To the others:
Ever since you graduated high school and left behind your family dog, you have wanted a dog again. A puppy, with that milky smell and the too-big paws and its earnest eagerness. I understand. Here you are, with your new partner/boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife, settled in your new place. You make dinners together and look around at your new place and think "the only thing missing is a wagging tail."
Please think again.
It may not seem like it right now, but in just a few short years (or less!) you will be thinking about having a baby. No big deal, right? Dogs can get used to having a baby around. I even wrote about it here!
|Your life will be full enough, no dog needed!|
Having a child is wonderful, precious, life-altering--and also, as you may have heard, it is an ungodly amount of work.
Most of the women I know are going to go back to work after having had a baby. There will be a lot to do around the house. The LAST thing you will want to do is walk your dog. The second-to-last thing you will want to do is groom your dog. The third-to-last thing you will want to do is feed your dog. And because you will spend hours cuddling your adorable baby every day? You will never, ever want to cuddle your dog.
I'm sure that at some point, in about 10 years, when all of our children have grown out of babyhood, it will be nice to have a dog again. The kids will want to play with them, and walk them. It'll be great. Too bad by then our dogs will be old and decrepit and gray around the snout.
As it is, if I could wave a magic wand and, in the most humane possible way, my dogs would disappear? (Preferably to a large partially-wooded farm where they would chase rabbits all day and then curl up in the evening by the farmhouse hearth). I would do it in a millisecond.
So please, think very carefully before you get a dog. Sure, it seems like a great way to "practice" having a baby. But to use a passé SAT analogy: the work of a dog is to the work of a baby as boiling water is to cooking a 14-course meal. They are not, in fact, comparable. It is hard enough to be a good working parent; the extra obligation of caring for an animal will quickly become tiresome.
If you also have a dog (or dogs!) and a baby, please feel free to chime in with all the other ways in which this complicates your life. I can think of a few more off the top of my head:
--even harder to get away for a weekend
--tough to find a car that fits carseat, stroller, and dog safely
--babies are expensive and you will not want to spend money on the dog-walkers and groomers which will suddenly be necessary now that you don't have time to do it yourself
--crawling babies necessitate a very clean floor, which is difficult with a dog,
etc., etc., etc.
(Please note that I think the situation could be different if you're planning to be a stay-at-home parent. Although that is a TON of work, the extra work of caring for a dog might in that case be worth having the extra companionship at home with you. Maybe).