April 07, 2008,
P.W. asks from Cardiff by the Sea, CA on April 06, 2008
My Daughter Wants a Dog Desperately
My duaghter, 11.5 years old has been begging, pleading, and is basically is obsessed with the idea of having HER OWN puppy who of course grows up to be a dog. She has been since she was four. I am a single mom and have been raising two daugters by myself for years. (My oldest daughter has graduated from college now.) I have been slightly traumatized by the amount of responsiblity it has required to raise two children solo. I rent my friends condo and they would prefer I don't get a dog although I think they would begrudgingly approve if I pleaded. The truth is that I bond immensely with children but not animals and I have almost no interest in helping her raise a dog. She is very responsible and I trust that she would make a huge effort to take care of the beast but I know that I would end up doing much of the work. I also believe that I would really resent myself if gave in to her desires since I find the daily experience of the pet a nuisance and annoying. I also do not want to incur any of the costs associated with the pet. She has a nice savings and claims she would pay for everything but I know that it is not appropriate. We have fostered 9 puppies (3 different sets) and I was hoping that this might sasiate her appetite for a dog but in way, she seems even more upset after they are gone. I know, in my heart of hearts, I do not want to take on the responsibity. Also, no other pet substitutte interests her. I have tried to teach her that "she can have what she wants in life-if there is the will there is a way" and now this one is slapping in the face of a harsh & painful reality & conflict of interst. Thank you for any suppport.
So What Happened?™
I was extremely pleased by the outcome of my request and the considerate and thoughtful feedback that I received from you marvelous women! Hear is what I did. I sat down a couple of days ago and read my Mamasource letter to my daugter ,M, and her best friend (who kept telling me that I should let M get a dog since she is SOOOO responsible.) I preceded to read all the mom's responses. Tem minutes after listening, M (who insisted that she ONLY wanted a dog) said, "Can we foster Kitties next? Maybe I could get a Kitty at some point?" Hopefully, my allergies to cats has disappeared. Huge hugs to you all!
J.R. answers from San Diego on April 06, 2008
I agree with Jennifer C. If you do not want a dog in your family, stay firm. I don't believe that not giving in to your daughter in this point is tantamount to "not supporting her in getting what she wants." What if she wanted a gun? What if she wanted you to have another child? As the parent, you have final say in decisions that affect your entire family.
I don't think that saying no to her necessarily flies in the face of what you have been teaching her thus far that she can have whatever she wants in life. If she really wants a dog, she can have one when she is an adult and moves into her own place. And what about your feelings and the feelings of your friends from whom you are renting? You are also teaching her that her wishes and feelings are not the only ones that matter and that life often involves compromise and delayed gratification.
In the meantime, it is an excellent suggestion to have her volunteer at a local animal shelter or perhaps earn some extra money as a dog sitter.
J.C. answers from San Diego on April 07, 2008
DO NOT GET A DOG!!!! Just for all the reasons you list above especially your lack of desire for one. And if she thinks she can pay for it herself....tell her about what ours costs and we LOVE LOVE LOVE our dog as much as our child!
Our food costs $80 a month, flea and heartworm meds cost $75 each when we have to order them. Shots and regluar visits are a couple hundred dollars each visit. Then there are the unforeseen things, such as $600 to the allergy doctor this month and $800 because she ate a sock and didn't pass it. The $800 is what it cost us to make sure it didn't block her intestines, they found nothing and sent her home. So imagine the bill if they found a blockage!!!!!
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D.M. answers from San Diego on April 07, 2008
My daughters also wanted a dog for so long, and we finally gave in. It has been the best thing we have ever done. (My daughter was also 11 when we got the puppy.) I thought it would be so much work, but it hasn't been, partially because she is such a good dog, and we gave her puppy training. We have a golden retriever mix, so she is a great family dog, and low maintenance. If you do get a dog, don't get one that's really hyper. Ours just turned one, and she's really mellow - only gets hyper when the kids play with her. I would also strongly recommend a crate - ours is crate trained, so she sleeps in that at night, and she loves the crate, so she also goes in there when we are eating, etc. If a puppy grows up being used to the crate, they will love it, and you can put them in it whenever you go on errands, etc. and then you can rest easy that they are not tearing up the house.
If you're totally against a dog, just stand your ground. I wouldn't foster any more puppies because that must be so hard for her to give them up. But I wasn't really that into dogs either until we got ours, and now I love her to death. Good luck with the decision!
J.C. answers from San Diego on April 06, 2008
I know from having been her age and wanting a pet that she will EVENTUALLY want to spend the night at friend's houses and go do things and the animal will fall in your lap! So if you aren't really into having one yourself, then tell her that your friends don't want pets in the condo. It's not your own home so you cant have a dog. So that she can be around dogs have her volunteer at a local pet shelter. At least she'll be able to spend time with dogs, learn the value of hard work and still have her free time when she wants without having to dump the dog on you.
L.M. answers from San Diego on April 07, 2008
I would suggest not getting the dog. We got our 1st dog 1.5 years ago for my husband and son (I was 4 months pregnant with our 3rd child). I always wanted a dog as a kid, this is my 1st dog. She ended up being my dog, because I'm the one that's home most of the time. I love her, but it's been hard doing consistant training with a baby. So, if you don't think you have the patience for a dog, I say wait until she can raise a dog on her own. No matter how much they beg and promise they'll take care of it, the mom almost always ends up with the responsibility of taking care of it. By the way, I never resented my parents for not getting me a dog.
M.E. answers from San Diego on April 07, 2008
My kids too have wanted one and I feel the same way you do about it. The truth is...we don't always get what we want. Or...maybe it is just not the right timing...perhaps it will happen when they have their own place. It is hard for me too b/c I don't want them to resent me for it but I just try and find other things they like that I can deal with and feed that. Make sense?
C.H. answers from San Diego on April 07, 2008
The responsibility of caring for the dog always falls on the adult - no matter who the dog is for. A puppy is like having a toddler that doesn't understand a word you are saying and kind of doesn't care for about a year, minimum. Some breeds do not settle down until 2 years old. Who will take the puppy to puppy class? Then basic obedience class? Who will be up all night with the puppy when it needs to go potty every three hours? Who is going to housetrain the puppy? Who will pay $250 to fix the puppy? Who will pay for the immunizations? Any emergency visits? You can spend quite a bit on a new dog. A puppy is a lot of work - more than what people realize. Then your daughter goes off to college, and then what?
My mom used to tell me, "you can do and be anything you want." And that was huge for my self esteem. However, she also said that she didn't want a dog in the house. So, now I am an adult and I have my own dog and totally appreciate the experience - never ever did I resent my mom for setting down the rule of no dogs. I fostered, too. Tried to get the fix of "having" a dog. What it did was teach me valuable lessons in caring for a dog. She will be a fantastic dog owner as an adult.