It has been two years since I left the working world. I have finally settled into a guilt free routine of managing my two kids without cramming in a million activities to make up for lost time. Of course, it would have probably taken a normal person two months rather than two years to acclimate to full time guiltless motherhood. So, now that I have mastered the stay at home parenting, I can’t just let things lie. I decided we desperately need a dog. Yes, the American dream of always striving for more.
In order to move forward with my dog idea, I needed to sell my family on how great it would be to have a dog. From our prior pet experience, I knew it was going to be difficult. I started to plead my case to my husband who only likes cats. After a lot of prodding and probably way too much desperate begging on my part, my husband could not be swayed. His closing arguments heavily emphasized dogs are messy, they lick your face, and they smell. Does he not realize we have two boys who could fit those anti-dog criteria? We may as well get the 8 year old a dog bowl as he can barely sit down at the table for meals, let alone master using a spoon for cereal.
My next challenge was the 5 year old. He must have had some scientology moment in the womb or immediately after birth as he won’t go near a dog. Of course, Grandma suffers from this same affliction so perhaps there is something in the gene pool that skipped me. I have been trying to coax him to pet dogs for the last couple of years, but it never goes the way I envision it. If we see a dog when we are taking a walk, the panic is immediate and he wants to cross the street. If I can get him to stay on the same side of the street, there is a lot of screaming and hiding. Last year on the way home from school, he actually jumped out of the moving wagon the kids were pulling as a dog ON A LEASH caught up to us. Yes, he was going to be a hard sell. He seemed to soften a bit after seeing some puppy pictures. If only I had stopped there. In my own excitement of prospective dog ownership, we stopped to play with the neighbor’s puppy. That sent him right back over the edge of hiding and screaming.
So now that I struck out twice, I figured the eight year old would be an easy sell. After seeing the same puppy pictures presented to the 5 year old, he was all over the idea of a family dog. He already started thinking of dog names which of course I acted as those would be real names we would consider. Now I am not a mean mother, I just could not wrap my arms around a dog named “Captain Underpants”. In my excitement, I actually believed we could become a dog family! Of course, I didn’t take into account that his vote won’t hold much weight at a family meeting. Let’s be honest, his lack of responsibility will outweigh any possible argument I can give about how much he will walk, feed, and take care of the dog. The child cannot remember his backpack, forgets to brush his teeth, and sometimes wears two pairs of underwear by mistake.
As I continued to build my case, I knew if I could just find a dog who was small, family friendly, and slightly resembled a cat, I may have a shot. I had no idea a puppy fitting this criteria would be so difficult. Anytime I thought I found my match, the puppy was already sold, hours away, or was on some over-breeded dog farm which is a polite term for puppy mill. While I do admit I have a slight tendency to over-think most things (how many years of crying before I left my job??), the pressure was really on find a dog that a 5 year old would not fear and a stubborn husband would love as much as a cat.
After several more months of over- analysis, puppy searches, and questioning friends, we finally found a puppy! I am pretty certain my closest friends were relieved I would have something new to obsess about. We are on a wait list for a hypo-allergenic doodle of some sort. Before you think I just jumped on the doodle trend, we actually knew someone that used the breeder, the dog was socialized in the home with young kids, and it was small, and well, cat-like. The puppy babies are coming soon, it is only a matter of time that I will have to start stressing about getting the house in order and how to raise a puppy!