have long promised our children that we would consider a dog when (or rather if ) all our children became self sufficient in the basics of toileting and self-care. Our youngest is almost five now…the time of reckoning has come.

On the one hand, I always had dogs growing up, they were part of the family. I have many tender memories of the loyalty and intuition I experienced from man’s best friend. Nobody loves you like a dog loves you. Totally unrestrained and unconditional. It’s the best.

Dogs are good security-I would love to have a big dog to run with and to watch over our home as we slept. In South Africa, where crime is rampant, one of the best deterrents to uninvited visitors is a big (loud) dog.

Dogs teach kids responsibility and blahblahblah. We all know who ends up doing all the dirty work once the novelty has worn off. Although when I was a kid, I did daily poop scooping in our back yard for our three dogs, regularly washed their dishes, fed them and occasionally walked them too. I would say my parents made good use of the responsibility enhancing properties of a pet.

On the other hand.

Dogs are expensive. First you have to procure the dog. Even those from shelters cost money, then there is the matter of their care-that costs money. In the last several months we have spent more on the medical care of our insane bunny then all four of our children combined (and that was just getting her spayed!). There is their food to think about, the fact that we live in a shoebox and a dog would have to be regularly walked (not a bad thing) and “let out” (just when I got done with potty oriented duties? Unappealing).

On the third, neutral hand, dogs need other things. I would say this was bad because they cost money and spending money for me automatically bodes ill. However, (and this is where we resume our ongoing series: “finding alternatives for more human babies” )

If you are a woman there is a good chance you find that shopping for small cute things to be fun.

And then there are the gadgets. Nothing makes me happier then the newest fangled gadgety baby bath-and they do have some pretty nifty doggy baths these days. (Gone are the days of running after them with the hose it seems). And you know, there’s nothing like a new baby for poring over potentially life changing toys. Failing which, it would appear that there is nothing like a dog for an excuse to buy small and adorable objects. Look! Baby doggy toys! And ok how ridiculously adorable are the doggy toy-boxes? Did you know there was such a thing as doggy toy-boxes? Hilarious. The one shaped like a fire hydrant in particular, ushers great joy and gladness into my soul. Although it does make one wonder what might happen to it if left attended with Fido.

I have to admit I have recently begun to lust after doggy beds. There is no better way to make a design statement then with a stylish doggy bed. Trust me on this. I know things. Forget about cute crib bedding! You would not believe the variety of doggy beds/chaises/sofas/recliners/magical flying carpets out there. When we went recently on a mission to find a receptacle which the Crazy Bunny would deign to pee within on a consistent basis, I saw a doggy bed that was so perfect for my newly decorated kitchen that I almost wept with the yearning. Aaron said we weren’t getting a dog just so that I could satisfy my need for a pink and green argyle dog bed.

Still on the fence about whether I’d ever subject my child dog to doggy clothing, but

I know that picking out a suitable leash would
be no small matter.

It would become a project worthy of much research
and opinion asking. Because you see, dog collars
and leashes are like... totally important fashion
statements, people. And if you desperately
miss the days of buckling a kid into a car seat,
they now have doggy seatbelts and even...
doggy strollers (which... seriously? Is
pathetic and sad and very disturbing on
many levels, and if you have one
you must stop that,
stop that right now).

Basically more then ever, when it comes to consumerism, a dog is a super awesome substitute for a baby. They have all the cute stuff (and then some) we are genetically programmed to salivate and spring a lot of cash for. And you don’t get stretch marks bringing them into the world, plus you can get these really cool gizmos, (which you don’t have to nag) to automatically feed and water them. Perfection! NOW…what type of dog shall we get….I must call the Obamas for opinions.

In all seriousness, we probably will not be getting a dog until our priorities are in better order, such as somebody other then Aaron or I will need to show that they are willing and able to take care of Thumper’s Need For Pee (to be everywhere) and maybe my desire for the actual dog needs to outweigh my desire for a really adorable perfectly coordinating with my kitchen, pink and green dog food bowl.

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