Home Parenting Parents: Don’t Be Guilted Into Getting A Family Dog

Parents: Don’t Be Guilted Into Getting A Family Dog

by Dewan Gibson

I’d like our family dog if she was dumb and not just hard-headed. Just the other day she darted across the street to sniff the mail truck’s front tire. I ran outside barefoot, waving my arms to catch the carrier’s attention before he hit the furry speed bump. I thought to myself, “Let her get hit. It’ll be over in a second.” Fortunately my cold heart warmed. I snatched Gigi before her eight pound body got crushed. As has been the case during the year we’ve had her, the warm feelings proved fleeting.

Gigi barks at ceiling lights, raised arms, smoke, cars, pedestrians, and nothingness. She bites the kids. (To be fair, our 5-year-old puts his finger in her ears, and occasionally, pokes her taint.) Gigi chose our area rug as her preferred place to piss when everyone’s asleep. She obeys commands, only to change her mind and take off running to the sewer in search of raccoons that will maim her. Gigi is an independent woman who don’t need no owner. She is 7 and will never change.

Gigi was given to us by a family friend. I was not too keen on getting an indoor dog. I prefer dogs who spend their days in the streets and stop by the house every now and then to see what’s up. I’ve seen them in Tijuana. But the kids wanted a family dog. And Amber wanted to please the kids. She told me this through tears. I gave in to the will of the family.

Gigi has her own little staircase that allows her to jump into our bed. She sees the space as hers and snaps at our three kids when they sneak into the bed early each morning. I wake up, and thanks to a total of four invasive species fighting for space and attention, have trouble going back to sleep.

Still, it ain’t all bad. Gigi cleans the kitchen by eating food dropped on the floor, warns me if the mailman or Jehovah Witnesses are stopping by, is always happy to see me, never seems distracted by an electronic device, and walks with an attractive little switch in her hips.

And I’m good to her. I fix her the perfect mix of dry dog food and wet cat food, as her previous owner suggested, and then walk her 30 minutes later. When it’s too cold for Gigi to relieve herself without her paws freezing, I shovel a spot where she can do her business. She shows her appreciation by following me around the house, in search of food or skin-to-skin contact.

But…if I could do it all over, I would not have gotten a dog. This isn’t the best way to judge relationships, but if I compare the positive and negative aspects of having her, she’s in the red big time. I don’t know, maybe I’m just anti-domesticated animals. They take a dump, don’t wipe, and just walk around the house bare ass like everything’s cool. Filthy!

To my fellow parents, don’t be fooled into a thinking you need a family dog. Tell your kids to shut the hell up and get a pet when they move out. Tell your spouse something similar but in a much kinder way. You wouldn’t want to end up divorced and lonely with nothing but a dog to keep you company.

-Dewan Gibson

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