Parenting Tip Tuesday

Family Pet- 3 Good Reasons To and Not To Have One

Everyone who knows me knows I'm a dog lover. I've often joked that I could write a book about life lessons I've learned from my dog, Maddie. Maddie loves kids and loves to play. Even now, at 14 people years old, when a kid walks in the door, she greets them with love and enthusiasm and goes to get her tennis ball. (The ultimate ice-breaker, obviously.) Over the years, Maddie has "taken care" of two of our children, our four young grandchldren, our nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews and quite a few very special friends. I swear when our grandchildren arrive, she looks at me as if to say,"How many children do you expect me to raise anyway? Don't you think I am getting a little old for this?" But in the time it takes me to recall if I've given her her arthritis medicine, she is up and wagging her little tail stump. As much as she has generously given our family, we have been committed to her just as much.  

If you've been toying with the idea of getting a dog or cat to live with your family, I encourage you to think about it and discuss the possibility at great length before acting and view it as a commitment for the lifetime of that animal. Here are some things to consider:

Pros:

1. Pets teach kids many life skills such as compassion, self-discipline and responsbility. Ok, so the responsibility one only works if taking care of the pet is truly shared and the walking and feeding doesn't just fall to mom or dad.

2. A pet is a shared interest and can bring a family closer and it feels good to laugh at the antics of your family dog or cat. 

3. Pets are good listeners. If you or your child have something you're trying to work through, petting your dog or cat and talking or thinking can be very helpful. Some might even say therapeutic. 

Cons:

1. It is often a hassle to find appropriate care for your pet when you travel or go on vacation. Many hotels have a no pet policy. Even if you are staying with friends or relatives, your canine family member may not be welcome. Traveling may not bring out Fido's best qualities and may even bring digestive upset. That, in any form, is never pleasant. 

2. Be sure you can afford a pet. Besides the food and toys, there will be vet bills, grooming and possible boarding expenses. About the vet bills- Initially, there's the vaccinations and possible neutering. Later, there may be surgery(s) of some sort and/or medications.  It all adds up. I don't want to do the math or google the costs.

3. I don't have a third negative but I told you I'm a dog lover so I'm sure you're not surprised. smiley

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Here's Maddie, resting up for her next opportunity to play!