for the Slate article, I honestly thought it was going to be about “if you want kids, don’t get a dog… because once you’ve experienced having a dog you won’t see the point of having kids anymore.” Kinda like this article:

    Then I actually read the Slate article, realized that my interpretation of the headline was not what the author meant AT ALL, and got royally pissed off.
    Katie recently posted..Foster #6: Teddy Ruxpin

  5. I am also child-free by choice.

    A paternal aunt who committed suicide while suffering from post-partum depression, a mother who suffered terribly from depression my entire childhood, and schizophrenic and bipolar people on both sides of my husband’s family make me believe we made the right genetic choice at the very least.

    Parenting is stressful for everyone. But some people seem to find it particularly difficult while others go with the stream. I’ve seen both examples among my friends and family.

    However, it’s not acceptable for any parent to say they don’t like their kids (even if it’s true). In most settings (except for your FB page and blog) saying you don’t like your dog is ok.

    In the end, I suspect the author’s children will have a rougher time of it than her dog.

    Yes, her dog is not getting the attention or affection he needs. But he’s fed and warm. And he’d probably find it stressful to leave the only home he’s ever known.

    But those kids are being raised by a mother willing to say terrible things for money and who is feeling stressed enough by motherhood to write a dreadful article.
    Pamela recently posted..What Do You Expect From a Dog Blog?

    • Pamela – as always, you made some interesting and insightful points. It’s so true that saying you don’t like your dog is somehow okay – that just makes me sad. Though I think you’re right – at the end of the day, the ones who will (unfortunately) suffer the most are her children. Here’s hoping that Velvel manages to find some happiness in his golden years – at least he can’t read what this woman is saying about him.

  6. Like you said in the very first sentence: No !
    End of discussion for any same human being I guess ! Revisit AB’s post’s in 10 years from now and it will read the kids didn’t do it for her either. Then it is not about shedding and drooling, but about dipers and drool. No dogs, and no kids, just yourself to feel good about….
    kenzohw recently posted..Missing Hot Hovie

  7. Really, really great post. I wanted to say a lot of things, but Taryn and Pamela pretty much covered everything I was going to say.
    Hubs and I are also child-free by choice, and we will remain that way. For reasons very similar to Pamela’s, but for a few other reasons as well.
    I think for people to have children and dogs successfully – they need to see their dog(s) as other children. Because they basically are. They are living creatures who are dependent on you for love as well as providing for their every need. Sounds like a kid to me.
    I look at it this way: When a couple has one child, and then has a second child, it is important that they show their first child no less love or care. Right? They may receive different love/care, but no less. The dog must be thought of the same way. If you bring a new baby home, your dog should receive no less love/care than s/he always did. For a “dog person”, this would be rather natural. Just like parents of two (or multiple) children figure out how to parent those children as equally as possible, a “dog person” parents their dogs and children in an altogether way, not an exclusive way. For a “person who has a dog”, it would be a concerted effort. They tend to care for their dogs and children in an exclusive way… one is exclusive of the other. Because they just don’t see their dogs as children… they see them as… well… “just dogs”.
    Now, if people have kids first… and then get dogs… I think (and I could be wrong) that this could be easier (assuming the dog is okay with children). You can teach your children to help properly care for the dogs, to develop a bond with them, to care for and appreciate all animals, etc. The dogs and children can share a deep love, a deep bond that is even sometimes exclusive of the parents. When I was a child, I can’t count how many times I felt like my dog was the only one who understood me… the only one who loved me no matter what. Children who grow up having good relationships with dogs never stop that. Once a dog lover, always a dog lover. And the more dog-loving adults in this world, the better!
    It is unfortunate that so many people have both children and dogs and just can’t manage both. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen the situation where someone is trying to get rid of a dog because they now have a new baby and the two “just aren’t working out”. If I’m honest, it frankly infuriates me. I have to bite my tongue not to freak out on them. But then again, I’m a dog person.
    Pam recently posted..Tuesday’s Tails: Featuring Franny

    • Thanks, Pam. And you’re so right – in order to balance the two, the dog would need to be viewed as more than “just a dog” and more like an important family member. Your analogy to first and second children is a really good one here – just because you have more beings depending on you doesn’t mean that you ditch one completely! I also totally agree about the value of growing up with dogs – I loved growing up with animals, and it definitely made me who I am today.

      And you’re so right about the people who try to get rid of their dogs after they have a kid. I’m sure there are situations that can’t be helped, but that’s often not the case. Honestly, it makes me very sad. I do respect when people try to re-home the pet responsibly, but often it seems like they’re just dropped off at a shelter.

  8. Well sadly I am not consumed by this stupid woman’s article. Why do people feel the need to share every stupid thing that goes through their minds with no thought to the affect it might have no someone. Someone will read that story and think that the way they are treating their dog is okay because she said she felt this way too. Infuriating.
    Diane McCornack recently posted..Graduation Cards

  9. Wow, great post! I completely agree with everything you’ve said.

    You see having kids or owning dogs is completely subjective to your circumstances and your own personal hierarchy of responsibilities. Of course having a baby will make your life totally different, and unfortunately your pooch will most likely not receive as much attention as they used to. But that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t love it as much.

    I haven’t had kids yet and I’ve thought about what will happen when we do. For the life of me, I can’t imagine my life without Del. Even if it meant that things were a little harder for us. I think dogs can really enrich your upbringing- they teach you about responsibility and unconditional love- very important for ANYONE to learn.

    But… Different strokes for different folks eh?

    Thanks for such an emotive post!
    Rachael recently posted..A Nuts-Off Update

    • Thanks, Rachael!

      Excellent point – there’s a difference between time and love. Unfortunately, AB admits that she doesn’t love her dog anymore. Once I read that part… ugh.

  10. I’m glad you posted this, because I didn’t want to actually go to the post and give it any more attention, but at least I’ve got the gist of it here.

    So much to say… where to begin…

    I am childless-by-choice as well, so don’t know what it’s like to have both kids and dogs. I’d think if I had both, I’d prefer the dogs. But that’s just me… (I know my husband would…)

    We had some friends who had a dog, then had a kid, then claimed the dog didn’t like the kid and so got rid of the dog. (We are no longer friends with those people – for this and other reasons as well.) On the other hand, we had friends who had a dog, then got pregnant. She said that “many” people told her she would no longer feel the same about the dog (who they loved dearly!) once the baby came. [As an aside, this seems to go to the heart of the article – there are apparently a lot of folks out there who, like Taryn says, are not dog/cat-people, they are simply dog/cat owners.] Anyway, my friend (who is awesome) would tell them they were being ridiculous, because there is no limit on how much love your heart can hold. Her kids have always had a dog in the house, and the dogs are members of the family.

    My parents got a puppy when I was about 18 mo old. (I’m pretty sure after 6 kids, my mom needed the unconditional love!) My nieces and nephews also grew up with dogs when they were little – dogs that were there first. They all love dogs now, but only 1 of the 4 of them has a dog – because he is the only one who is financially in a position to have a dog at the moment. So, apparently they all learned about RESPONSIBLE dog ownership. What a concept!

    I feel bad for that woman’s poor dog. I hope he is getting more love than she lets on for her stupid attention-seeking piece. Sadly, I think there are probably lots more dogs out there like that. Hopefully, if anything, this piece will make folks – who are not dog/cat-people – think twice about whether or not they really want to make a commitment to a pet.
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted..Monday Mischief: My Puzzled Puppy

    • There were some other choice quotes, Jackie, but they would have just made your blood boil too!

      Thank goodness for your second (awesome) friend, to balance out that first couple you mentioned.

      Your family sounds like mine – our animals are very important, but we all learned to be responsible as well.

      I hope you’re right too, and that a lot of this piece is just exaggeration.

  11. Great post, and I agree that there is no comparison. I grew up with pets, had pets before having my daughter, and made sure she was raised around animals. Pets were always a part of my life, and there was no way I was going to raise a child without letting her experience the unconditional love of an animal. In fact my worst fear when pregnant was that my child might be allergic to animals!! Thankfully she was not, and she grew to love animals as much as I do. I love her unconditionally, she is a miracle in my life. And I love, and have loved, all the wonderful animals in my life. I also think that animals TEACH children how to be kind, TEACH them responsibility, TEACH them about life and death. Pets give us so much joy, that I can’t imagine NOT wanting to share that with your children.
    Sass muffins recently posted..Ace Is The Place

  12. Oh, good Lord, my parents raised me…on a farm! Not only did I grow up with dogs (while I was three until kindergarten, the dog was usually the only one who knew where I was), but sheep, horses, chickens and the occasional cow. We learned a lot about responsibility and love from those animals. Of course, it’s not popular for parents to make children do work anymore (spoken by someone who teaches PreK and advises a lot of parents about giving their children chores and responsibilities at home), but the truth is, it’s still good for them. I was ambivalent about having children when we first got married, and it just never worked out for us, but if there had been some, they’d have just grown up knowing how to be around a dog.
    houndstooth recently posted..The Clever Clepto

  13. Gah!

    Well, full disclosure, the Husband and I are dog-people (love Taryn’s definition above!), happily enjoying our DINK status and thus child-free.

    But we’re also at the age that babies are popping up left, right, and centre with many of our friends. I’ve witnessed instances of dogs being… let’s say “demoted” in family status, but also instances of no major change as far as dog needs are met.

    Definitely the difference between pet-owners and pet-people. My family always had pets when my brother and I were growing up.

    I’m going to say I think it’s an issue of just how bad you want to make it work (extreme/unusual circumstances notwithstanding) and wait for the backlash.

    Not much sadder than adult dogs being surrendered to shelters because it just “doesn’t work” with kids, though.
    Jen K recently posted..Wordless Wednesday, 18th ed.

  14. My situation, so people know where I am coming from- I have been a mom for 3 months now. My child, though, is 9 years old.
    C and I have had dogs pretty much our entire relationship. We are both dog people and grew up around animals.
    When you are going through the adoption process, you are asked a lot of questions about what issues you think you can and cannot handle in your future child. The one thing we said repeatedly we could not handle was a child with a history of abusing animals. We said over and over (because multiple people ask you, and they ask at multiple times in the process) that we had already made a lifetime commitment to our dogs and that we would under no circumstances place them in a dangerous situation.
    Our daughter loves them. In fact, I cannot imagine how much harder that first night here would have been for her if it had not been for the dogs. She bonded to them more quickly than she bonded to us.
    Are their lives exactly the same as before? No. They do not go to the dog park as often as they used to, though that’s as much a factor of me having a new job with a long commute as it is being new parents.
    And they now don’t always sleep in our room- but that’s because they are choosing to sleep with our daughter instead.
    So yeah, they get a little less of our time. They get a little less of our attention. And their daily routines have changed. But never would it occur to us that our lives would be better without them. Just the opposite, no matter how much we love our daughter, our lives (and her life) would be so much emptier without the dogs.
    But then again, when I check on my daughter at night and see both dogs curled up with her, I can’t help but think it’s the most beautiful sight in the world.
    shanendoah@life by pets recently posted..Black & White Sunday: My Sweet Boy (from 2 years ago)

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Erin. I love the way you look at it. I don’t think anyone would dispute that the more people (and dogs) you have in your life, the more squeezed your time becomes. There’s just no way everyone can receive the exact same amount of attention. But if the love is there, it will be okay. 🙂

  15. Great post AJ! I still have mixed feelings about this subject, obviously I don’t agree with how the original post was written so harshly, but I still think there is a message here that is overlooked. I think it’s a completely different situation when a baby is brought into a home where a dog already exists rather than a dog being brought into a home where a baby or child already exists. When I had my first child I wound up giving my dog to my parents. It wasn’t because I was a dog owner vs a dog person because I am totally a dog person, it was because I was overwhelmed being a first time mom and knew that my dog deserved more than I had to offer at that time. When I got my first dog I had no plans of becoming a mom in his lifetime but it happened. I don’t think my choices here made me a bad person but a responsible one. ( I have a post going up tomorrow about this, hope you will stop by and let me know what you think)
    Jen recently posted..A Stunning Watercolor Portrait of Sherman

    • Jen, I simply CANNOT WAIT to read your post. I know you’re a total dog person, I have nothing but respect for you, and I have no doubt that whatever decision you made regarding your dog was a responsible one and was the best for all involved – including the pup.

      I hope that I didn’t give off the impression that re-homing a pup is a bad decision! AB’s article really got to me because of her tone. I believe that responsible re-homing of a dog is a brave decision, so I would never put on my judgy pants about that. My brief foray into being a three-dog household taught me that sometimes things simply do not work out. It’s a hard thing to admit, and it’s not always easy to figure out what is best.

      • Actually, I think in the case of the woman that wrote the article, one of her true faults was that she did not re-home her dog. If she truly lost all feeling for the dog and its life became that of a second class family member, the poor dog deserved better. As soon as she had her baby, and felt having a dog was now just a nuisance, she should have found it a new home. Of course, doing that would have shown some respect for the dog as a sentient being, and obviously that is over the author’s head!
        Taryn recently posted..Wilson Within a Wall on Wordless Wednesday*

  16. I think you did an amazing job articulating the fury circling around in my head after reading that article. I have people in my life on opposite ends of the spectrum. I have a friend who had a dog first, followed by two kids. She introduces her dog as her eldest child, her first baby. She takes the dog to the bus stop every single morning. The dog is part of the fabric of their family. Another couple gave their dog away when they had their first baby with plans to take her back when things “settled down.” Which, clearly, never happened. In my mind, stories like theirs and AB’s illustrate one thing: These people are choosing convenience over a living, breathing little being they were supposed to protect. It’s easier on them not to have to “deal with” the dog. It’s selfish, and it’s insulting to the people who love both dogs and kids because she’s effectively saying that in order to be a good mom, you can’t possibly spend your time, effort, and love on a dog.
    Maggie recently posted..The transformative power of pit bull rescue

    • Thanks, Maggie!

      You hit the nail on the head. What bothered me about her post (among other things, of course) was that she almost felt that this “universal truth” gave her an excuse to say that she didn’t love her dog anymore.

  17. I love your post! I love this topic. I think it’s so relevant to so many of us. I knew at a very young age that I didn’t ever want to have kids. I’ve never wavered from that decision (that I feel like I made when I was about 6 years old!). It’s funny because most of my friends who also don’t have kids are dog people. I’ve often wondered if there was some correlation. I mean, maybe I just gravitate toward those people *without* kids and *with* dogs. Maybe not every childless person doesn’t have a dog. I know lots of cat people, too. And many cat people also don’t have kids. I don’t know where I’m going with this, but it’s just an observation I’ve made over the last 40 years or so.

    In my family we’ve ALWAYS had multiple dogs. I’m an only child — maybe I was an “oops” and so awful as a baby that they decided the whole kid thing was one colossal mistake. And just kept adding dogs to act as my siblings instead of actually procreating *more.*. Who knows. This I’m sure of: I’m a much happier person with my husband and my dogs. I’m happier without kids. And my parents are really happy that there’s just one of me. 😉
    Laurie Luck – Smart Dog University recently posted..We’re God Parents!

  18. The lady who wrote this seems like a very overwhelmed parent who perhaps should have had only one child. Or maybe none. As much as she writes about the dog being a burden on her, it sounds like the kids are too. I had one child and a puppy, and then baby #2 came along. Live was crazy. Dog “stuff” and kid “stuff” everywhere…you know what, it’s LIFE. We also took in a couple of dogs over the years until they found homes. So, my house was as crazy as she makes hers sound, plus I worked full time. It was all of my own doing, and I took care of it all. This article infuriated me. Poor Velvel. I notice she didn’t say if she got the medicine…
    Sherri recently posted..Quickie Update

  19. Great post! Mom always has been a pet person and she always wanted to have four kids. The kids never happened but the pets keep coming and she can’t imagine life without them and she can’t understand how a baby would stop the love the she has for us pets. Maybe some people really don’t love their pets as much as they claim to??? Pets and kids are lots of work but they also “work” together and create better pets and kids!
    emma recently posted..Energy Dog | GBGV | Wordless Wednesday

  20. I didn’t read the original article… and I don’t want to. I grew up in a household with a mother who threw better birthday parties for the dog than for me. Did she love me less than the dog? Of course not. I was raised to believe that the more one loves… the more one can love.
    I also want to say that when Andy was home for Christmas this year, that’s when we went to the shelter and adopted Rosie. Andy was thrilled that he was here to be part of the adoption process of his new sibling. (sorry, not a direct quote, but that’s the gist.) And, yes, he refers to our dogs as siblings. And no, he doesn’t have a dog of his own. Yet. He says he cannot yet provide them with the life they deserve.
    I just can’t comment in public about what I think of people who could say the things that author said, based on the quotations. Just makes me too mad and sad. I wouldn’t want to be her dog; I wouldn’t want to be her child.
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Summer Fun

    • Your family sounds like mine – it is a running joke (half-truth?) in my family that if we ever get reincarnated, we’d like to come back as a dog in our family.

      Your Andy sounds like a pretty fantastic guy. 🙂

  21. This is such a great post…Most of what I might have written has already been said by the “dog people”…And that distinction is so spot on…I was raised by people who owned dogs, but I am 100% “dog person” Maybe it’s a generational thing…Maybe society’s attitude toward our pets has changed a lot since I was a child (too many years ago to mention) will add that I will not read the original article as there’s no need for me to express my disgust and disdain to a stranger
    Gizmo (@GizmoGeodog) recently posted..Beach Party on Wordless Wednesday

    • You may be on to something there too – I’d imagine that there are likely generational issues at play. It’s very true that, in some ways, dogs and pets have taken on a different role in our society than they used to.

  22. I posted this story the other day on our FB page and also received a flurry of responses, mostly negative towards AB. I had to agree with most of them. I’ll be interested in reading Jen’s post. It must have been heartbreaking to give up her dog. They key difference here is that Jen did the responsible, adult thing and find a better situation for a beloved family member. Looks like AB doesn’t consider Velvel worthy of consideration as a family member and that’s what’s disturbing.

  23. I didn’t read the original article. I saw it, plenty and what people said about it plenty, so I didn’t feel compelled to.

    When I was in my early teens my parents got a dog. Actually, they succumbed to my begging to get a dog actually. Soon after my baby brother was born. Our dog got “neglected” but in reality they were never into the dog much in the first place. They certainly didn’t treat it like “kids” or “people”. However, the treatment/love of the dog and baby were independent of each other.

    I treat Chester and Gretel as my kids (but yes, I know they are dogs when it comes down to it). I am not super fond of the idea of kids of my own. I joke though that I couldn’t possibly have children because Chester and Gretel would NOT approve. My relationship with them would certainly change but I feel like it is akin to having a second kid – you love then both just as much, just different. Heck, I feel the same way about Chester and Gretel right now!

    I am glad that there is no limit to the love in our hearts. That is what makes love so amazing. I am sure actually reading the original article would piss me off. I am going over to read Jodi’s right now though!
    Jessica@YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner recently posted..WW #79 – Vote For Rover and More Dogs Like Him

  24. I really have to wonder why people 30 years ago could balance kids and pets. I remember having kids all throughout my infant and child years, my parents never giving one away because “they had no time”. Why is it so different now? Why do we have to be “super woman” in order to facilitate both? Facinating really…
    Kristy recently posted..How Dumb Do You Have To Be?

    • Interesting question! I wonder if it’s just something we didn’t hear about (as it was before the Internet), or if it’s really changed that much. I’d be really curious to find out.

  25. You GO GIRL!!!

    I saw that post when you shared it and was furious. I have seen many a friend who has handled having a dog and kids and done well with both. I have seen others choose to give the dog up because of the child. The ones that made me most mad though were the expectant mothers who would come into the shelter (I suspect they were in the “nesting” stage) and adopt a dog only to return it after the baby was born. Happens a lot I am afraid to say.

    AB pissed me off. I prefer to call her “Clueless”, but that doesn’t change that her stupid thoughts were out there for all to see. Selfish, indulgent and uncaring words.

    Sharing this post AJ.
    melf recently posted..Wordless Wednesday #151

    • Oh, thank you so much, Mel!

      Eek – adopting a dog while pregnant and then returning it after the baby is born? That’s really sad. It’s not like it was a surprise that the kid was coming. 🙁

      Clueless might be a better name for her – I wasn’t feeling creative enough to come up with anything better than AB, obviously. LOL.

  26. I started an external continuing education course this year that requires at least 10 hrs study time, on top on my full time job and a small business I am trying to establish….gee the pets are a pain, wish I didnt have them!

  27. I think I made my general distaste for AB and the sad sack kind of person she is on Jodi’s post. She’s the kind of person I want to wish unhappy things on – and I am NOT a vindictive person.

    It’s possible that I react so strongly because I’m child-free and I hope that’s not a permanent condition. If I should be sol lucky as to have tiny humans, I do hope that I can manage to do so with some modicum of responsibility, respect and class. All of my friends had dogs before they had kids and not a single one of them seems to be overwhelmed by it. Is it perfect every day? Hell no, but at the end of the night, when the kids are in bed, some of our favourite times are walking the dogs in the dusk and they all say their dog is the one constant of love and affection in an otherwise insane life. The idea that it can’t be done or that AB shouldn’t have to is simply offensive to me. I’m sad for Velvel, sad for the kids that will be raised in a home with the kind of person who can dismiss another living being in such a way and even sad for the woman who is clearly so ill suited for her life.
    Kolchak, Felix & Jodi recently posted..Dog Friendly Dish Washing

    • I’m with you, Jodi. If I ever did decide to have kids, I hope my life would be like the one you described. My dogs have been there for me through other tough times, and I hope that they would remain a source of comfort no matter what I’ve got going on.

      It’s sad that AB can’t see past her own whining to see what she might be missing out on.

  28. All my pet owning friends that had kids never even skipped a beat. While I realize that there can be rare extenuating circumstances like allergies or the pet really doesn’t get along with the kid, people that dump pets once the kid comes were probably never committed to the animal in the first place.
    Karen Friesecke recently posted..Dog A Day Project – Beach Stroll

  29. Pingback: Do You Have To Choose Between Having A Dog and Having Kids. A Mom's Confession. -

  30. This is an excellent response to an appalling piece of selfishness, written up as if it were funny.

    It is very, very far from being even slightly amusing when an animal is neglected in this way and deemed so much of a nuisance that the best they can do is think of drowning it. It’s particularly bad when it’s a dog, because to a dog, you are the basis of his whole life; you are his family and the focus of his love – if you will let him be. If you will not, there will be problems. If you then regard these problems as ‘his fault’ you are uneducated at best, stupid at worst. This woman sounds to be a bit of both. Her post made me so angry that I had to reply to her. Sadly, she’ll probably think this is good publicity. Pathetic.

    Thank you for bringing it to our attention. I have shared both posts on Facebook. It needs to be widely publicised so that right-thinking people like you can rebut it and make it known to all that she is very far from accurate in her thinking that not being able to cope with dogs and children is a ‘universal truth’.
    Jay from The Depp Effect recently posted..Macro Monday – Try this one!

  31. Omg, AJ. I have nothing intelligent to add to this conversation. But I am effing pissed. You know when you just can’t? Well, I can’t.

  32. I’m with Lauren…..I’ve been following all this since you and SlimDoggy posted it on Facebook, reading all the comments everywhere. When I read that article, I just was so mad I didn’t even know what to say. It made me angry as well as sad.
    My short answer to your title question is: if I had to choose between dogs and kids, I’d choose dogs. I never had children, other than a stepson who never lived with us full time, who we now hardly ever see since he’s grown. My dogs will always be right with me.
    Jan K recently posted..Survivor Spot

  33. I’ve read the article and this is my response to her:
    “Dear Allison. I too appreciate your intent to over-dramatize the issue for effect — controversy sells and all that jazz. That said, just wait until your children are a bit older – 11- 14 and up – and they barely look up from their devices when you enter a room, appreciate nothing you do, hate all the food you cook, won’t go on a walk or be seen with you at all in public and more. Maybe then you’ll realize your dog was worth the same kind of care and attention you’d like for yourself when your children are distracted with their own life challenges. I wouldn’t trade my dog’s unconditional love, loyalty and affection for anything. In fact, he inspired me to change careers, thus my venture PoopBuddy. Regardless of whether my new adventure succeeds or fails he enriches the lives of my whole family every day.”

    • My daughters are a little concerned I love my dog more than them sometimes… I counter with..well…. “the dog never storms from the room yelling “I HATE YOU!!!” and slams the door… ah the teen years…. Life is a balancing act… sometimes the kids get more attention, sometimes the husband, sometimes the cats, sometimes the dog and sometimes your job…. It is HARD! Nobody says it isn’t but there for SURE is plenty of love to go around! You would say while you are pregnant with your 2nd child that there wasn’t enough love for #2.. no, instead your heard just keeps growing bigger with every soul, furry or not so furry that you allow to share space with you.
      Chrissy recently posted..Lost & Found Cats & Dogs in Colorado

  34. Great post. I hopped over from Brown Newfies, which was also a great read. This woman’s argument is completely illogical. Do you stop loving your first child when you have the second or third? She has a very short supply of love if she can’t love a dog and children at the same time. One wonders if, after she had babies, her husband became too much “work” and she stopped loving him too. My parents had a dog before I was born, my sister had a dog when her children were born – an old english sheepdog mix who completely dwarfed the babies. They all survived. Sis adored that dog till the day she finally was forced to put him down due to old age. Her priorities shifted when her kids were born, yes, but she still had enough love and patience for all of them. Most people do. Frankly, AB should never be allowed to have a dog again… she doesn’t deserve to be so lucky.

  35. Pingback: Fetching! | The Daily Dog Tag

  36. I’ve never seen the original post, and the way reading it here along with the rebuttals of other bloggers, I don’t want to ever read it. I DO feel sorry for that blogger though. There’s something wrong with people that think they have limited love. I’ll accept limited time, but not limited love.

    Some of the first memories I have are of Cindy, my dad’s white GSD. Then came Rebel a black and tan. Daddy always spent time with them every day. He taught me how to care for other beings and the world around me by using them. He taught me how to love something that will never do much of anything for you except love you back unconditionally. I think that was the most important lesson of all–unconditional love.

    Except for short times between dogs, my life has never been without a dog. Dogs were part of my life when I had my boys, and my boys became part of those dogs’ lives. Even when my life became a world of non-stop football, basketball and baseball for 20 years, those dogs were part of it, and they often went to ballgames to bark the boys on as private cheerleaders.

    I was lucky. I got to be a SAHM, and I managed to have time for ALL of them and all their interests plus the PTO. I’ve been lucky enough to have a total of 9 (counting these 2) dogs in my life during my total of 51 years. They’ve lived long lives for large dogs, but never long enough for me. Now that the boys are grown, the dogs I have are laughingly called “her replacement children” by everyone that knows us.

    This sounds mean even to me, but I don’t think the child of that blogger is going to grow up lucky at all. That child isn’t going to ever feel unconditional love, nor is it going to be taught it. Someone that thinks they have limited love in a lifetime just can’t teach that. I hope she doesn’t have any other children because she might run out of love for this first one. That would be the saddest part of all of her story.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you that AB’s post is kind of sad, when I get past my anger about it. It’s a shame that she feels that she only has so much love to give, or that she is equating time with love.

  37. I read that article the other day and it pretty much made me want to puke. I mean, that’s got to be the worst thing I’ve read in a long time… I thought about sharing it, but then decided against it because it was only giving her what she wanted – more pageviews. I wrote about something similar on my blog not too long ago, but it’s a lot nicer than that…
    Ann Paws recently posted..Doxie Mail, Shopping for Your Pet, and a Photo Contest

  38. Pingback: A Forever Home - The Dogma That Isn't Always Good for Dogs | Something Wagging This Way Comes

  39. I’m so glad you wrote about this and encouraged other to do so (headed their ways next)! The Philly Inquirer actually syndicated that rubbish. My dad threw the paper down on the kitchen table, telling me to read it and said “This woman doesn’t want any little kids growing up with pets! What a waste!” As a new granddad to my nieces, and owner of many pets now, and since BEFORE HE HAD MY SISTER AND I – my dad wasn’t even thinking about the pets – he was feeling bad for all the kids who would miss out!
    Wendy Toth recently posted..Dogs Meet Baby: The Calm After the Calm

    • Ugh… so she’s getting even wider circulation? How unfortunate. I’m glad that there seem to be so many people out there who realize that her position is off.

  40. Hi Y’all!

    Great post.

    What you decide about babies and dogs depends on your mental state and the size, activity level and personality of the dog. If the baby is endangered by the size or temperament of the dog it may be a wise choice to rehome it. That is where all my sympathies end. If there is no trusted family member or close friend nearby to adopt the dog, then do try to find a breed or type (large dog, fuzzy dog, small dog) rescue to help.

    Do NOT put one of those “free to good home” ads in the paper or on the Internet. Chances are good you are sending your once beloved pet into a life of unknown horrors if you do.

    BrownDog’s Human
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted..Is It Mischief?

  41. Thank you for your brilliant post. I have read the article in question and just couldn’t get over my disbelief, my only hope is that this poor dog will be given up to be rehomed so that it can finally be with the loving family that this dog so deserves.

    I don’t have kids so can’t fully weigh into the debate, but how anyone can show such disregards for the needs of something dependant on them…! That’s a whole other rant I won’t start on your blog!
    Lauranne recently posted..Do I need him to say ‘I love you?’

  42. My issue I’m having is that while I grew up with pets and loved it, and I am waiting to have cats again, my hubby grew up with less experience of animals and his mother talks of them like they are merely disease carriers and distractions from “important” things….. like having a child. Also she apparently thinks I’m stupid for even wanting a cat during my low job times….as if I am just gonna randomly bring home pets when Im jobless! I am mature enough to have waited 7 years because I was moving too much to get a new cat….and I can still ‘want’ while holding on, Right?.

    Worst though is her cold attitude is rubbing off on my hubby, so he now thinks I just wanted t pets as a life and chore distraction. How sad to see a live enriching bein as merely so…..I feel he needs to experience letting go of this and his passed down fears of animals giving diseases.. If it’s a clean house pet with any needed shots given, it should be fine.

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