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Let’s Chat: How’s Your Pet Doing? (And Is It Time For Em Get A Dog?!)

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Hello pals, happy Blursday! Today, I’m taking over the blog to ask a pretty simple question: how are your pets doing? Well, two questions, I guess. How are your pets doing and can you help me convince Emily to get a dog? 

These are pretty broad topics though, so let me get a little more specific: if you’re home 24/7 now, has your relationship with your pet changed at all? If you’re an essential worker, do you feel yourself relying on your pet more? Have you discovered any weird quirks? Are there any products, toys, beds, or other general animal ephemera that you’d recommend to other pet parents? If you recently adopted or if you’re fostering a new furry (or scaly, or feathered, I guess) friend, how’s it going? 

Side note I think talking/asking questions about pets might be my new niche since I’ve already talked about litter boxes

Please feel free to include many anecdotes about how much joy your dog has brought you, your family, and your children over the past two months. Team EHD is very close to convincing Emily to add a pup to the family (yes, you will read her feelings on this below and yes, we are all this weirdly involved in each other’s lives) but we could use a little extra help in expediting the process. I will bring your comments to our next Zoom call and read them all out loud, one by one. “Look, the readers have spoken!” I’ll say. “Ok, I will get a dog,” Emily will respond. (Hopefully. But it is more nuanced and I am a little less cavalier, so please read on.)

And if you’re reading this faux dialogue and now thinking, “Hey, I don’t really want to answer any of these questions and you seem like a real big weirdo,” then I’d counter your thought process with, “Hey, I have been alone for 9 consecutive weeks — this is the only card I have to play — please comment on my posts and talk to me about your pets because I am genuinely interested and this is basically all of my social interaction now!!!” 

Anyway, I asked a few other members on team EHD the same questions. Here are some updates on our pets, complete with some VERY CUTE PHOTOS of cats, dogs, and bunnies. We’re starting off with me because this is MY POST and I would like to talk some more about the only living thing I have really seen for the past 1,536 hours. (I did the math and that is the real number.)

From Caitlin

Meet my STAGE FIVE CLINGER, Buffalo (maiden name: Aristocat, Muffin, a few others that I can’t remember) who is apparently thrilled that I am now working from home permanently.

I adopted this cat about 7 years ago by accident — not because I super love cats, or because it was love at first sight, or because I was in desperate need of a pet — but because I went to the shelter with a friend and saw that this lil lady was about to get put down. She had been adopted and returned 2 times and I was like, “uhhhh….you’re gonna euthanize her? Right now?? Why don’t I take her???” I had no idea what I was getting into.

Because turns out, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this cat. WHAT A WIN! Who gave her up? TWICE?! I guess she sheds a lot, but guys, she doesn’t tear things up, she’s quiet, she doesn’t pee in weird places (my childhood cats are old, senile, and very flexible with their definition of a bathroom) — her only flaw is that she is TOO. DARN. CUDDLY. And honestly, that is pretty great right now. She is also coziest with her arms extended straight out, which is simultaneously cute and hilarious. (I thought cats were supposed to like, loaf up on top of their legs? NOT THIS ONE.)

But a question for you: does anyone have any experience with pet beds like these? Lil Buff Buff here normally eschews any sort of formal bed in favor of my linen closet, or my laundry, or just…anywhere on my general human form (she’s laying across my leg as I write this), but I think that this shape can kinda mimic a lap, yeah? I want to try one out but would appreciate a recommendation!

From Ryann

My dog and I are thrilled to be spending so much time together which will come as a surprise to absolutely no one. I am so in love with him and I am happy to announce that he is even more obsessed with me now that we are spending 24 hours together. He follows me everywhere and it is my absolute dream.

He is not without faults though, which my less forgiving boyfriend will attest to. He is AN ABSOLUTE MESS and not the best walker and I’ll admit, very needy. In his defense, we rescued him when he was six so I can only imagine the abandonment issues he has after being fostered by who knows how many families for years. How no one wanted to adopt him I will never understand. But anyway, pre-quarantine Gus was way more of a problem child and I get why. Dogs (especially this one) need a lot of love and attention and leaving him to go to work every day never got easier. He would tilt his head and stare at me with those big bulbous eyes and I’d die a little inside. I could tell he wasn’t the happiest when we’d leave and why would he be? In his brain, he is a human (seriously- he is the most human dog I’ve ever met) and doesn’t understand why he can’t come with us everywhere. AHHH just thinking about it makes me so sad. But working from home is a blessing and I swear it has changed this dog’s behavior. Before, he would not be considered a ~ chill ~ guy. Like, not at all. He has a lot of energy and will absolutely jump on you if you come within two feet of him. But now that we are spending so much time together, he is way less anxious, way less needy, and DEFINITELY better on walks. He doesn’t pull me around like a Raggedy Anne doll and only barks at other dogs 50% of the time. He is improving.

So as the only dog owner on the EHD team, I will say this to Emily and her family: Dogs are a lot of work. They require a lot of love and attention and if they don’t get what they need they can be a problem. Gus’ bad behavior has made me cry and scream many times, but adopting him is the best thing I have ever done and he makes my life and heart so full. It’s impossible for me to not be sappy about it, so I AM SORRY, but it is true. So my vote is Yes, Emily. Get a dog. Your family will love him or her and you will be a great dog mom. I promise.

From Sara

At first, both my cats were psyched we were home. It was like a long weekend of cuddling and extra snacks. But by day number 5 they were suspicious. And by the start of the second week, they were positively revolting. Jumping when the saw us around corners, attacking each other without mercy, refusing to eat the expensive cat food we buy them, grumpy, agitated, and honestly acting as if we were torturing them. It was as if they were saying “listen, we like it when you visit each night, and the weekend stays are tolerable. But, now this is starting to get out of hand. With all due respect, GO THE F AWAY.” I do truly believe that before all this, our cats were under the impression that this was their house, and we just functioned as meal providers and space heaters. They, like me, just need their alone time. I GET IT.

Well, now that we’re on week ___ (honestly, what is time anymore), they’ve adjusted. They don’t seem to hate us as much, and in fact Lady, our eldest daughter, I mean cat, has decided that while we’re here 24/7 we might as well be useful, and demands attention every second that isn’t spent vomiting on our vintage rugs, looking disappointingly at her food bowl, or waiting for her sister to warm up the cat bed before forcing her out of it for an afternoon nap. Bean, our youngest, still very much needs her alone time, but has decided that it’s not so bad having me home because I leave the bedroom window open all day, and she likes to perch there while I work.

During all of this, we’re still feeding a group of about 6 stray cats, all of which we really love. There’s “Scabs,” “Thumbs,” “Sad Eyes,” “White Kitty,” “Brown Cat,” and two other orange cats that look almost exactly the same. They hang out in our yard, and love to taunt Bean from outside the windows. We’ve also just “adopted” a bunny! It technically belongs to the house across the street, but they let it run around free during the day. It comes into our front yard and sleeps under our bushes, and eats veggie scraps that I bring it. I’m terrified of rabbits, so this is a bit of exposure therapy. I’ve progressed to petting the bunny and feeding it (long) vegetables by hand. But I don’t think I’ll ever get to the “cuddling” stage. We’ve thought about keeping it when our neighbors offered, but it seems to be doing ok for now living its little free bunny life. It comes over almost every day around 1 pm, hangs out until it starts getting cool, the stray cats don’t seem to mind it, and then it goes back to whatever little bunny hole it has for itself across the street.

From Emily

We’ve been “petless” for almost 2 years, RIP Bearcat and Mimi. The kids have been begging for a dog for I don’t know how long. Last year I caught Charlie praying to God for a puppy for Christmas when I told him that Santa knows it’s not the right time for our family. I guess we were both worried to A. take on the work and B. what if it adds stress? What if we get the problem dog that is super hyper, barks at everyone, needs a ton of medical attention or ruins our house with hair, claw prints, slobber, etc? My biggest fear was what if I can’t fall in love with him/her because I’m too busy taking care of kids and work? I’m not sure it’s possible to NOT fall in love with a dog, but that is worst-case scenario – having another thing to take care of, another obligation, and not loving it.

In case you don’t know this about me I have historically loved dogs so much that I was a dog walker in New York for a year — one of those people who had 5 at a time. So it’s in me, I know it. And now that the world has slowed down and we are up in the mountains every single day, Brian and I are whispering, “I think we are ready for a dog,” or “we need a dog” or ” how great would it be to have a dog right now.” But I’m nervous that we are making a permanent decision in a temporary situation. I do NOT want to regret a living thing, nothing sounds more stressful. So we are trying to be really smart about this decision, not doing it because it would be fun right now. We have to know that long term we are willing to make the sacrifices needed to have a loving pet…I’m scared (but excited).

HELLO, IT IS CAITLIN AGAIN. It is hard to follow up a very earnest and thoughtful commentary from your boss with “let’s get her, guys!!! TELL HER TO GET A DOG!!!” So I now open up the floor to you — what do you think? Did you have any of these reservations before adding a pup to your family?

And as I wrote at great length up there, please let me know how your pet is doing. Drop their Instagram handle. Tell me their favorite toy or your favorite hack to keep your house fur-free (ours is this roller, which we all swear by). IT’S THURSDAY AND I WOULD LIKE TO CHAT WITH YOU. See ya in the comments. 🙂

Opening Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp| From: Target’s New See It In Your Space Feature ( + 50 New Favorites)

Fin Mark

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Emma

We got a 5mo puppy at the beginning of the pandemic. We had been thinking about it for..ever… but had initially decided this year wasn’t the right time. At some point at the beginning though, my partner turned to me and asked “will you stop wanting a dog for the next 5 years?” The answer to which was clearly no. So, knowing there’s never a perfect time, we went for it.

Spoiler: our puppy is messy & time consuming and still learning that he can’t chew the furniture. And we love him so much it’s embarassing. Dogs make our life feel bigger.

jessica

Introduce him to Nylabones NOW. Did this with our puppy and 2y later he still loves chewing on them. (We just upped the chewing “power level”.) He may steal a rogue sock here and there but he’s never chewed on furniture/rugs/etc. They last forever too!

Kathryn

Dear Emily, Only get a dog is you are having a case of baby fever that needs to be cured!

hahaha. I don’t think its baby fever. I think its because we are outside so much, in the forest in the back and can just picture a dog or two being with us. A big clumsy, cuddly, dog that barks when my kids wander too far away (our dog growing up did that – my mom said that Gypsy (our dog) was our forest babysitter). I want big cuddly licks and for them to fall asleep at our feet while watching a movie …

A

My husband grew up with Newfoundlands and the kids could pretend “drown” and the dogs would come rescue them in the water. Great for a nanny pup! (Nana in Peter Pan is a Newf!)

A

Do it Emily! Do it! We ha e two fur babies from pre kids life. We’ve two kids and they adore our dogs. I joke about whether we should go for baby number 3 or dog number 3. I think maybe two is our magic number for everything. I think pets bring a unique kind of empathy and friendship to children. It’s a wonderful gift to give them.

Emily K

Everything I’ve heard about getting a dog right now is that it’s a terrible time to help them socialize.

Andrea

Then you get two 😀

Heather

We have three dogs. Two are twelve and we’re our first babies. We rescued both as puppies during our first year of marriage. Then we had four kids. Then we picked up our third dog a couple of weeks. My plate was already full, but we found the sweetest little female beagle wandering a country highway after a family hike. No collar and covered in fleas and ticks. We stopped to check for a tag, and she followed us back to our van. We couldn’t leave her. So I scooped her up, and had slept soundly on my lap all the way back home. After a lengthy vet visit the next morning, we learned that she had several health issues but nothing that some medicine couldn’t cure. The vet pointed out two large home done tattoos on the inside of her ears. So, we assuming she was used for breeding and then dumped. She is the sweetest most lovable little thing, and we’re all in love. I’m so curious to know where she came from and what her story is, and I’m just so grateful she found us. All this to say that yes, I think Emily should get a… Read more »

Oh this is very inspiring. Brian and I debate ‘puppy versus dog’ all the time. I lean more dog just because of the work of a puppy.

Jane Templeton

A dog trainer recommend not to get a puppy because they are so much work

LJ

We have rescued a 4 year old, a 14 month old and a 5 month old dog at various points. They were definitely easiest to most difficult in that order (also these are the first and only dogs I ever had!). I knew we couldn’t do a NEW puppy with our schedules so getting a dog that could be crate trained for 4+ hours a day to start really made a nearly new puppy realistic (my understanding is the number of months they are plus one is how many hours you can leave puppies alone). He only had a handful of accidents when we first got him and we needed to focus more on the behavioral training and socializing than anything else. Each one has been SO worth the effort and headaches and I can’t imagine life without any of them.

Michelle

YES! I agree with the fence, and also with adopting. We adopted our dog when he was 2, and I thought, so we really want and older dog and not a puppy?

I laugh now because 2 was so so young, and he’s now 12 and is STILL so puppy-ish! Sweet and playful, but still snuggly (he just let out a huuuge snore next to me as I wrote that).

And there’s nothing like the feeling of saving a little life.

Lisa

Like Ryann, my dog and I are absolutely obsessed with each other. That’s only been intensified by the quarantine.
To be fair, I am a DOG PERSON and didn’t have one of my own until I got married. I thought we traveled too much, too much work, etc. BUT I will never not have a dog again. She gives me so much joy and happiness. Two kids later, I still love her more than ever.
I have had family dogs my whole life, and knew what I wanted when we got her (10 years ago)… we rescued a furry, 1.5 year old house-trained mix from the SPCA. She is the best dog, loves everyone. My biggest worry is that someday she will be gone and I will never love a dog as much as her.

Kerri

Lisa,

That was always my worry too. I lost my soulmate dog in February after a very fast 6-month decline. We are on a waiting list to bring home a puppy in September, that is the same breed.

I know now I can never replace him, but can’t wait to have some silly, puppy dog energy in my life again. I didn’t realize how much I had missed that with him aging. And I know it can’t replace him, but I’m excited to get to know a new quirky personality. 🙂

Jessica J

My dog, Basil (pronounced Bazil) is legit the best. We already had two older cats, and while one cat had to go on prozac when we got Baz, it has still been the BEST. He is only 1 year old, and still has a LOT of puppy energy, but when its work time and my husband and I are each in our own area (me upstairs, he in the basement) Basil is chill enough to just relax downstairs. I wont lie, its reallyyyy hard work though, and you have to be so good with training. We slacked off and he has a few naughty habits that I need to work on again (he loves to chew rocks (?!), eat my outdoor plants and herbs, and trying to eat our socks, but I have never felt more love than from this good boy. He is a mix between a Bernese mountain dog, poodle, and golden, but he does shed like CRAZY which drives me bananas but my husband bought a cordless dyson which is GODS GIFT to pet lovers. Especially since I have a long haired cat too, there are tumbleweeds all over this house. And yes I have to vacuum… Read more »

Logan

+1 on the Dyson. OMG we love that vacuum.

Kate

We just got a puppy (5 weeks ago!) that sounds just like yours. Golden Retriever Dad, bernedoodle -bernese and poodle- mom. They told me she would be non-shedding… gah! nothing could be further from the truth. we could not love her more, so it’s okay, but i was not expecting it! Do you have a photo? dying to see what they look like when they’re bigger! ours is 4.5 months.

Jessica J

haha YES to the shedding, Baz sheds like crazy but we love him anyway! I have more pictures than I could ever keep track of haha! Can we post photos on here? I’d love to see what your pup looks like too! I wonder if they look similar!

My dream in life is to be able to bring my dogs with me to work everyday, so in quarantine my dream has come true! I LOVE my dogs so, so very much. They are my life. I could go on and on. I have a 9 year old Boxer that we adopted when he was about a year and a half old. He had a lot of the behavioral abandonment issues that Ryann describes above and also didn’t like other dogs that much except my sister’s. Then we got him a puppy, which I think he had mixed feelings about because he didn’t get our full attention anymore, but having his brother Jax completely changed him. It’s like he knew he wasn’t alone anymore! The destructive tendencies stopped and they are the bestest of friends. Seeing them snuggle together makes me so happy. I guess dogs are a lot of work, but oh my goodness they are so worth it. Way less work than kids because you can put them in their crate when they’re naughty 🙂 I would have about 17 dogs if my partner would let me. Dogs are just so pure-hearted. They bring out the best… Read more »

Oh my goodness this is making me want to get a puppy. I’ve mentioned it to my boyfriend and he thinks it is crazy but I think it will make Gus so happy to have a friend around!! So thank you for making my case 🙂

Tara

Come to my house! I “only” have 10 dogs, though…….. LOL!

Lisa

We adopted a one year old dog during quarantine. We were able to meet him (outside and six feet from his foster mom), but it’s not the same as meeting a ton oF dogs and choosing between them. We’re also lucky that because he was 1, he was socialized and house trained, but I agree with others that I’d be a little concerned about being about to socialize a puppy. Otherwise, he’s been a major stress relief for me and forces me to take nice long walks to get out of the house.

Logan

I would get a dog that’s a year or two old. You can rescue and you know the temperament a lot better than than if its a puppy. Plus you’re mostly past the chewing stage and you know how big it will be. This is definitely a good time to do it though .

Rusty

This is a snapshot, balanced comment. Yes!

Jorie

Totally agree with Logan. For our first dog, my husband and I adopted an 8-week-old puppy and it was so incredible, but tough—we didn’t have kids so we were able to make it work going out multiple times per night, teaching her manners, dealing with endless chewing, etc. It was an adventure but also A LOT. She’s much more mellow now but she was very time-consuming that first year (we loved it though.)

Our second dog was more spur-of-the-moment. I was volunteering at the Humane Society and fell in love with the sweetest, dopiest rescue pup who was about a year old. I already knew his personality was incredible, having watched him get along with other humans and dogs. Brought him home and he has been SO EASY and just a truly endless source of delight. He got with the program so fast—potty-training, obedience, sleeping through the night immediately.

Will always recommend slightly older dogs for busy families!

Gwyn

This is a perfect time to get a dog, yes do it now. You’re home and able to give it the attention and training it deserves. Dogs help release stress with those daily walks. The kids deserve a dog, even better that they want one. Yes it’s a transition, but one with big pay backs for years to come.

Our family is adopting a new puppy in 4 weeks from now. We selected her from a litter of 6. She’s a mix breed and we named her when she was 6 days old. We hope she will be a great pal to our 8 year old pup.

It’s the perfect time for us and we hope Emily will see that it’s a perfect time for her family as well

Kiana

Just a reminder to everyone that the decision to get a pet, like the decision to become a parent, is personal, so maybe let’s not be too pushy. And let’s respect people’s decisions when they say they’re not ready or they considered it but decided against it.

Rusty

Yes. And just as being a parent of a child is for life, so is being a parent of a furkid … for life.

Logan

🙌🏻 YES TO DOGS. We have 2 big rescues (Polly, an almost 10 year old hound/Doberman and Mambo, an almost 13 year old shepherd/Doberman). They make everything better. There is something about having a being in your house that loves you no matter what you messed up that day, how stressed you are, etc. — just pure unconditional love. We adopted both of ours when they were about a year old and I highly recommend adopting an adult dog. You have a true sense of their personality, you avoid the headaches of chewing and potty-training (usually), and so many adults are needlessly over-looked. Regarding products, we love the Foggy Dog beds which we buy temperpedic pillows to fill, toys from GoDog and Fluff & Tuff, and Royal Canin dog food. I make dog treats from puréed pumpkin, rolled oats, and wheat flour. (And P.S. Our dogs love us quarantining from home. ❤️).

Logan

PPS. We buy dog collars from Etsy.

I agree with everything you are saying!! And thank you for all the recs! I am googling all of them now xx

Logan

Dude. I have all the recs. I have 2 giant dogs and no human kids.

Monogrammed Mutt and Duke & Fox for collars on Etsy. Bad Tags on Etsy for ID tags.

Victoria

Agreed on adopting an adult dog for all the reasons mentioned!

Sarah M.

I would say the right time to get a dog (if you don’t already have one) is to wait until each of your children can successfully play on their own for a few hours. You definitely don’t want to be in the stage of tending to the kids every second, as well as a needy new pet. Dogs are like babies…ask yourself if you’re ready for another 🙂 I also highly recommend an older dog, much more mellow. I adopted my cat when she was 8 years old and I’m so glad not to have gone through the kitty stages.

Michelle

I am five years younger than my brother and five months after I was born my mother gifted my father TWO boxer puppies. When I became old enough to imagine the consequences of this choice (One 5 yo, one baby + two Large puppies) I asked if she was out of her ever loving mind. Her response was “I was young (mid 20s) and I figured as long as I was cleaning up kid poo all day what difference did it make….”

I still shake my head about it, although I have a lifelong love of dogs and a boxer face can melt my heart as a result of her sacrifices. Love you mom.

Martha E Rife

What a day-brightener! Thank you! Note to Emily: Golden Retriever. Or two.

Lauren

Can I ask about the cat parents? To Emily with your former cats and to everyone who currently has some felines that allow you to live with them. How HOW HOW?!?! Do you stop the damage?? And I don’t mean malicious naughty or angry cat damage … I just mean normal hey they have claws and when they grip to jump on or off or run through the house their back claws leave some horrible marks that are depressing and make me feel like I’m missing some big secret about having nice things and not having nail marks on them. My floor, bedside tables, dining chair seats, and countless other vintage and antique wood furniture pieces are desperate to know how you do it!

Alison

Do you trim your cats nails at home? They make special clippers for this obviously. Our cat was NOT a fan of this process, but it was only the back set we had to clip and it did seem to make a difference. Just make sure you watch a few videos or have your vet teach you how to do this properly so you don’t cut them too short.

Honestly, with total transparency, we just have given up on trying to protect every piece of furniture. Our cats aren’t strangers to using out prized furniture to sharpen their claws, but there’s only so much yelling you can do before you hear it happening and just… pretend not to hear it because you don’t want to get up from the couch. Also, our older cat throws up fairly often. And for some reason she always chooses to throw up on our most expensive, lightest colored rug. It’s as if she knows. And yea, the rug has some vomit stains from a few stomach upheavals that happened while we were at work. But I think, like with any pet, or even with kids, you generally just have to resign yourself to the fact that no one will care about your pretty stuff as much as you do. You can totally trim your cats nails, I hear that helps a lot. We’re just honestly too lazy. Instead we keep a LOT of cat scratch pads around the house, to encourage them to use those instead of our furniture. It doesn’t always work, but it does help. We use this one, which is… Read more »

Jessie

Sarah, I grew up in a house with white carpet EVERYWHERE and a long haired cat that puked constantly – the only thing we ever found that successfully got stains out was Spot Shot. I still swear by it with my 2 cats and 1 dog now. It may just save your light colored rug. Also, the best thing I’ve found to reduce the appearance of cast scratches (our dining table and nightstands do bear a few scratch marks from our cats launching themselves, even though they’re declawed so they don’t actively scratch at furniture with their front claws) is Old English. It’s sort of like pledge with a bit of color in it, and it really helps hide scratches and restore finish. I’m not advocating for declawing cats, I know its not a very humane practice, but we got mine my senior year of high school and my mom insisted. The cats were young and barely seemed to notice. I think that if you have a truly destructive cat and its coming down to whether you get rid of the cat or not, declawing is at least worth considering. My mom now has an 8 year old cat that… Read more »

Rusty

Orange oil makes sooooo many scratches on soooo many wooden things just disappear! Amazing! I use it once a year to replenish and enliven all of our wooden furniture, from antiques to odd scratches on our solid wood floorboards.
This. Stuff. Works!

Susan

Sara – I think we are soul sisters when it comes to cats. I never say no to a feral or stray, although I always check them for chips and try to reunite them with previous owners. We took in a stray orange cat who gave birth two months later to 3 orange boys and Torbie female. We kept two and sent the other two to live together at a friend’s home. So three orange cats. Just when I was wishing that we had kept all of the kittens, along came two more orange strays who were just a year old. I bet you can guess where they live now….

Susan

Two things: First, you have to accept that we all/all species inflict some damage on our living environments. If you want a pristine house that won’t happen with cats. dogs, or kids. Second – have you trained your cat? Cats are super smart, eager to please, and quick to learn. Teach them their name and to come when you call. Use praise – “good girl” – and some patting because cats love praise. You can use cat treats to reinforce the behavior you want, but I’ve never found it to be necessary. As you do this pay attention to your cat and be sure to respond to her requests, too. Is she asking for food? Give it to her and praise her for asking. Once she gets the idea of communication, you can work on simple commands, such as “come,” “no,” “down,” “up,” etc. Use the same commands repeatedly. Praise the cat when she gets it right. There is no reason for a cat to be on a dining table or counter-top – so say “no” and re-direct the cat to a place that she can be, like her cat tower or scratching pad. Praise her for being there. Look… Read more »

Kristin Davis

Sorry, I’m in team, “don’t do it.” Yes, it’s tempting, especially now, and the kids are getting to an age where they can participate and appreciate it. And they are fun to walk and great companions. But realistically, it’s one more thing to take care of, and one more thing to tell your kids to do. I’ve been tempted, too, but I can’t imagine a scenario where it won’t add more stress.

You can take my advice or leave it. As a mother of son, 6, and daughter, 4 (who may have and her own broken bone experience already), with my husband conducting, ‘Daddy school’ because I work full time; I know how much of those things end up landing on my plate. I’m busier than before!

Christina

I agree. I have a now 8 year old dog who sadly has become just another thing to take care of in addition to my 2 children. He is wonderful with the kids but has to be crated when others come to the house as he doesn’t take kindly to outsiders. He has to be boarded when we go on vacation because of his size (70 lb plott hound) and it gets expensive and adds another layer to trip planning and timing. I love him but tell my husband I think remy will be the only dog I have in this lifetime

Rusty

That’s why it’s so vital that you are matched to a dog for you and your family.

Kiana

I’m with you. I love cats and I had one for ten years. She was a rescue and so gentle and calm BUT she scratched all furniture all the time, it grossed me out to clean her litter box and she left hair everywhere. Because I work from home, I was also the one who was with her the most and a lot of cleaning up after her fell to me (also my husband has no sense of smell and would have no idea when to clean the litter box if he wasn’t told). It was also really difficult to find someone to watch her whenver we went on vacation since we often couldn’t bring her with us. I also kinda resented the fact that she loved my husband more than me even though she was my cat (!). She just never wanted me to pet her and never wanted to sit on my lap. I have two kids now who beg me for a pet and I really want them to have one, but I just don’t want to do the work.

Martha

Me too!
We have three kids and got a dog three years ago when our oldest turned twelve. He is just so much work. We’ve gone through two training sessions but can’t afford the boot-camp option that was recommended. He’s incredibly sweet but very destructive–still tears up just about everything, from his own toys to his dog beds to rugs to…..our youngest’s snuggly (that was awful–my fault for not hiding it away when the dog was out) We got him from a rescue place as a puppy, and they have a policy that you can give pets back at any time. I’ve thought many times that we should, but I worry that he’s such a tough pooch to train (both trainers at the puppy schools placed him on the “more difficult” end of the spectrum) that no one would keep him.
If I had it to do over again, I’d insist on an adult dog whose temperament and trainability I could see. I love dogs and had a “dog baby” before I had kids. This just doesn’t feel at all like that.

Teresa

We have two gentle giants, a 10 year old Bernese Mtn Dog and a 9 year old Landseer Newfoundland. They have seen us through two girls from middle school, thru college, moving out on their own, and us relocating to So Cal (beach apartment, then mountain house) and, now, back to Nor Cal. They split time with us, making that 8 hour drive far too often. The pandemic encouraged us to stop the back and forth and we chose Nor Cal to call home. They were flexible through it all. Truly, their pack is the most important thing. The Bernese mtn dog is high maintenance, sensitive tummy, a little too stubborn for his own good, the list goes on. The Newfy though? Best. Dog. Ever. Loyal, chill, go with the flow. Amazing with kids and elders alike. Protective, but mellow. We found our breed. Twice a year professional grooming, dog food and treats on delivery… and life with them is easy peasy.

Erin

I have a Landseer Newf too! Best dog I ever had! I’ve never not had a dog my entire life so I’m worthless in this conversation because I think it’s ridiculous to not have a pet. But I will plug a newf! Big and hairy and drooly but the best with kiddos (mine are 2 and 6) and the most cuddly friend ever who just likes to lay around all day.

Victoria

Before we adopted a dog I was so hesitant because I was nervous there would be hair and slobber everywhere, and wary about the extra time we’d spend caring for it. I’ve learned that the home stuff is manageable – our pup lays on his own beds and not on any furniture (at 90 lbs he’s too big anyway!), we vacuum a little more often, and the occasional slobber isn’t a big deal. I guarantee you’ll fall in love immediately. It takes time for a new dog to settle in so it’s also a perfect transition time for them! I say do it. <3

Tara

EMILY, DON’T GET A PUPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you are anxious about getting a dog and you have tons of nice things in your house DO. NOT. GET. A. PUPPY. Go to a rescue organization and get a dog that is at least a year or two old. If you are a Lab lover, then get a 3yo dog bc those things will EAT your furniture, your trim, and all the things. Labs are the worst puppies. I have credibility here. I currently own/foster 10 dogs in a less than 2k sq ft house. I have fostered like 40 dogs and puppies in the past 5 years. Hands down the easiest way to get a dog is to get one that has lived in a foster’s home for a while. That way you know if they have been crate trained. You know if they like kids. You know if they chew on stuff. You know if they bark very much. You know if they get along with other dogs/cats. You get all the most worrisome things figured out FOR you. AND you’d be saving a life. I have purebred dogs and I have mutts. I have 8lb dogs and I have a… Read more »

A big yes to all of this. ^^^

Caroline

I was going to say “get a dog!” But I really think you should get 2 dogs, not little puppies, but young dogs that will have fun with each other AND bond with you. That’s what we plan to do next time (we currently have one dear, much-loved, spoiled 11-year-old dog who brings us so much joy and love despite naughtiness and fur everywhere). Your family will have so much fun!

Rusty

(I have to shout this):
YES!!! THIS IS THE COMMENT TO READ EMILY.
DON’T GET A PUPPY … ADOPT A DOG THAT’S ALREADY SHOWING WHO HE/SHE IS AND CAN BE MATCHED TO YOUR FAMILY!!!🐕🐕🐕

Annie

Ha, this is brilliant. We rescued ours from Romania (we live in London). He arrived fully house trained aged 7 months and with a bit of – as you suggest, Tara – info about his behaviour and temperament. He’s certainly added to the jobs-to-do list but is really worth it. We all love him; he’s sweet and so hilarious and surprisingly laid-back for a now adolescent. Also, he’s far more beautiful than any pure-breed I’ve ever seen. Our only regret is the usual one: whilst better late than never, that we didn’t do this when our boys were young. But then again it’s so gorgeous to see them, practically men, doting on the dog and loving him so dearly.
I do hope you consider a rescue. I’ve met a few in my area from as far away as America …

Kelly

Yes, love the idea of getting a foster pup! Foster moms and dads can provide so much more information about a dog’s training and temperament! That’s how we ended up with our love bug, Sadie, when she was about 1 and a half. I am SO GRATEFUL every day for all the training work her foster mom did. She knew her basic commands, was great on walks, and best of all – potty trained.

Becca

I have had dogs my entire life. I can’t imagine not growing up with a dog. We’ve been fostering a dog for almost 2 years, and last week we decided why the heck not, and made it official and adopted her! She’s the most precious Great Pyrenees/Akbash mix, 5 years old, and 70ish lbs. So why did it take 2 years to finally take the plunge? She HATES our other dog inside our house, like rip his face off hates. But, LOVES him outside. She play bites his legs, and we say “ooooh you got the chicken tendy!” So it has been A LOT of management. But during quarantine she’s in my office sleeping all day, peaceful as can be, before the pandemic she would come to work with me, and she’s my pal. We’re very attached to one another. So we decided if we can manage 24/7 being home with 2 fighting fur children then it was meant to be. Our other dog is a Great Pyrnees mix as well. And he’s the fluffiest little cutie patootie I’ve ever laid my eyes on. He sleeps tucked in my legs each night, and I wake up to him starfishing across… Read more »

Krista

YES, GET A DOG! It’s the best thing we ever did. My husband and were not dog people at all. We got a dog for our three kids and specifically for our son who we were hoping would get some good sensory/calming therapy from it. We have a poodle/Labrador/collie mix and she is perfect. 40 pounds, adorable shaggy hair, and she doesn’t shed.
It’s hard to quantify happiness but when we look back over the past four years we are without a doubt a happier family.
Yes, we got a puppy which was pretty hard for about 4 to 6 months, but now she’s a chill four-year-old who follows us everywhere and gives us unconditional love and sleeps on our bed. Having a dog makes us get out and take more walks and get outside more on the weekends.
We probably wouldn’t get a puppy again, but a younger dog would be awesome. My next dream dog would be a mini goldendoodle. All the friendliness of a golden and the non-shedding coat of a poodle.

Annie K.

Wow, this comment made me want to get a dog. And I already have a dog. I’m in camp “don’t do it!” but perhaps that’s near-sighted, given my kids are littler than Emily’s (one and three-and-a-half) so are “a lot.” But I also hear Emily and Brian say they kind of have a lot going on already, a lot of people to take care of and give love to, and maybe not enough time to take care of the special beings in their life already. My social work grad school professor drilled into my head – “Should” is the most dangerous word. I feel like, with two parents, two kids, being perfectly not perfect…a dog seems to complete the picture. Which makes me think, with much loving peer pressure and without a lot of caution, “should” could decide this for you. Especially given how serious you are about parenting, the “should” around having a dog is real. I know this is really a lovely thought exercise where you let us feel a part of your life, and also I can’t help but earnestly write that I hope you don’t let “should” drive this decision. Your kids will be happy without… Read more »

Annie K.

I’m replying to my own comment, because I almost shared but didn’t share, because I feel so sad to write it..but then just reread Emily’s comment…so here it goes. I wouldn’t say I quite “regret” our dog, but it’s a close call. I loved him so much before my daughter was born that I remember wondering if there was a chance I would love him more than our baby. Fast forward 3.5 years, and I barely like him anymore. He has become a chore amidst what feels like endless chores. And god forbid he wake a child up from a nap or in the morning by “clack clack clacking” around getting impatient for breakfast or barking at a real or perceived squirrel. I just am maxed out, and our dog barely makes the cut, and that’s after years of bonding before children. I added this because there’s much idea that “you won’t regret it,” but I think your concern that you could is well-founded. I imagine given the right temperament and the right amount of care-help (paid dog walkers, etc), getting a dog could be a great decision. And also, I hope you make the most self-serving decision possible, because… Read more »

Jenna

This is such an honest comment and I feel you! I agree – they are so much extra work and can be very annoying. They bark at things, they ruin the grass, and the dog hair, dear god the dog hair! As I was writing this and feeling guilty, they just started barking at a leaf blowing down the street. I have three dogs (its too many) that we got before kids, and while I do love them and take great care of them, would I do it again? I’m not sure? I can’t imagine life without them but also what would life be like without them!? I think having young kids does make it way harder. All this to say….I don’t really have advice but think really hard about what you want to be doing with your time. I don’t regret my dogs but I also don’t not regret them! The first thing my husband and I say on vacation is that it is nice not to have the dogs. I know some people really love their dogs. I like mine enough but they also are so much extra work and extra bodies in my house. I wonder if… Read more »

Irene

Here’s my cats’ favorite toy: https://www.catdancer.com/store/. So inexpensive, and even though the business end is made of cardboard, each one I’ve bought has lasted over six months. This little gadget has helped keep shedding to a minimum: http://www.furminator.com/products/deshed/cat/undercoat-deshedding-tool-small-cat-short-hair.aspx (although your cat probably needs the model for long hair). I adopted my two cats (supposedly littermates, but they don’t behave alike and don’t play together much at all – to my disappointment) from Craigslist in July of 2018. Quarantine hasn’t changed anything about the way we interact, since I’ve been retired for quite a while and always liked to stay close to home. To help you convince Emily to get a dog, I will say they’re a lot more “useful” and companionable than cats as a general rule. We had a labrador when I was married, and walking her twice a day got me off the couch and kept me in shape. I absolutely loved going swimming with her! Caitlin, I’m curious to know if your cat is a variety of Siamese. I think of both my girls as gray tabbies, but I was told by my vet and a few other people that the one with blue eyes is a… Read more »

Jill

Our pet quarantine story is a bit mixed – we had two cats, Ripp, who was almost 18, and Fiona, who is almost 12. We had to say goodbye to Ripp a couple of weeks ago, which was devastating, but I am so happy we had been able to spend all that time with him in his last days.

Fiona has adjusted well – she’s a really funny cat. Gets the zoomies after she eats, loves to chase her tail, and enjoys a good cuddle watching TV at night. I love being at home with her all day, and I think she likes it too!

I also absolutely love dogs as well – I’m just putting my plug in for you to get another cat or two 😉

Deb

I have had dogs all of my life. As an adult my husband got transferred several times and every time we looked for a house that was close enough to my job to run home on my lunch hour to let the dogs out. So I highly recommend that before getting a dog you know how you will handle potty breaks if no one will be home for 8 plus hours every day. A dog is for life and some people say…. Oh my dog can hold it until I get home but if you are very lucky your dog will live a long life and just like people they may need to go the the bathroom more frequently as they age.( this is just for general info as Em already knows this as a former dog walker) If you adopt a dog that has already been in a foster home that person can tell you so much about that dog and they will want the dog to succeed in it’s new home. When I adopted Frisky Britches ( a spaniel mix) he had already boomeranged once. His foster mom was concerned that he was a bit too much for… Read more »

deb

DOGS are unique. They aren’t furry humans…..nor “dumb” animals. They are a different and wonderful species, which somehow miraculously chose to hang out with us. Each dog is a distinct individual, even though she may be a member of a breed with certain characteristics in common. Dogs feel most comfortable in a structured home, with strong and fair leadership. Since we’re living in a human world, it makes sense for the humans to take a leadership position – as long as they can handle it. Can you handle it, Emily? Humans and dogs have similar societies, and tend to cooperate for the good of the family. Of course, a dog’s judgment might be off sometimes, since he may not be clear about who is welcome in his home. It’s our job to understand that. Dogs are not verbal – They don’t understand English, or any other human language. They speak their own. To communicate, we teach them some simple words and phrases – and then mess them up by adding adjectives. Dogs are emotional beings who can think. They respond to situations with their feelings first. A good experience leads to the expectation of more good experiences. A bad or… Read more »

Rusty

You … are a mystical dog whisperer who needs to write a book about these insights. It’ll be a best seller!
Valid, lucid, golden advice and insights.
Wow!!!

Nicole

Yay pets!! Team dog, here. My husband and I have 2 boxers (9 and 3 years) and they are every.thing. We love them. Quarantine has been SO good for all of us. Our older boxer, Abby, is our #1 best girl, best friend, first baby, blah blah blah. In the last month she’s had a couple of scary health issues that make us wonder if she won’t live forever after all? So my husband and I are beyond grateful for all this time at home to love on her and cuddle her. Our younger boxer, Dexter, has always been a little bit of a problem child; he’s the best cuddler and most empathetic human you’ve ever seen in a dog body, but he never really grew out of his puppiness. He felt like all of our furniture was his own, he barked a lot, pulled on walks because everything is just SO exciting, and can’t contain any of it when he meets other people. With quarantine, we’ve been able to devote the time needed to train him out of all of those problem behaviors! It’s the best. The only issue we still have (but not really currently) is his over-excitement… Read more »

Kim

My intuition says,nope, not now. Big responsibility and dog poop is a real task that can take time that frankly doesn’t seem like you have. Of course kids will ask for pets. I say wait.

Caitlin

Get a dog!!!! We adopted our dog three years ago as a puppy. Her litter was abandoned and they were fostered their first 8 weeks. She is a total mutt, part pitbull, bulldog and chihuahua (sounds very weird) and she is real cute. I thought I wanted an active dog to go on runs with me and be active with, however, getting a lazy dog has been the BEST decision. She only needs like a half hour of activity per day and is content sleeping the rest. She refuses to go on runs and her favorite activity is being a social butterfly with other dogs and people haha. She basically chills out like a cat most of the day but still has the crazy personality of a dog and her excitement over seeing us come home is literally the best feeling. However, her puppy months were terrible! We called her “demon dog” because she destroyed everything and we had a really hard time potty training her..I may get an adult dog next time.

omg this sounds like Gus. My entire family thinks he is the laziest dog in the world but I love it! He only needs a couple of short walks a day and then he is out like a light. It’s a dream.

YES to a dog!

Only get a puppy if you want to relive new-born stress days for a bit, with all the sleeplessness and mess that can come with that. A 1-2 yr old rescue is a good thing.

Back in 1991, my twins were 5 1/2 and we brought home a really chill, very smart puppy Jack Russel/Beagle mix we named Ranger.
He lived to be nearly 18(!) and he was my kids’ dog from Kindergarten summer until college! The memories they have of him/their lives with him are priceless.

PS- once work becomes crazy again, and kids go off to school, you can always do doggie day-care; our current babysmooshyface Hurricane Harvey Beagle rescue-Astro-goes a few times a week when we have normal lives.

We order auto delivery food from Chewy.com, make him dog treats with pumpkin/etc., and live by our trusty Dyson vacuum for fur busting. He has a collar that goes with every season, LOL, and he LOVES wearing sweaters in the fall and his down coat in the winter. He’s a nutcase but we absolutely love him.

Tara

I can’t believe I just read “really chill” and “Jack Russell” in the same sentence! LOL! Ranger sounds ADORABLE! I’ve had 5 or 6 JRTs and they can certainly be a handful, but every beagle I’ve ever had or fostered has been amazing! I’d love to meet a JRT/Beagle mix!
And I love that you got a Harvey rescue. My husband and I provided a way point to keep dogs going out of Harvey to drop off and be picked up for their trip north. (we live outside Fort Worth) 🙂

Kari

I am 100% Team Get a Dog. I have a one year old doodle (yay low shed!) and she is so much work, and has some bad habits/behaviors that we’re still working on training out of her, but I love her so much it’s silly. She brings so much life and joy to our household. A few pieces of advice – think about what you can outsource. During busy weeks when we’re pretty wrapped up in work, she goes to doggy daycare for the day and gets to play and run all her energy out, or we have a dog walker come pick her up for an hour. We also took puppy classes and did a couple private sessions with a trainer to help. (I know we’re very fortunate to be a position to do that.) Where we live, most doggy day cares have been open through the pandemic and training has moved online. If you go the dog instead of puppy route, try to avoid adopting a dog that hasn’t been fostered. A foster home can give you a sense if the dog is house trained, good with kids, etc, whereas you don’t know what issues you’re getting with… Read more »

Lisa

Oh man I want a dog sooooo baaaaaaad, but I’m just not allowed one in my current apartment – so maybe Emily should get one so I can live vicariously through you? 😉 Not having a dog however doesn’t put me off watching dog training content and other cute dog stuff – my favourite by far is Zak George, He’s a dog trainer who uses positive reinforcement only and currently has a YT series all about training his new puppy from (nearly) day one and his insta stories are just lovely snapshots of his dogs being dogs all day – recommended for dog parents and wish-they-were-dog-parents like me alike 🙂 https://www.instagram.com/zakgeorge/

Eva

Zak George’s videos are the BEST. He is so dweeby and some of his bits are so cringey but his YT series was a godsend when we got our puppy last December.

A

DOGS ARE THE BEST. A young dog/puppy is messier, mouthier, and all around more like a newborn human than most people think. BUT you have the advantage of training them early—our dog (a corgi named Franklin Delabone Woofsevelt) came into our lives at just 8 weeks old, and was a total menace as a toddler—poop everywhere, eating socks, toothy, etc. Which, ALL BABIES ARE. So you need to expect that if you get a dog under a year old. But because we were able to train him from a young age, he’s awesome at 2 years old. Doesn’t bite, only barks if someone comes to the door, never chews furniture, no separation anxiety, doesn’t beg. Dog training classes are crucial because what the trainer is really doing is training YOU the human to speak dog. Once you speak dog it’s all so much easier. The literal only flaws: baby dog barf and poop in your house (time to partner with Ruggable?), occasional expensive trips to the vet (5-lb puppy eating a scrunchie the size of his body), and the HAIR. If you can’t imagine a life with dog hair in and on every surface in your home… don’t get one.… Read more »

Julie

Caitlin, Heated-Pet-Beds! Other than wanting to sit in my lap a bit or give hugs and kisses, it was hard to get our cats out of their heated beds. If they like to sleep together, get a larger one that has room for two. When it was dreadfully hot, just unplug. Vow voltage & washable.

Haha yes! We have a heated pad that Lady LOVES to lounge on, and during the winter she likes to sit right in front of the space heater.

I have lots to say on this. But basically, only get a dog if you are ready for the worst case scenario… We got a puppy who is now very very sweet and on his way to being well trained… BUT it was a looong process getting there.

The upside, I love having a dog in the mountains because I always feel safer from all the bears and mountain lions! And the KIDS adore him! He’s 80lbs and they still call him their “baby.” Ha!

Emma

If you’ve been debating when to get a dog, now is certainly the time. I agree with what others have said, that maybe look to adopt a 1 or 2-year-old pup so that you’re not totally wrecked by puppy potty training, but what better time to slowly and carefully acclimate a dog to your family? They’ll be totally trusting and on board by the time you return to regularly scheduled life.
Also, there’s something to be said for getting a dog when your kids are young, so that they grow up having a sense of ownership over something alive. My parents got our family’s first dog as my 5th birthday present, and I was so involved in the training/feeding/walking/schedule that he essentially became my dog. He lived until I was 21 and was such a huge part of our family/our family’s formative years.
Team Dog!

Rusty

“a sense of ownership over something alive” is a scary phrase to use.
Yikes!? 😳

Liz

I volunteer at a non-profit dedicated to educating pet parents, using positive methods, to reduce the number of dogs given up to shelters. Since the start of the pandemic we now offer on-line training for puppies and dogs. See the attached link for classes, free adopter’s workshops and plenty of information. https://yourdogsfriend.org/

This is not a great time to get a puppy because of the small socialization period in their development. You may end up with a “reactive” dog, which is a behavior most often based in fear. Dogs are a lot of work. Puppies more so and there is a year of house-training, nipping and mouthing, etc. That said I love my reactive pup and wouldn’t be without her!

If you get a dog make sure you are ready to invest the time and energy (and money), after all they will be a part of your family for many years.

Karen

Dogs are the freaking best. But so. much. work. Especially in the first two years. Crate train if you do. After a bit of time, you’ll have an angel doggie like us.

L

My dog (https://www.instagram.com/mr.smokeyk/) has basically been the thing keeping me sane during all of this? He REALLY likes a schedule, and is a relatively early riser, so we’ve stuck to our normal wakeup/bedtime and routine. He requires me to leave the house and go for a walk three times a day (small city condo, no yard). He is, if nothing else, another living being in the house to talk to–shoutout to all of us who live alone! He can be extremely entertaining. He is also extremely frustrating and likes to bark his way through conference calls or at other inopportune times–it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. But I’m so grateful for this little guy. On the socialization piece: I’ve ultimately decided I don’t want him to lose his love of people or other dogs, so he is still allowed to say hi to whoever is interested (and of course if they’re not, for whatever reason, I respect that). Definitely met a lot of new puppies in the neighborhood! A standard leash is six feet long so it’s good for distancing. Plus the doggie daycare a couple blocks away is still open and I drop him off occasionally if I have… Read more »

Claire

Adopting a career change dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind might be a good fit for your family. GDB is very experienced in the matching process and they work extremely hard to ensure the best possible placement for each and every dog. The most minor health and behavior reasons can make a dog ineligible for guiding, but a perfect, healthy and well trained pet. They are not currently places dogs due to COVID-19, but they are still accepting applications. https://www.guidedogs.com/meet-gdb/dog-programs/dog-adoption

Margaret

Excellent idea. I puppy-raise for a guide-dog school in the mid-west, and kept one myself who didn’t make it, and several others (I specialize in taking older puppies-with-issues whose first raisers have thrown in the towel) have been adopted locally by friends. They got an instant dog, the dog got a good home, and I get to see them regularly. Another good route to an adult dog is a retired show dog. My most recent dog, acquired as a companion for my older dog who has separation anxiety, is just that. Finished her championship, bred, had puppies, and said, “Who are those slimy little rats, and why am I supposed to care?” After her show career she’s socialized to just about anything; bombproof. She’s also turned out to be brilliant Obedience dog. And I may get creamed for this, but please don’t fall into the “designer dog” trap. I have known some lovely individuals, but anyone breeding “doodles” is doing it to make money, and only to make money, and commercial breeding of dogs is something I think none of us want to support. Most of them do no health testing, either, and don’t let them lie to you–a lot… Read more »

EP

Couldn’t agree more, Margaret! Good advice. A lot of rescues actually prop up commercial breeding facilities, paying big bucks to “rescue” dogs at auction. Not all breeders are bad and not all rescues are good. It’s not so black and white. At the end of the day, if you love your dog and keep him for his entire life, that is a win.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/investigations/dog-auction-rescue-groups-donations/

Rusty

Absolutely! Agree!
We should do all the good things – save a life, love a dog and make a lifelong commitment to a living, sentient being.
All. The. Good. Stuff.

Kinda like finding a unique connection that is an all round addition to your family 24/7.

Deborah

Our approach has always been, “we like pictures and videos of cats and dogs that we don’t have to take care of” because we’re aware of all the work it takes, especially with two adults working full time. I grew up with dogs, but they were outdoor dogs that lived in a fenced-in backyard and were never allowed in the house, which is a completely different level of stuff you need to do to take care of them. All I had to do with them was feed them, pick up the poop off the grass, and then play with them whenever I felt like it on my time frame, not theirs. Our quarantine solution has been, as my husband calls it, our “emotional support Pokemon”. We have a small plush Cyndaquil that hangs out with us all the time — we bring him into the office with us while we’re working from home, and he watches TV with us after work, and then he sits on one of our shoulders when we read before bed. (My husband insists that “Cyndaquil loves his stories!” and will hassle me playfully about it if it’s getting late and I haven’t gone into reading… Read more »

morgan mccloskey

WHAT DID WE DO TO DESERVE DOGS?! Y’all, I’m not sure, but they are a LIGHT in dark times. I adopted the cutest, sweetest, cuddliest puppy about 11 months ago and it was absolutely the best thing we did last year. We live on a big ranch outside of Ojai & June Bug (our genius, spunky, cattle dog mix) loves to roam the property, has made friends with our neighbors, and is great with people & animals alike (the chickens haven’t quite taken to her though!) To think that she was days away from being put down really breaks my heart. Dogs are work, but its the fun and rewarding kind- you can watch them learn & change right before your eyes. I should also mention we have the BEST dog trainer, Krista Gosland, who is LA based & offering virtual training right now too!

Pip

Yes, get a dog. Both of my kids grew up with “their” dog. The older had a dedicated german shepherd mix who never left his side (yes, the shelter saw me coming and marched this half grown, ears flopping dog past me, headed to the euthanasia room). That dog tolerated teething on his ears, tail pulled, a little boy eating his dog food…and the conversations they had – lifted up ear with whispered baby talk. They were never apart. So much so that grandma complained that every family photo had the south end of the north facing dog (he never took his eyes off that kid). The second dog? A living nightmare of energy, constantly chasing deer, chewing his way out of any “prison”…but, the love of my son’s life. Boundless energy and a comedic sense, that dog kept us laughing and crying. Life would have been dull without him. Today’s dog is a “velcro” mini aussie, who sheds, sleeps on the forbidden couch and constantly tries to herd the uncooperative cats. She is the sweetest, gentlest and kindest dog ever. And, brilliant. Beyond brilliant. So, choose carefully. Know that, yes, there will be muddy paw prints pretty much everywhere,… Read more »

Michelle Tillett

Team Pet – when children are exposed to delicate, smaller creatures (than themselves) they learn to be gentle, express emotions safely and learn about giving and getting unconditional love. They, like all things that are worthwhile, are work and this teaches us about being selfless and the rewards that alone can bring. Best wishes!

Rusty

Y. E. S!!!
So well said.

Eva

As long as you feel like you have the time and resources to properly care for your dog, I would say definitely get one!! I was an extremely anxious/perfectionist child and honestly having a dog helped me so much. I can’t emphasize enough how important I think it is for kids to grow up with animals in their lives. It teaches them to look outside of their own needs and care for another creature, and really helps them develop empathy. It also encourages kids to spend more time playing and exploring the outdoors, rather than watching tv/staring at their devices all day, which they will 100% want to do as they get older.

My boyfriend and I recently rescued an older puppy (she was 4 months old when we got her) and it was definitely a lot of work upfront but her foster family had done SUCH an amazing job socializing her. If anyone wants to check out the cutest dog in the world’s instagram (I may be a bit biased), go to @zumitheaussie. She will not disappoint!

Abby

We got our lab as a puppy and would say there are huge advantages to going that route. I don’t think puppies are as much hard work as everyone says and they make up for it with how cute and fun they are. Plus you get to train them while they are still very impressionable so that you can teach them the behaviors that you want from the get-go (not chewing on things, not whining, not having separation anxiety) versus having to train behaviors out of them which is much harder. The biggest downside for Emily is the shedding – we have a chocolate lab and have to be careful to only select darker rugs, furniture, bedding so that it’s not covered in brown hair all the time. One tip if you do decide to get one – we asked for the “calmest/chillest” dog in the litter instead of picking the one that we thought was cute or that ran up to us. And it worked like a charm! Our boy is relaxed, easy-going, doesn’t bark or whine, and is perfect for our family!

Jen

I’m not a dog lover—more of a dog liker, and I’m so glad we now have a great dog who matches our family and makes our lives happier. We’ve had four dogs, and full disclosure, had to rehome three of them. Two were rescue dogs that had problems beyond our family’s abilities (fighting with other dogs and running away that made their presence in our home a danger to us and our neighbors) and the third fell in love with our neighbor and was much happier with her! So I would caution you on a rescue dog. I know they can be incredible companions—that was just our experience. We now have two-year-old Cleopatra, our beautiful flashy fawn boxer daughter, and she is the perfect fit for our family. Dogs have different temperaments and need compatible family environments to thrive. Now that we’ve found “our” dog, I can’t imagine ever living without her. My favorite thing about having a dog is how my kids always have someone to love on and play with. They do take some work, but my biggest, best advice is to pay for professional training from the beginning. The day after Cleo arrived, the trainer was there,… Read more »

Emily R

We have 2 dogs who are old ladies now, a foxhound whippet mix that’s 12, and a black lab retriever mix who is 10. I’m a SAHM so they don’t seem phased by the fact that my husband is now also home 24/7. But man, the kids (age 4 and 2) LOVE them, especially our lab Kiva. She is gentle, easy going, but still playful and cuddly. I love having dogs and imagine us always having at least one. But I will admit I wish they didn’t shed. Pur couch, our bed, and of course the rugs and floors always seem to have fur on them no matter how often we clean. And when they were younger, my lab would get into the trash constantly and jump and was full if energy. She also was adopted by me at the age of 2 and had obviously not been well trained by her previous owners. But fur everywhere aside, some training did both dogs a lot of good, and they are both the most wonderful of dogs and adored by our whole family. I say adopt, while it may come with some challenges to overcome its nothing compared to overcoming the… Read more »

xoryxor

No puppies. You already have two. 🙂 One or two years old at the youngest.

Obviously, please don’t impulse buy from a backyard breeder. If you want a purebred (I’m 100% #teampoodle because I refuse to walk out my front door to go to work covered in dog hair.), please research to find a reputable AKC breeder who actually shows dogs and works to improve the breed.

Or if you don’t mind a mixed-breed, my suggestion is to work with a rescue group to foster during the remainder of the CA lockdown. Do it with the understanding that you aren’t positive you are ready for the commitment but you are willing to try to find a good fit for your family. My sister did something similar a few years ago when she wanted a cat. She ended up fostering at least three until she found the perfect keeper.

Rusty

Grrrreat idea to do the fostering first!
Fabulous!

Lashley

DOG DOG DOG DOG DOG! We have an older Great Pyrenees and adopted a 6 month old Cane Corso mastiff (#TurkeyandherTongue) in January. We knew she was high needs but I have a flexible schedule, so we thought it would be fine. She was a MESS (v destructive when left alone and could escape her crate). We got a giant crate that is the same sq footage as our family bathroom aaaaand now we never leave the house. Problems solved. She gets lots of walks and has had so much time to bond with our kindergartner, who had previously been in full day school. Obviously this whole stay-home deal will be temporary, but you’ll build a great bond and can assess needs (hiring a dog walker or intensive training) going forward when the time comes. Get an adult dog with a temperament you’re into and get to cuddling!

KS

I have a 7 year old rescued Pyrenees mix that we found wandering the highway miles from the closest town when she was only 10 weeks old puppy. My wife had been asking for a dog daily for 2 years but since we already had onetwothreeFOUR CATS (all rescued strays) and crazy jobs I stayed very strong – no! dog! Well, seeing this puppy all alone on a desert highway, we pulled over and this little fluffy ball literally jumped into my wife’s outstretched arms. So, we got a dog. At the time we were grownups in our late 30s and we didn’t (still don’t) have any children. IT WAS STILL SO MUCH WORK. So much logistically to figure out. So many baby gates. So much time put into training her. And, all of our vacations have had to be dog friendly (road trips/camping) ever since we got her because we don’t want to stick her in a dog boarding facility for 2 weeks. I love her – but I could not imagine getting a dog if I already had a business to run, a partner to love, two houses to care for, and two little children that occupied all… Read more »

Emily

Commented on FB as well but I’m 100% team rescue dog and older dog. I adopted my then 5 year old mutt Marty a little over a year ago and it was the best thing I ever did! He makes every day better and was honestly a good pup from day 1, a miracle given he was found as a stray in Southern California. I believe California has more kill shelters than Oregon, so he ended up here for adoption. Anyway, support you no matter what but think you’re influence could do a lot to show how great shelter dogs are and what’s more rewarding than saving a life! ❤️

Donna

Lots of work! Lots of money! Lots of responsibility! More love and happiness than you can imagine! Priceless!

But having said that, for anyone considering adopting during the pandemic, please think if this priceless gift of love will fit into your life when you return to your regular schedule. We adopted our second dog when dealing with empty house syndrome after kids left for college. Shortly after adopting her as a pup, I had to deal with my hospitalization, which interfered with early training, and then a home recuperation which allowed us time to bond and get back on track. When I went back to work, she was not happy and the results of our interrupted early training became more evident! This time at home has seen her back on track, and she is the greatest of companions, but it has made me realize how much of my time she needs to be the best she can be. I do not regret our decision, she has taught me so much about love and life – and unbridled happiness. But you need to be ready for that lesson.

Marcia

We got a puppy one month after we got married, 11 years ago in June. She had worms when we first got her which we found out when she pooped in my husband’s new truck. Since then she’s been the absolute best dog.

She’s incredibly sweet and considerate (she only poops in pine straw – never in the grass). She is exceedingly prissy and doesn’t like to go out when it’s cold and rainy. She’s a Black and Tan English Toy Spaniel so she has a lot of hair, but we keep her hair trimmed more than is typical for her breed.

My oldest son (he’s 8) has become obsessed with her since quarantine started. He’s constantly loving on her and wants her to sleep with him. I think she’s been his emotional support during all of this, and I’m so thankful for that.

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