To Pooch, or Not To Pooch

Last winter, we said goodbye to one of my first babies, Tony. He was a very special cat, and he and I had a very strong bond. His 16 year-old sister, Sophie, is still with us, limping along with kidney disease and inflammatory bowel disease.  (I’m certain these two cats have paid for at least one year of college for our vet’s children.) I love her, but she’s more sterotypical-cat than Tony was; she loves me, but she shows it when she feels like it.

Wasn’t he a handsome fella??

For behavioral reasons I won’t bother to go into here, Sophie is confined to the master bedroom. Between this and her age, I’m starting to think about getting another pet. In order of preference, here’s what I’d like to get:

  1. A llama (See my Facebook profile picture.)
  2. A (litterbox-trained) rabbit
  3. Ten cats (I could SO be a crazy cat lady, if my husband let me!)
  4. A dog

A llama isn’t particularly practical for our yard, my husband thinks rabbits aren’t interactive enough, and a cat (or 10) seems kind of mean, while Sophie is still alive. Both my husband and my daughter would love to get a dog, but I’m not sold on one yet.

I like dogs, I really do, but that doesn’t mean I want to own one. (It’s kind of like how me liking babies doesn’t mean I want to have another child…) Sure, they’re man’s best friend, they’re adorable, and having one would force me to get more exercise. But I have some reservations:

  1. Dogs smell. I’m sorry dog-lovers, but they do. Every time I pet a dog, my hand reeks of dog afterwards. Unless a dog has just been bathed, they smell.
  2. (Most) dogs bark. When I go to people’s homes and a dog starts barking its head off, it’s a little off-putting. So is the thought of having to haul a barking and/or jumping creature into a closed-off room or a crate whenever people come to my home.
  3. Picking up dog poop. Enough said.
  4. Dogs are high-maintenance. When we go away for a weekend, we leave out extra food and water for our cat, and she’s fine on her own for a few days. (For all I know, she may even prefer it this way!) But dogs require dogsitting or boarding arrangements, which I understand are pretty costly.
  5. Smart dogs tend to be high-energy, and who wants a dumb dog?? We would walk a dog daily, but between our jobs, school, activities, and life in general, we won’t have a lot of time to provide intellectual stimulation for a smart dog. And based on my limited understanding of animal behavior, under-stimulated dogs can wreck havoc on things like coaches and chairs.

All that said, I know I’m going to acquiese, eventually. I love furry creatures, and stinky dogs are no exception. But I’m never picking up the poop.

Do you have one or more dogs? (Or cats? Or llamas??) What do you think are the best and worst parts of being a dog parent?

Author: My Upstate Life

Wife, mom, and lover of books, podcasts, and blogs. Not a fan of cooking, winter, and snakes.

10 thoughts on “To Pooch, or Not To Pooch”

  1. We had a rabbit. It was awful. They were actually quite mean (we had two) and they would try to bite us when we took them out of the cage. Very quickly we could barely let them out. They also attacked each other so we had to separate them. What about an alpaca? You can knit from their wool!! Very upstate… I had two dogs, loved them both dearly and if I had time, would get another. Depending on what type of dog you get, we could potentially dog sit! For free!!

    1. Yikes! I guess I need to re-think the rabbit idea…

      I LOVE alpacas! And as a bonus, they help with the mowing! (Is that really Greg’s lawn secret??)

  2. The best part about being a dog-parent is the interaction, for sure. My dogs are both smart and playful. They have a terrific big brother/little brother dynamic. The big guy is a frisbee dog, and nothing delights him more than a few throws a day in the backyard. We take daily walks, and we sit together a lot. I do clean up dog waste from the yard a couple of times a week, but it’s just part of the gig of dog parenting. I feel the same “yuck” about cat litter (and its smell) that my cat parent friends do about dog waste and dog smell, but I think you become accustomed to whichever. Pets come with smells. A lot of people do, too.

    I’m fortunate that when I need to travel, my dogs can either stay with my parents or my mother will come to my house to stay with the dogs. If I can, I take them with me for the weekend. They travel well in the car, and they’re game to go wherever I take them. They’re fairly well trained – which is another type of investment to consider in dog parenting. We didn’t do a lot of classes, but I have invested a lot of time just being with them and talking to them. They can read me well, and I can read (mostly) them.

    They are wonderful to have around. No doubt. They’re funny, comforting, and endlessly loving. That makes any extra vacuuming or time cleaning the yard totally worth it.

  3. As you know, the love for my dog borderlines on psychotic. He is the first dog I’ve ever had and he is amazing. As you know, I am also a cat owner and do love my cat. But with a dog, I feel like they can show you their love and affection for you. No one is ever as happy to see you come home than a dog. When you’re sad, they console you, and when you’re happy they share in your joy. Its awesome. As for the poop, we call it poop patrol, Joe does it :).

    1. I can’t argue about no one being happier to see you come home than a dog, but – depdending on the cat – they can definitely show love and affection, too. Tony was very much like a dog in this way. Sophie is, well, a cat.

  4. We have three pugs 🙂
    Pros: so much love, loyalty, and companionship. They were our first set of “children”.
    Cons: dog hair, they ruin things, they are expensive, and sometimes 3 pugs + 2 children makes life super hectic when I’m trying to make dinner! Also, I do feel a little constrained when it comes to travel. Since they are old and needy we have to have someone come stay at the house with them.
    That said, I wouldn’t give them up for the world.
    Maybe just get one dog and a really super powerful vacuum.

  5. I have always had dogs. Four at one time as a kid. They are our pet of choice. Our home is not complete without a dog. With most pets you have maintenance. Even small animals or fish you need to clean cages or tanks. We have had cats before too, and agreed you can leave them unattended for a period of time with food and water. But never had much fun playing fetch or walking my cat. 🙂

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