My kids have been gearing up for Christmas since mid-October. I’ve sort of come to terms with premature Christmasing even though it’s a house policy of mine to not bust out the decorations until after Thanksgiving. If I see Santa stuff in Costco before Halloween or catch you humming carols in early November, I don’t wig out and curse early onset Christmas spirit.
When we went to the zoo a few weeks ago, it didn’t bug me much to see everything set up for Santa’s visit. When we were invited to go inside “Santa’s Workshop” and write our Christmas wishes on a little card to drop in good ol’ St. Nick’s mailbox, I thought it was all good. I wrote “sink that dispenses wine on demand, pretty please—I’ve been really good all year” in my very best penmanship and dropped it in the box. Kidding. Maybe.
I helped my kids with their cards, thinking I was going to be called on to help spell “Ninja” or even “Umizoomi” (and really, I am not sure if that’s even the right way to spell “Umizoomi,” but I’m gonna go with it).
“Mommy, help me write ‘puppy.’”
“I’m gonna ask Santa to bring us a puppy!”
So yeah, I’m going to have one disappointed little boy on Christmas morning, because Santa is not bringing a puppy to our house.
1. I am not ready for the responsibility.
There’s much more to pet ownership than Instagram pictures of cute, fuzzy puppies. A dog needs exercise, attention, baths, and love. Like a lot of families nowadays, we’re overscheduled and maxed out on activities. Adding daily dog walks and vet visits to our family lineup would be the tipping point.
2. I am selfish.
We have two five-year-olds. I’m not suggesting travel with kids is a piece of cake, but we’ve gotten to the place where we can pick up and go for a weekend trip pretty seamlessly. Adding a canine to the mix tacks on more stuff to my already overflowing to-do list: find pet-friendly accommodations or worry about getting a pet sitter.
We can pile in the minivan on Saturday morning and go…well, wherever. We don’t have to worry about getting home to let the dog out or planning our activities around places where animals are welcome. Adding a dog would be a game-changer, and I’m not ready for that.
3. I clean up enough poop that’s not mine.
There’s really not much more I can say on this one. Despite the “we’ll take care of the dog” chorus that accompanies my small humans’ pleas, I know who would really be the one doing the dirty work. And while I’m certainly not complaining about the level of disorder, noise, and general chaos in my life, I’m not yet in a place where I’m ready to raise my hand and say, “Yes, please! Let’s add some more stuff for me to do.”
4. I think the “every boy needs a dog” line is hooey.
But every boy needs a dog, you say? Uh…no. Lassie is sweet. So is the quirky bond between Charlie Brown and Snoopy. I can squeeze out some tears just thinking about watching Old Yeller. But don’t hand me some kind of gender-biased BS line about my kid needing a certain animal just because he happens to have a Y chromosome. The “every boy needs a dog” cliché just needs to go.
I like dogs. I’m not saying we’ll never have one, but for now I’m firmly in the “not now” camp. I know my own family, and getting a dog right now—especially with all the crazy that Christmas brings—just isn’t the right decision for us. I’ve explained to my kids that Santa doesn’t bring pets. I mumbled something about the sleigh ride being too cold for animals and changed the subject. I’m crossing my fingers that none of my kids’ friends gets a puppy in his/her Christmas stocking.
No, we’re not getting a dog—not for Christmas or anytime soon—and I’m OK with that decision.