Thursday, May 7, 2009

Should we get a dog?

This weekend, my college friend Jori, her husband and their adorable twin three-year-old boys came to visit. They brought their dog, too, and Max basically followed her around all weekend. He was fascinated by her. I don't know what kind she was, just of the large and slurpy variety.

Over the years, several people have remarked that a dog would be "good" for Max. As far as I know, a dog is good for any kid, basically, or any family. We've been considering it.

As some of you may have heard, I am a goldfish killer wanted in 14 states. OK, I am not wanted, but I was responsible for sending our two to that big fishbowl in the sky. Obviously, it would be harder to do a dog in. But we're not sure we're up for taking on the responsibility.

I know, I know. I can't decide whether or not to have a third kid. I can't decide whether or not to get a dog. I am obviously hopelessly indecisive about little life decisions like this.

My favorite breeds of dogs are the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, above.

The Beagle

The Shih Tzu

The Bichon Frisé

The Chubby-Cheeked Tot. Oh, wait, today we're considering a dog, not a third kid.

So, wise people, what say you? Should we get a dog? Any thoughts on what kind? Or why they'd be good for Max?


  1. I love dogs. Big time. Unfortunately, we just had to find a new home for our awesome dog, Lucy, because we found out Gavin was very allergic. My advice? Find out if there are allergies BEFORE you get a dog.
    My other thoughts? The little dogs like Shih Tzus and Bichon's require frequent grooming...not the kind you can do by yourself. Beagles you can throw in the bathtub...but they are rovers so expect that one to run out of the yard chasing vermin. ;-) I've heard nice things about Wheaten Terriers. I prefer mutts from the animal rescue myself. They always turn out to be the nicest, most grateful dogs.
    My advice? Go for the baby. You've got a better track record with babies then pets. :-)

  2. no way zoe is a soft coted whetten terrior. Like y said a dog is good for any kid. You might be able to get him a service dog or just a regual dog.

    btw how old is max and when is his next b day

  3. I don't think you should get A dog, I thank you should get a Companion... A Skilled Companion of course, from CCI... Max would more the qualify (As long as he's 7yo+)...

    The dogs are super trained, and super gentle, and FREE if you apply... ... Not every one can get a $45k trained dog... But Max can... :-)

    If you want more info, just send me an e-mail...

    CCI is the oldest service dog company in the USA, and unlike some others, there Companion dogs are ADA certified (the dog can go any ware Max can go)...

    Need proof?

  4. A trained companion dog is a great idea for when he gets older.

    We are also thinking about a dog. You would want one that was not grooming intensive and the last two are very much grooming intensive. As nice as a purebred seems we are planning on looking at our local animal shelter first. I am thinking that we would get a poodle mix so that we can avoid (possibly) the whole shedding thing and get a dog that will stay on the small side. Poodles are also a smart breed even if they are grooming intensive. If you shave them short now and then and avoid the fancy cuts then that will take out a lot of the work involved.

  5. I've heard that a dog is great for kids who may have a hard time making friends, or may get teased at school. Dogs love unconditionally and don't care about disabilities(a dog would never get mad at Max for drooling).

    We have an Irish Jack Russell (not to be confused with the Parson Jack Russell, a different dog entirely). He's a wonderful family dog. If you want to overdose on cuteness, go to

  6. We have the "Humane Society" breed. Different from our last breed the "dumped by jerks" breed. Both are and were wonderful loving dogs to our twin boys. Sunny came home when my sons were 5 and rode home between their car seats. He is now 100lbs and 13 years old in his golden years. He played with them, guarded them and begged for food from them. (We also have a dumped cat, now 5 that was sent from above for my son. "Mario" has the perfect personality that my son needed. Pets are Great for kids, but my advise, make sure you want a dog that will be a part of your family because they are a lot of work but well worth it.

  7. I think a dog is a wondeful idea, and he more than qualifies for a canine campanion. We are looking at getting a dog ourselves, but not til the next house we are in. I am more of a golden retriever gal myself. I love how gentle and nurturing they are, and it is pretty much the only breed Regan likes as well.

  8. You should get a dog if you think you're ready--the kids will love the dog and play with it for hours. If your babies are allergic, like Kate said, you want to watch out for that. You might want to try a little weekend dog sitting for friends to check that out, and also get a sense if you can deal with the routine. Also, terriers can sometimes be nippy, especially with little children--I have no idea why that is. Beagles will howl, but if you're in the country with people who have other dogs of the hunting variety, who cares? Collies will herd, and they sometimes can make kids nervous. You also want a fenced yard so your dog won't run off, and you've got to get into the Poop Patrol habit, too! If your yard is big enough you won't have to walk your dog religiously, because the children will run around in circles with the dog and exercise it that way.

    Dogs teach a lot of lessons--goodness, kindness, acceptance. One of our dogs (we had three) died a year or so ago, and that was a bit tough but we all learned the lesson about death and sadness and remembering and moving on.

    I do think you should get a dog, and have another baby too, if that's what you want!

  9. Since Judy and I are having babies I think you should have a dog! I may be a little biased but I'm going to cast my vote for the bichon although if you want something more low key the shih tzus are like little old ladies...

  10. I agree with Rich, get a therapy dog. A dog that can help Max through his life and become a friend, companion, and helper. I believe animals can be healers to children in some ways. Our cat Scooter is no indoor outdoor to avoid a litter box around Jude, BUT when Jude has seizures he will sit next to him until their are done. Jude will smile when Scooter rubs against him. I have heard the best dogs for children are golden ret, labs, etc but they are larger dogs. My aunt raises yorkie poo's, and knows an amazing amount about dogs. If you would like to talk to her I could give you her number. Good luck!!!

  11. Ps. DON'T GET JACK RUSSELL TERRORISTS!!! LOL. I am sure you see I blog about the criminals all the time ;)

  12. @Cjengo - Like I said, we have an Irish Jack, not a Parson. The Irish Jack is not recognized by the AKC and is a wonderful, family-friendly dog (though I don't think *any* dog deserves to be referred to as a terrorist).

  13. I love dogs, as you know! We're thinking about a puppy for the summer. I love a big, drooly, warm dog. I do not like little yappy things like you pictured. Except beagles. I like beagles.
    Anway, I think every kid should have a dog. But just make sure you're ready for the committment. Our dog was like our first child, and he went everywhere with us. I'm big on the shelter dogs, so we'll either go that route or get a mutt pup from a friend which would eventually be a shelter dog.
    Good luck. And the 3rd kid? I will if you will. HA!

  14. A BIG dog and what the heck, the third kid too.
    We have a small dog and a lab. The lab has such a good temperment and Jake just lays all over him and pulls his ears, rides him like a horse, sucks his paw (Yuck). I am sure you get the picture.
    Big dogs are sturdier for kids I think.
    We have had two labs and raised them from puppies and they are so great with kids.

  15. Barbara from BostonMay 7, 2009 at 2:59 PM

    Regarding goldfish killers - when my nephew was Sabrina's age my sister got goldfish - one for each of them. It was a hot day and he decided fishies were thirsty.He then administered Country Time lemonade. Hello fishy heaven...
    P.S. my security letters on your blog (to avoid phishing attacks) was 'turded'. Can I get that fixed?

  16. We have a little shih Tzus cross cocker spaniel. I love him dearly and he is hyper allergetic and doesn't shed..reason being shih tzus's don't shed they have hair not fur.. anyways he does need to be groomed ALLOT..and is a very very needy breed. I would say he is my first child hahaha. If I did not have Jericho (our dog :)) at this point in life and was thinking of getting a dog for Gabi to play with I would get a Golden Retriever. I've grown up with these types of dogs and my parents have one now, they are amazing animals. So caring, loyal and easily trained. I've NEVER seen an aggresive golden retriever and they are great with children. Downside of this breed is: they shed, there quite large and depending on your breeder they can have lots of medical problems (as with all pure breds-mutts tend to have less problems in the long run). So if you do go for a pure bred regardless of the breed make sure to do your research.
    I'd say go for it!! Get a dog, they are great for the soul..will always be there for you even on the worst of days..really a mans best friend haha :)

  17. We found out we were pregnant with Alice five weeks after we brought our six-week-old chocolate lab Kona home in 2005. You can imagine what it was like having a newborn and a one-year-old lab puppy. Honestly, I am amazed we still HAVE the puppy (now almost 4 and still very much in the puppy phase). All the stolen socks and mud prints aside, Alice and Isabelle both are absolutely in love and infatuated with Kona. I love the idea of the girls growing with Kona.
    I won't lie, there are many times when I wish Kona wouldn't barf on our bed or lick the kids' face, but all-in-all, I can't imagine our family without her.

    *Note: We picked a lab because they are great with kids and very family oriented. The flip side of that is that they crave interaction... someone who dog sat for us once called Kona his shadow because every time he turned around, there she was!

    Good luck!!! (I say go for the baby, too, you know how much fun those are!!)

  18. How about a Golden Retreiver. They are extremely loving and very smart. First off you need to get it trained so it isnt just jumping up on him. Maybe even a little older of one. Already potty trained is great. Good luck. I love our 2 dogs. We have a Austrailian Shepherd and a Basset/Blue Heeler mix. They seem to know when my kids are sad and they just sit there waiting to be pet if they need someone. The Basset mix will just lay on her side right up next to you and lick your hand everyonce in a while or get under she is telling you to pet her. Good Luck!

  19. Hmmmm. . . Charlie has just started to notice dogs and I love watching him try to pet them.

    Dogs may be tough, though, because I get the impression you guys are all out for most of the day. Or are the kids at home with the babysitter?

    If I could do it with hindsight, I'd get a dog that doesnt' shed as much as mine does--maybe a poodle--just for the sake of my vacuum cleaner.

  20. We have a bichon, and they are great dogs. We've had bichon's growing up as a kid. They don't shed, so they'r hypoallergenic, they're super good with kids and they're pretty. Just make sure to see the parents, and get a smaller one. You don't want the parents to be over 12 pounds. The ideal bichon weighs less than 10.

    The no shedding is great for no extra vaccuuming, but can get expensive with grooming. My wisdom there is to find an inexpensive GOOD groomer and take them regularly. It's worth it to me to not be vaccuuming up hair every day.

  21. I've gotten such great perspective from all these comments and suggestions. You know, Max is turning 7 in December (what you were asking, AZ!) and I think we might seriously consider a companion dog for then. He is going to need help in his lifetime picking things up.

    I am going to call them up soon and find out when we can start the application process. Rich, thanks for the heads up.

    I wonder if you can train companion dogs to make family dinners? And vacuum? Hee, hee.

    Oh, and for those of you who want me to have a third child: Will you babysit? :)

    Barbara, I wish I could help you with the security letters on my blog, but I don't even know what getting 'turded' means. I am assuming it's not as awful as it sounds?!

  22. Elizabeth is very animal crazy and her father and I are not. When I see her around other animals I feel like such a meany for not getting her a pet.
    We had a beagle when I was growing up, he was great but he would literally eat himself to his death.
    I think the best thing about having a dog is that I would not have to vaccuum after meals. A dog would love Elizabeth and all the crumbs she leaves. It would be a great companion for Max.

  23. It certainly seems like a lot of people are weighing in on this topic, so add one more to the list. We have a black lab that is THE BEST dog. I call her our therapy dog since Emma will do more for Finnegan than anyone else. And, Finnegan just takes all the grief the girls can give out and gives them kisses.

    I just finished the book Anything but a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV. I highly recommend it as reading - the basic premise is that they adopted the dog for the typically developing daughter but found out that it was really their special needs daughter, Elizabeth, that needed the dog and they never realized it!

    Good luck with your choice. It seems like you aren't rushing into the decision, which is great for everyone.

  24. Most Companion dogs are Lab / Golden crosses, and are at least 2 years old before being placed... They are made to be around kids, puppy raisers take A1 care of them, and they are extremely well trained.

    Ilia (Cole's Skilled Companion), knows about 60 commands.. And again, they are ADA certified.

    The waiting list can be a few months, and you must attend a 2-week class (paid for)... at a CCI Regional Training Center. / 1-800-572-BARK!

    Truly amazing animals... Give them a call, you have nothing to loose, and so much to gain!

  25. I'll echo another poster who said to make sure that getting a dog is a family decision. Dogs require a lot of care and a lot of attention. I'm a dog lover - everyone in my family has dogs - so much so that I remember people were usually outnumbered by animals at family gatherings. Having said that, raising the puppy and taking care of Bennett is just about doing me in.

    My advice - do a lot of soul searching and research breeds and breeders.

  26. When our animal-loving, Aspergers daughter was young, we got a dog for the family. But we really got it for her, since friends at school were virtually non-existent and we thought she needed a dog buddy.

    It was a failure. With a different dog it might have worked. But despite our research and best efforts at finding a dog that would "fit" our family, the dog never bonded with any of the kids. She was a very sweet dog, but she really only wanted to be buddies with us, the parents. And we were too busy with our special needs child, and other children, to give her what she craved. So she was an unhappy dog (resulting in some real problems), plus my daughter didn't have a dog buddy. We ended up having to find another home for her after a couple years, one where she could be the center of attention. This is after working with a doggie psychologist, et cetera, trying to make it work. We were all very upset about it, and it was crushing for my daughter.

    I'm writing this as a cautionary tale. It is really hard to know, until you have the dog, how the dog will interact with you and the family. It is hard to know what a puppy's personality will be when it grows up. I expect the Companion dog program would be one way to have more of a guarantee that the dog would provide the companionship you would like for your son.

    Best wishes,

  27. I love dogs, and I miss not having one. I'm 19 years old, just finished my freshman year of college. From the time I was two until June 11, 2008, my Dalmatian Minnie was one of my best friends. I grew up with her. She was my sister.

    Get a dog. Either a Companion dog or just a regular ol' dog. They bring more joy into a child's life than you can imagine (and I'm saying this as someone who was a kid just a few years ago, still am a kid in many ways). Every problem that comes their way will be a bit easier because they'll have a lovable, hugable friend.

    But, and you need to think about this: dogs do not live as long as people. Like I said, Minnie was my sister, we were raised side by side. The week she died (she passed 5 days after I graduated from high school) was the one of the hardest things I ever had to experience. Your kids, Max and Sabrina, will grow to love this dog. And it will become a constant for them. You have to be prepared to know that one day, your dog won't be there.

    This isn't to discourage you, really, because I would have Minnie all over again even if I knew it would cause the same heartbreak. It's just to let you know, somewhere down the road, it is going to be difficult.

  28. I am so grateful for all these thoughtful responses! I will be keeping them in mind when we make a decision. I'm leaning toward a companion dog.


Thanks for sharing!

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