In the progression towards becoming parents, many people get a dog, the theory being that caring for an animal will prepare you for parenthood.
And if you don't get a dog pre-kids, as soon as you have kids, lots of people like to assume that now you will be getting a pet *for the kids*.
We will not be doing this for a myriad of reasons.
First of all, I hate dogs. I apologize to all of you dog lovers, but it's the truth. Actually, I pretty much don't like any animals. But dogs in particular, I just really don't like. I think they smell - yes, even if you just gave them a bath - and I am really not a fan of being licked and sniffed.
Dave says we would never get a dog unless we lived in the country, with a ton of acreage and could let the dog roam free. I'm not sure I could even tolerate that low level of interaction with a dog.
The other reason I could never be convinced to get a dog is that my children are now thoroughly traumatized by them.
Last year on Father's Day, we tried to have a nice hike and picnic at the State Arboretum. While we were eating lunch at the picnic shelter, an ownerless Jack Russell terrier stalked our table until getting up the guts to run up to Noah, jump up on him from underneath the table and steal his sandwich right out of his hands. Hysterics and terror ensued. I have never felt the boys cling so tightly to me. The dog never left us alone despite many attempts by the two dads to chase him away. We finally had to leave with our lunch uneaten because Ethan was so terrified. Following that experience, both boys have generally refused to interact with any dog. Just recently, they have started being ok with teeny-tiny dogs like the neighbor's Yorkshire terrier and even then, it takes them a bit of time to cautiously approach them.
And then yesterday, all that was ruined again, thanks to another dog owner not properly controlling their dog. Ethan, Noah and I were on the porch, me typing a blog post while the boys stood around me sharing a bowl of animal crackers. Noah had just woken up from his nap and we were all just kind of quietly enjoying the sunshine. AND THEN. And then a large golden retriever came barrelling across the next door neighbor's lawn, across our driveway and ran straight onto the porch. The dog knocked into both boys, knocked over their bowl of animal crackers and pushed past all of us into the far corner of the porch. He/she came back towards us trying to sniff us. And the boys started screaming bloody murder. Screaming. And crying. And frantically trying to scramble onto a chair and grasp for me at the same time. I grabbed Noah who clung to me for dear life while alternately screaming and crying. The dog ran past us again, off the porch and around the side of the house. I was sort of trapped between the porch chairs and the railing, but I finally got to where I could also pick up Ethan. And now, after all that screaming, the owner of the dog - someone visiting the neighbor two doors down - came walking...WALKING...down the sidewalk calling the dog's name. With Ethan in one arm and Noah in the other, I used my elbow to open the front door and get them to safety. When inside, I tried to cheerfully reassure them that the dog was just really excited to be friends with them. Based on the skeptical looks the boys gave me, I'm not sure I convinced them. Neither one would venture outside until I had assured them that the dog was gone. And even then, they each took cautious steps onto the porch, looking both ways to make sure it was gone.
And you know...the owner never acknowledged that the boys had been terrified. She never came over and apologized. Nothing. I feel like if I had been the owner and heard that kind of terror from small children, I would have come over and expressed how sorry I was to have allowed my dog to cause that. But no. They stood on the porch steps talking to the neighbor and then got in their truck and left.
In any case, we will never be getting a dog. And now we are back to square one attempting to convince them that every dog who passes in front of our house on a walk with their owner is not going to attack them. So, in a way, I suppose I should thank all these people whose dogs have scared my kids because now they will most likely never beg us for one.
Maybe we'll get a fish. I think I could handle a fish. But nothing else. Nothing.
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