Woman’s Best Friend


  Lately I have been thinking more and more about the possibility of bringing a pet into the house.  I have weighed all of the pros and cons and have decided that everything points to the fact that it is time to adopt a dog.  Unfortunately, my better half disagrees and he has put his foot down and stated that we will not be getting any pets anytime soon.  Now, normally, when hubby puts his foot down I just smile and do the complete opposite of whatever it is that he has forbidden from doing.  This time is a little bit different because, although I think he is being somewhat unreasonable, he does raise some good points as to why he does not want to have a pet in our home.

    You see, this is not our first experience with owning pets and I have been known to take in strays should the need arise.  I have to admit that my love of animals has gotten us into more hairy predicaments than I would care to admit. (No pun intended)  However, in all fairness to me, not all of the pet dilemmas that we have had were my fault and I blame hubby for the biggest pet fail that we have ever experienced since he is the one that bought Nicky home.  Come to think of it, the whole “Nicky Fiasco” was really his fault and I don’t think that it is fair for him to prevent the boys and I from having a dog just because he picked a psychotic Chihuahua that ultimately nearly drove him crazy.

    It all began about eleven years ago when, much like recently, I expressed to hubby the desire to get a dog.  He broached this subject with his Aunt who told us that she knew a lady who bred pedigree Chihuahuas and that she would introduce us to her so we could choose one of her dogs.  Hubby acted like he wasn’t really interested so that I wouldn’t know that he was secretly making plans to surprise me with my new puppy.  He made all of the arrangements with her and chose one of the puppies that the breeder showed to him.  One afternoon, as he was picking me up from work, he surprised me with the cutest and tiniest Chihuahua puppy that I had ever seen and I was immediately in love.  I named him Nicky and he became practically like my child.

    Nicky was cute and loving albeit a little crazy.  He constantly barked at every little noise and he hated being alone and would scratch at the front door whenever we left for work or when we went out.  This annoyed Hubby to no end but it really didn’t bother me because he was my baby and I loved to spoil him.  I had never had a pet of my own so I lavished this dog with my love and affection.  He slept with me, sat next to me on the couch when I was watching television, and always followed me around the house.  We were buddies and I considered him to be the best possible pet ever.  Regardless of his idiosyncracies, he was my puppy and he could do no wrong in my eyes.

    Unfortunately, this all began to change with the birth of my first child.  By the time my oldest son was born, Nicky and I had been together for four years.  He was used to having my undivided attention and not used to having children in the house, especially a crying baby who demanded and took up all of my time.  I noticed that Nicky began to become increasingly agitated and that, as my son got older and started walking, the dog would get annoyed with him and snap at him sometimes when he became impatient.  Although I always corrected the dog when he did that, I never considered my son to be in any danger nor did he ever bite him or really hurt him.

    By the time my youngest son was born, it was quite obvious that Nicky was not the same dog that he had been years ago when it was just him and I.  I had done everything to decrease his anxiety and jealousy at having to share my attention with my sons.  My husband brought baby blankets from the hospital to prepare Nicky for the babies’ scents and we were very patient as he sniffed the new babies and curiously examined both of them.  We knew all of this kind of behavior was normal and we expected it.  What we did not expect was some of the bizarre behavior that Nicky began to engage in during the weeks following the birth of my younger son…

    The nips that used to be warnings to my older son to not bother him turned to full blown attempts to bite him.  My husband also discovered that the dog was taking items such as keys, gum, loose change, and receipts and hiding them around the house.  Then, we discovered the unthinkable, the dog was taking the baby’s soiled diapers out of the garbage can and hiding them behind the entertainment center.  Needless to say, this was extremely gross and disturbing.  All of this was in addition to his constant barking, jumping all over the furniture, and destroying just about anything in the house. 

    It all just got to be too much and we had to make a decision about whether the dog could continue being a member of our family.  In the end, concerns about the safety of the kids as well as the destructive behavior caused us to give Nicky away.  It was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do.  We had to tell my older son that the dog ran away because there was no way to explain to him why we had made this decision.  He was too young to understand and I was just too sad to explain it to him.  It was just one of those tough decisions that had to be made so we made it.  I often wonder whether the dog felt that I had betrayed him after all of the companionship that he had given me before the kids were born.  Those of you who are animal lovers probably understand why I feel this way.  The rest of you, well just bear with me…

    Four years have passed since we had a pet in this house.  Believe me, I understand why Hubby doesn’t want to go down this road again but I can’t help feeling that we are depriving the boys of having this experience.  They will learn responsibility from caring for a pet and they will also learn how to care for animals and to be gentle towards them.  I’m torn right now.  Do I let Hubby have his way and drop this subject or do I throw caution to the wind and get a dog?

© 2010, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. I have heard it’s far better to adopt a pet AFTER you have kids….I often feel badly b/c we had our dog before hte kids and now he takes a backseat….but I’m an animal lover too and I vote for a dog!!!!!!

    • Erin, I also felt badly when we had him because I knew that he was having a really difficult time adjusting to his new role in the family. The difference was that he just started acting out to the point that it was dangerous and unbearable. I vote for a new dog too!

  2. OH NO! You poor thing. Well, my experience is that if you bring a dog into a family after the kids are there, you have an entirely different situation. We’ve had countless dogs (ugh, truly, we had 6 at once long ago, and we weren’t dog breeders), and the only dog we had problems with was the puppy I raised alone, that didn’t like the introduction of the kids into the family. And we gave him away. Every dog since then knew their place in the family and didn’t have to deal with that jealousy. I don’t know what to tell you, sweetie, but please pass only my encouragement to your husband that there won’t be another Nicky.

    Good luck, Maria!!!!

    • Pamela, that is my gut feeling, that we will have an entirely different experience with the new dog being adopted into the family since we already have kids. In retrospect, I really think that Nicky couldn’t handle having me all to himself. It really wasn’t his fault because I did spoil him before the kids came. I just feel that the kids are losing out by not having a pet around to grow up with them…I hope Hubby sees your comment since he now subscribes to my blog. 🙂

  3. Well I think both of you would need to be on board, but…that said? I let my husband and children talk me into a dog and she’s completed our family in so many ways…we’ve spent well over a thousand dollars on vet bills alone but wouldn’t have it any other way (and I NEVER thought I’d be down with an animal that didn’t lay eggs or taste good cooked living at my place again).

    • I think my husband will come around eventually because he always had pets growing up and he loves animals. My opinion is that he is worried about all of us getting attached to a new pet and then having to go through the heartache of having to let the pet go if something should go wrong. I know he wouldn’t want to disappoint the boys this way. I’m going to sit down with him and share all of the advice that you guys have given me to see if I could change his mind.

  4. Your first problem was the breed. They are not a generally the best breed for young children. I know you are in NY, check out my friend’s rescue. http://secondchancewildliferescue.org/AboutUs.htm

    Give her a call. She is a wealth of information. Her mother, Cathy, is also someone you might want to speak to. I bet after speaking and/or meeting with them, your husband will change his mind. http://manicmondays123.blogspot.com/2010/09/animal-cruelty.html Check out this blog too.

    Good luck.

    • Thanks, Doreen. You have definitely armed me with a wealth of information that I can use to persuade my husband. I will definitely be checking out these two links so that I can make the best case for getting a dog…

  5. Maybe you just need to give your husband more time.

    I’m an animal lover so I think the relationship between kids and their pets is an important part of growing up. I think you’ll have a different experience now introducing the pet to your entire family rather than the dog adjusting to your growing family.

    • Amanda, I totally agree with you. However, I’m afraid that if I let Hubby have his way, he won’t budge on this for a really long time and the window for the kids to have grown up with a dog will have closed by then. I’m hoping he will finally come around…

  6. I hope your husband comes around. Having animals is amazing. We always had animals growing up. When we had The Boy we made sure to give our lab and all of our kitties lots of attention. So far so good, but now the dog gets upset when other people hold and play with The Boy.

    BTW- I love your new layout! It looks great!

    • I hope he comes around too. I love animals and he does too. He also doesn’t want to add more responsibilities to our already heaping plates. I understand that but I think having a pet would be fabulous for the boys. I’m glad you like the new layout. It took a lot of work to migrate the blog but, now that everything is working properly, I can say that it was definitely worth it!

  7. I vote for a new dog, just not a chihuahua. I had five dogs, one of which was a chihuahua. I find them pretty fragile, and they tend to take ownership of one person in the family at times. They are playful and frisky but with two boys, I think a hardier breed might be better.

    I personally love mutts! I had three pure breed beagles and one springer spaniel mix. I loved them all but the mutt was the best! My ex-husband still has them since he has the house and I now have a small apartment.

    I have been thinking about getting a dog and went to the shelter where I adopted Shelly, my mutt. You wouldn’t believe the wonderful dogs in shelters. Young ones too. Surprisingly a lot of them are not there because of behaviorial issues but rather because someone couldn’t afford them, take care of them, or they got lost and no one claimed them. I found a white German shephard, docile and quiet and friendly whose owner ended up in jail for whatever reason.

    The other day, I saw a man with a gorgeous black medium size dog, a mutt, friendly, playful, happy go lucky guy, who he adopted from an animal shelter. Just my two cents, as you can tell I really believe in adoption. There are a few places here in Rockland that have great dogs for adoption.

    I think it can be a wonderful experience for your boys and a great way to show responsibility. Just make sure the family has the time and patience to train him/her which can take time and that they won’t spend too much time alone. I feel so bad when people leave their dogs for long hours and in crates!! Not that you would do that.


    • Stephanie, it is so good to see you here! I have always been a big advocate of adopting pets from the shelter. Years ago I adopted two cats from the North Shore Animal League out in Long Island. You are right that we need to consider the breed of the dog that we adopt. There are many breeds that don’t have a lot of patience with small kids, or children in general, and I don’t want to get into another situation where I cannot keep the dog. I am so looking forward to sharing this experience with my boys but I have to bide my time right now until Hubby warms up to the idea…

  8. I went through the same thing with my pomeranian and first born. We had to let the doggy go, but thankfully she’s at my mom’s house. You’re not going to believe which one had the problem, the dog or the new baby…turns out the new baby was just too rough for my pom. So that’s why I let her go. I really miss having my dog, everyday that I think about it. But my husband doesn’t seem to miss her at all.

    • Aww, that is sad that you had to get rid of your Pomeranian. Believe me, it was hard to let Nicky go. After all, he was my buddy and I loved him. It is important to consider adopting a breed that will be able to play with children who can sometimes be rough. I have been told that the teacup sized dogs should not be around small children because they are so fragile…

  9. Hopefully your hubby will come around with time. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! 🙂

  10. We got our first family pet 8 yrs ago. The mister and I disagreed about pets too. I grew up practically on a ranch. We had horses, dogs, cats, cows and at one time even a billygoat. The mister felt pets belonged outside. No animal would be confined to the outdoors so we waited till I broke him down. I totally get why you should adopt an animal. We decided on a certain breed. All our friends had Boxers and they were amazing with kids. Not to mention I need a pet with a sense of humor. So we looked and looked for a puppy to adopt but no luck. They were all adults. I really was firm on getting a puppy. One of our kids was afraid around animals. Eventually we found the perfect puppy. She had been the runt. Was bottle fed. She’s my best friend and my favorite child. Don’t judge, I have teenagers!! Now the misters opinions changed and it’s probably because we found the right pet for our family. He could never do a small dog or one that barks constantly. So I think you should keep approaching the subject. But figure out which breed is best for your family. Also figure out what type of dog he eventually sees himself owning. Men are that way too. And don’t wait too long. My kids have the best memories with our Emma.

    • Hi, Aricka, I am so glad that you have stopped by. All of the feedback that I have been getting regarding this post seems to point towards the fact that a lot of consideration should go into the breed of dog that one chooses for a family with younger children. I see now that it is important to take this into consideration since different breeds respond differently to children. I will share this information with Hubby to see if it helps my case at all. Maybe he will reconsider once he realizes that we could have a totally different pet owning experience if we choose a breed that will be more family and kid friendly.

  11. Hi Maria! 🙂

    Just let your husband get used to the idea of having a dog again. It’s quite understandble why he would not have one. You’ve planted the seed in his head and all you can do is be patient. Eventually he will see for himself he is being unreasonable and give in to having a dog. Hope you and the boys get it! 🙂

    • Yes, you are right, it is quite understandable why he wouldn’t want to go through that again. I’m just worried that he will take too long to warm up to the idea of getting a pet. I think the boys are at a perfect age to enjoy having a pet and to learn some responsibility from having to care for one.


  1. Maria says:

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  2. Maria says:

    NEW POST RT @toughcookiemom: Woman's Best Friend http://bit.ly/ctppv2 I am very interested in hearing from current pet owners…

  3. Maria says:

    New Post RT @toughcookiemom: Woman's Best Friend http://bit.ly/ctppv2

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