Why We Got Our Tiny Kid a Big Dog

Why We Got Our Tiny Kid a Big Dog

One mom reveals the joys and challenges of getting her little kid a big, active puppy.

By: Lorraine Allen

I can’t say for sure the biggest reason I insisted on getting our tiny, 35-pound, 4-year-old daughter a large dog as a pet. There were just so many things that made me determined to convince my husband that this was a fantastic idea. More than that, I had to convince him it was a necessity. Seriously, what was I thinking?

My poor husband likes dogs; he had one growing up, as I did. But he was also fully aware of the challenges of having a dog in an urban environment, with difficult winters, unlike me. I grew up in the country on a small farm, in a sunny climate, with a million pets who stayed outdoors. What a time-consuming chore it would be, daily, to walk the pet. To pick up the poop. To clean the floors in our home after countless wet, muddy, icy and snowy days, when the dog would come back home, from her million and one walks, trailing dirt and slush with her. To walk the very active dog while walking our active, but much slower, small child … But I was determined, and I won him over. After searching for the very sweetest puppy I could find, last year around Mother’s Day, we traveled as a family for two days, through three states, on an odyssey to get the large dog. A black and white Springer Spaniel we named Mabel.

Why was this so important to me, as a mom? Because I grew up with so many pets, and they brought me so much comfort and joy. Because I feel that life without animals is a bit unnatural, really. Because I spent the past four years taking my kid to a petting zoo weekly and noticed her happiness as she fed and petted the goats and sheep. Because it broke my heart each time she said she had no pet of her own. Because she has a genetic life-threatening disease that led us to decide to not have a second kid, as the risk is far too high for this to be repeated, and it cannot be tested for in utero, and I don’t want her to be lonely. Because I felt it was important, as a small family with just one kid, to have some other crazy, active, loving, joyful presence in our home to offset all the focus on our daughter. Because my kid is anxious and I know that pets help people calm down. And perhaps, mostly, because each year since she was 2, my daughter asked Santa for a dog for Christmas, and no matter how big a stuffed animal she got, nor how many tricks the toys could do, like bark and walk on a leash, these gifts showed her no affection and did not offer real companionship or love the way a real dog can.


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The dog is amazing (a year and a half and over 40 pounds already!), but my husband was right; it’s a real pain, hard work, and a challenge to care for her in a big, northern city. Do I regret the decision? Not one bit. To me, there is nothing sweeter than the unspoken, blissful, loving bond between my kid and her crazy puppy. And, they never argue. What’s not to love?

What’s your stance on pets for your kids?

Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 5-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

Image ©iStock.com/o01shorty10o

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