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reasons to get a dog

12 Reasons Why Your Family Should Get A Dog

By Chris Jordan

My children begged and begged and begged for a dog. I never wanted one. I didn’t grow up with animals in the house. To me they were smelly, prone to shed hair everywhere, track dirt through the house, and be one more thing for me to deal with once the novelty of having a dog wore off. I always said that I just wasn’t an animal person. People would react with horror as if saying I didn’t like animals meant I was into skinning kittens and wearing their fur as ear muffs.

I finally gave in and told my kids I would think about a getting a dog. Next thing I know they were at the animal shelter, texting photos of the puppy with whom they had fallen in love. It wasn’t the sort of dog I had envisioned. I wanted something large, sturdy, that would go for runs with me (I have a very active imagination and I am always a long distance runner in my fantasies. Clearly I need better fantasies.) Three days later a puppy was in my house.

I fell in love with this tiny dog. My kids tease me now because I have more photos of the dog on my phone than I do of them. But it was so adorable when she found the toilet paper roll and ran all over the house tossing it in the air, or when she hid inside the kitchen cabinets, or when she fell asleep on top of the laundry pile, how could I not photograph that? Am I made of stone?

These are the good things that I have discovered over the past six months about having a dog and why you should get one.

1: When you drop food on the floor, they will eat it. Under my table has never look so good, I just wish I had a dog back when my kids were still babies and throwing food on the floor. They also like to eat the random scraps of food left behind.

2: They force you to exercise. Dogs like to go for walks. It gives you the perfect excuse to roam the neighborhood at night and look through your neighbor’s windows. And I mean that in a completely non-creepy way.

3: They are always happy to see you. Our dog gets so excited when everyone single one of us comes home.

4: When you are home alone you have someone to talk to. And dogs are great at looking at you and cocking their heads and pretending that they understand. I always tell my puppy how smart she is. And then she chases her tail around until she is dizzy and falls over.

5: A dog teaches your children responsibility. Left your favorite shoes in the middle of the room and the dog chewed on them? Well, should have put them away where they belong.

6: It also teaches your children compassion and anger control. See the shoes above.

7: Dogs like to snuggle up to you and keep you warm when it’s chilly.

8: Kids learn about taking care of someone other than themselves. I wouldn’t count on a kid doing all the chores related to a family pet, but mine are all certainly aware if the dog needs to be fed or needs fresh water and they will just take care of it. One of mine asked if babies were as much work as having a dog. Oh, how I laughed at that question.

9: Having a dog IS like having a baby, but only the fun parts.  You can’t let babies out in the yard to poop.  And you can’t leave them home all alone or put their food in bowls on the floor.  They have laws about these things. And even though a kennel might seem to be similar to a crib, it’s not the same at all.

10: Dogs love you like you are the best person ever. What’s not to like about that?

11: You get used to being covered with dog hair. I like to pretend all my clothes are made from angora wool.

12: My teenagers and I will sit on the floor and play with the dog together, reminiscent of when they were toddlers. It gives us something fun to laugh about at the end of the day when we are all exhausted and often prone to be snappy with each other.  No matter what has happened during the day, you can’t play with a dog and be angry.  It’s a fact.

I finally understand animal people. Though I haven’t gone so far as to call Rosie my fur-baby or add her to my child count, my youngest did tell his teacher that he had a new sister. Oh the hilarity that ensued as everyone speculated on how that happened when his mother had very obviously not been pregnant.

Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, the...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is almost 6.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.

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  • neo

    February 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    We’re one and done so we’ve been thinking of getting a dog. This really makes me want one even more.

  • Zoe Alexander

    February 24, 2013 at 4:35 am

    Hi Chris, thanks for sharing this with us! I love dogs but my hubby hates them. We compromised by getting Marcus, a MainCoon cat which is the largest domesticated cat you can have. Unfortunately due to the business launch, travelling abroad for long periods, working 24/7 and looking after my 2 y.o. daughter between us, Marcus now lives with my mum-in-law so my daughter only sees him weekly when she stays with Granma! It is a huge commitment having animals. Soon I hope to have Marcus back!

    Zoe xxx

  • J

    February 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Reason not to get a dog: so people like myself who are lovely people to know and be friends with, but who are allergic to dogs and cats, can still come over your house and enjoy your company without having to take drowsiness-producing drugs.

    I am happy for your family; I just wish more people opted out of the pet thing so I could opt more in the social thing.

    • Chris Jordan

      Chris Jordan

      February 25, 2013 at 9:20 am

      I have a dog that most people aren’t allergic to, a terrier mix, it has hair not fur. I am highly allergic to cats so I know about the animal allergies. I couldn’t spend any legnth of time in a house where cats lived. If you lived near me I’d have you over for an outdoor barbecue or party.

  • Ally

    February 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Man, having a dog with little kids is great. It reduces sweeping the floor by a lot of time. I didn’t grow up with any pets, but having a dog now is so much fun.

  • KJ

    February 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I would add to the list: dogs help you meet your neighbors.  Closely related to the exercise issue, but when you walk around your neighborhood with a cute dog, people stop and talk to you SO MUCH more than walking alone or even with a baby.  I’ve been surprised and delighted by that aspect of dog ownership in my usually-reserved New England neighborhood.  

    Also, as someone who had a small (12 lb) dog and then added a mid-sized (45lb) dog, I have to say that small dogs are way easier to own when it comes time to travel and/or ask a friend to take care of them for any length of time.  Some friends even asked us frequently to bring our tiny puppy over when we visited; bigger dogs are definitely not so welcome in most cases.   

  • Allison

    February 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    We got ourselves a boxer before having babies and one thing I have loved about having a dog is that my kids not only are not afraid of dogs, or animals of any kind, they play together and snuggle and it is so darling!! I highly reccomend a boxer to families with small children, they are great with small kids and babies and have as much energy as a toddler!

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    February 27, 2013 at 8:24 am

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  • Ann

    February 27, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Okay, I read this story with MUCH interest – my youngest son has been asking for a dog for about two years. He LOVES dogs, and me, not so much. My husband grew up with dogs, so he’s just waiting for me to say the word. Your article helped us open up a conversation I’ve been avoiding for many months. My concerns are: the smell, the expense, the destruction of personal property, the extra work. (My last kid JUST started elementary school!) I also have a baking business and am wondering if having a pet can prevent me from doing that. (Plus, the first time the dog eats a tray of cookies, I will flip out!) Does all the good stuff outweigh the yucky stuff? (Just like with kids?)

  • Karen

    February 28, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    We have a dog whom we love dearly, and he is a huge help with vacuuming up the little bits of food that drop from my toddler and preschooler (we are careful to not “drop” too much or anything bad for him!). He is extremely well-behaved around the house.

    But I really, really think that a dog has a hard life if it’s in a home with small children. Older children, maybe that’s different. But a dog needs daily exercise – not much, but something and daily affection. Most people I know, including myself, who have dogs with young children in the house find that their dogs are really getting the short end of the stick. One family rehomed their dog and it was devastating for him.

    I strongly urge people with young children to not get a dog.

  • […] Have your kids been asking you for a dog? Have you been considering getting them one even though you know you may be the one who ends up taking care of said dog? Chris Jordan, over on Alpha Mom, used to be someone who never wanted a dog. That is, until her children finally convinced her. She found out that having a dog really is great and wrote “12 Reason Why Your Family Should Get a Dog.” […]

  • Lyndsay Jum

    March 16, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Okay, I really want a dog so bad! I’m only 11 and my mom is not a fan of animals. So we’re pretty busy, moving and stuff… Anyway, I really highly recommend a dog! If you have an only child, get one! Cats, hamsters, or bunnies don’t do anything at all! A dog would be exactly “A man’s best friend.”

  • sh

    December 17, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I’m doing a research project of benefits of dogs and i am definitely using information from here in my article THANKS 🙂

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  • ses

    October 24, 2015 at 11:02 am

    you should add some links to dog shelters or breeders

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