Why We Aren’t Ready for a New Dog

This week we were dog-sitting for a wonderful dog named “Edison”. He’s a large 9 month-old pup, who looks like a young Scooby Doo. He’s been here for about five days and will depart today, his time with us was just enough to make us realize we aren’t ready for our next dog.

I have been sad as of late and I think my husband thought having a dog around for a short period of time might cheer me up. “I have a friend who needs a dog sitter, want to watch him here for a little bit in July?”, he asked me. I screamed “Yes!” and was over the moon.

The kids were on-board too. My older daughters are both teenagers now, they were ready to be more active helping with a pet. My son is four, and wants a furry companion of some kind, more than anything in the world.

My connection to dogs runs deep. I have grown up around dogs my entire life

My first dog was Jenny, a Springer Spaniel that never left my side when I was young. She was followed by many others: Sprite, Willow. My parents have a dog named “Katy Perry” (Our last name is Perry, so this was a clever moniker). Why so many dogs? Well, my father is a dog trainer. It is what he’s done for a living, full-time since I was ten. Since this was my family business, dogs and the responsibilities they came with, were par for the course. My first paying job was cleaning kennels.

We got Ferris Bueller Cairl when my husband and I lived in Chicago. He was the greatest of dogs. He was so cute we often got stopped on the street when we were walking him to take moments for admirers. Ferris had a bit f a doggie-ego, later waiting for everyone to adore him. He loved us and later, was best friends with our girls. He was gentle and kind, while protective and fierce as needed. Our NYC apartment was never robbed like the others in our building, I don’t think anyone wanted to risk the wrath of our pup.

My husband, Jim, is allergic to dogs but somehow he loved me and Ferris enough to make it work for years. He saw how happy having a dog made me and the happiness kind of bled onto him.

Sadly after 15 years, Ferris passed away about a month after our son, Finn was born. It was as though he waited to make sure the baby was all good and then left us.

It was one of the four times I had seen my husband cry in the two decades we’d been together. Jim vowed our days as pet owners were done, as he never wanted to feel the pain of losing something we’d raised and loved so much again. We go through enough worry and stress with three children. But I chose to hope, and thought as time went on, he’d come around.

When bouncing Edison graced our home this week, the kids went nuts. Snuggling him, walking him, getting him to do tricks for treats. We went as a family to the dog park and made friends with another owner we met there. While we chatted, Edison (and Finn) found a mud puddle and we covered in wet dirt in moments.

Edison is a little bigger than Finn, which lead to a lot of play and punishment, with Finn getting knocked down and hurt (not badly). The poor dog not understanding his own strength. Still my boy slept next to the dog every night (even when we crated him). There’s dog hair now all over our home and car, which has led Jim to a few intense allergy attacks. And as much as the teenage family members had offered to help, they have their own lives and plans, and the bulk of the poop scooping, feeding and watering has fallen on me.

We all agreed this “trial dog” was the right choice before we committed to the real thing. As we close upon our five days together as an extended family, I thought the results would be different. Instead of running to a shelter to adopt the next Cairl, we will be vacuuming and searching for Edison’s ball, (he might have left under the couch?)

The truth is, we are strapped now. I am constantly at work growing the start-up I work for. Jim is acting in a show while working at his job this summer and his energy is spent. The girls may not notice when the dog leaves as they are off to hang with friends. Which leaves Finn, a four-year-old very much in love with having a dog. I fear he’s still a little too young and far too short…

Maybe someday, our minds will change but for now there are more than enough things to deal with at home. It wouldn’t be fair to take on an animal that would need all the care and attention we just can’t give right now.

I will snuggle Edison one last time and then say goodbye. He was a lovely guest at just the right time. Often, we have taken on far more than we can chew. So for the moment, we aren’t taking on any more chew toys.