5 Things They Don’t Tell You When You Get A Family Dog

by Christine Burke
Originally Published: 
family dog

Presented by Mohawk SmartStrand Forever Clean carpet with All Pet Protection and Warranty

Kids are messy. And so are pets, which is why as a self proclaimed neat freak, I spent the better part of 13 years avoiding welcoming an animal into our home. But as I watched my kids become more responsible (read: at least attempt to clean the spilled soda off the carpet), I relented. A few months ago, a little Shih Tzu named Daisy entered our lives, and nothing has been the same since. It’s been everything and nothing I expected.

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1. My dog loves me the most.

For all of the work, all the constant care, at least the dog knows where her water bowl gets filled. I’m secretly gratified when Daisy edges out my husband on the couch in an effort to cuddle next to me. And on those nights when we arrive home after a long absence and she tears out of her crate to get hugs and kisses from me and only me? Well, let’s just say she gets extra treats and the kids complain that I love the dog more than them.

2. Dogs don’t judge.

Kids will totally throw you under the bus by announcing just how long it’s been since you’ve showered and telling the grocery cashier that you have your period. Dogs? Never. Did you forget to fill her water bowl? She’ll wag her tail and apologize to you for needing water. Are you too tired to play with her outside? No problem! Let’s just play here in the family room, Mom! And dogs never, ever make helpful comments like, “Mommy, your belly looks like a smile with a beard!” when they see your C-section scar. Dogs really are a mom’s best friend.

3. You get to play ‘Guess That Stain’ every day.

As I said, I’m a neat freak so this part has been hard for me. Dogs get into everything, so now outside grime is all over my inside grime, specifically on my carpets. An amateur can sniff out a urine accident, but it takes real skill to identify squirrel guts on your favorite throw pillow. And when she’s wagging her tail next to me as I scrub the floor, it’s hard to be mad at her cute face. I did not see that coming.

4. Watching your kids love an animal is the best.

As my kids get older, I occasionally catch myself wistfully looking at them and thinking how good they’d be with a new baby. Welcoming a dog into our home has allowed them to learn to care for someone who needs them, and it melts my heart when I see them caring for her with such love.

5. Caring for a pet is harder than caring for kids.

Don’t get me wrong—taking care of kids is damned hard, and exhausting. But just when you think a parenting stage may kill you, your kid meets a milestone and it gets a tiny bit easier. You blink your eyes, and suddenly, they are independent humans who are full of promise and ready to take on the world.

Dogs are, and always will be, dependent on us. They won’t learn to put their leashes on and they’ll never pour their own kibble. What’s worse is that you know you’ll most likely outlive them and that fact makes loving them hard. I have never known such deep intense love for a creature that needs me to clean up her poop every day for infinity and puts my carpets to the ultimate test. It’s a love much like the love of a mother and child—all-encompassing, overpowering, and confusing. And it’s wonderful.

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