Beware of Dog.

by Kerry Rivera


With the holidays upon us, it’s a safe bet a number of kids will soon be asking Santa, Mom, Dad … anyone who will listen … for a pet. A new puppy, a cute kitten, a hamster – “I promise I’ll take care of it everyday! It’s the only thing I really want! Pleeeaaaasse!”


I love that my kids love animals. They want to learn everything about them, and respect the beauty they bring to our world, but … (you knew a “but” had to be coming) think very carefully about whether or not you’re ready for a new addition to your family. I know I’ve read those articles about “animals reducing stress in your life,” but I’m not so sure these studies took into account the crazy lives of moms.


We’ve had our not-so-little-anymore golden retriever for about five months now – we brought her home at the beginning of the summer after much begging from my five-year-old – and I can tell you that any state of Zen I used to have has certainly be chewed to shreds – like a number of things in my house.


To be fair, I do love dogs and spent most of my childhood with a furry friend, so I was eager to add a four-legged little girl to our household. But to be fair to my own parents, I now realize they did most of the work when it came to caring for our numerous pets. They did the housebreaking, the training and certainly paid the endless bills – for the animal, as well as the destruction that comes with it.


Now, however, the dog responsibilities all rest with me and my husband – and boy did we underestimate the challenges of a new puppy. The housebreaking was easy, but our puppy, Zoey, has enough energy to run us all over. She digs … a lot. She’s chewed through phone wires, fountain cords, stucco, shoes, her dog bed, rose bushes, palm leaves … and super heroes have nothing on my canine. She’s taken out multiple Transformers, Ninja Turtles and Marvel characters. Add in my two-year-old son to the mix, and let’s just say there’s a definite battle for the alpha spot. At 60 pounds, Zoey wins.


I've been toying with the idea of getting the kids a puppy for Christmas, not because they've asked, but just because I wanted to see that look of pure joy on their face that I know they'd have. Thanks for the reality check! That look of joy won't walk the dog, puppy-proof the house, etc. Maybe I'll wait until they actually do ask ...