About a year ago, I wrote about how I was adamantly against getting a dog. As much as I thought dogs were awesome, the idea of taking on the level of responsibility for 10 or so years seemed like an alien concept that I wanted none of.
Of course, my four (now five) year old daughter did not know, nor did she care.
She wanted a dog.
For two years, she kept at us, subtly doing all that she could to prove that she would be a great pet owner. She walked and fed her stuffed golden retriever daily. She was so committed to her pet that she managed to convince my wife to throw a birthday party for her “dog”.
But her stuffed animal wasn’t enough. She wanted the real thing.
We now went out of our way to see Goldens. We drove for miles on a fall afternoon to go to a benefit picnic for Golden Rescues. My daughter spent close to an hour petting and hugging dogs before we had to leave. We went to a Santa Claus parade to see a group of Therapy Dogs. Her eyes lit up more for those friendly canines than the man in the red suit a few minutes later.
And suddenly my wife and I came to the realization that in 1 year, and not 10, we were going to get a dog. Through a friend, we connected with a breeder and were added to a waiting list. It all became very real.
As the situation became more real and more imminent, we started to see all the possibilities. Beyond making my five-year-old incredibly happy, we could see the other benefits of adding a new member to the family. Our 10-year-old, who loves to read, would have some nice quiet company to sleep by her feet. Our 7-year-old, who battles with the occasional bouts of anxiety, would have someone positive and non-judgmental to focus on. My wife and I, who tend to spend a lot of time watching Netflix, would have a great excuse to get out and get some exercise on a regular basis.
And amidst all the positives, is the work of taking on what will essentially be a newborn into the family. Removing choking hazards, moving items to higher shelves, putting up fences and stair guards, potty training, sleep training, baths, socialization and so on and so on.
And what, in the name of dog, is an anal gland?
Maybe it’s not too late to talk my wife into having another kid instead.
Let’s see what next year’s post looks like.
Author: Mark Medland
Mark Medland is a 40 something father of five who lives in Mississauga, Ontario. When he is not working at one of the big Canadian banks or raising his kids, he likes to cheer for the Habs and eat amazing food with his wife Vanessa.