Can I have a puppy?


Youre walking hand-in-hand with your children, running errands on a sunny day when you notice a pet adoption event. You try to steer clear, but your youngest has the superhuman ability to spot furry creatures from a mile away. 

Immediately, she looks up at you, wide-eyed and hopeful. She lovingly asks the dreaded question: Can I have a puppy? You pretend not to hear, but she doesnt buy it. She asks again, Can I pleeeeaaaassseee have a puppy? Your oldest chimes in with the chorus, Pretty pleeeeaaasssseeee!

How can you resist? How can you deny your children the opportunity to share their lives with a furry brother or sister?  A pup will teach them responsibility and unconditional love. They will laugh together, play together and grow up together. It will be beautiful. 

Yes, growing up with pets can have a very positive influence on a child, but puppies are hard work. Your 5-year-old does not understand what work is; your 10-year-old doesnt care what work means; and your 15-year-old is hopefully going to college soon and doesnt need yet another thing to pack.

You get your kid a puppy, and youve gotten yourself a puppy. You can try as hard as possible to make your kids responsible, post calendars on your fridge and even ask them countless times, Did you walk the dog? But ultimately, youre going to be responsible for that pet not your kids.

Sure, your children will help out a bit at feeding time and after school. And there will be tender moments of wonder that will warm your heart. 

However, you will pick up the accidents while your dog is being housebroken. You will remember to fill her water bowl when everyone else has forgotten. You will parade her all over the neighborhood, begging her to do her business when youre running late. And you will rush home to take her to the vet to have a sock surgically removed from her belly. 

If your household is chaotic, getting a pet may add more stress to the already manic situation. A pet represents time, money and commitment you may not be able to provide. Instead of overextending yourself, teach your children a lesson in nurturing and responsibility by recognizing your limitations and explaining animals require and deserve proper care and attention. 

If youre excited about getting a pet but concerned about starting from scratch with a puppy, consider a more manageable, yet playful and emotionally fulfilling pet such as an adult dog or cat. A potty- or litter-box-trained, well-behaved adult pet will be fun for the whole family but independent enough to be a positive addition to the home rather than a strain. 

Find your perfect pet by visiting various adoption events and taking the time to find the right pet for your household. Even a kitten can be easier to handle than a puppy but will still take more commitment and training than a well-adjusted adult pet. 

That being said: If youre up to the challenge of raising a young pup while still maintaining a household and family, then have at it. After all, what is cuter than a puppy?