I'm fuming. I admit it. In a world where so many pets are abandoned, neglected, or abused (note my Olive above who lost an eye in a puppy mill neglect case), I cannot get my head around an otherwise intelligent human being (we will give this person the benefit of the doubt), writing an article saying, "I used to love my dog but now that I have kids, I wish the dog wasn't here."
Ok. She didn't write that. But she meant it. She meant, "I'm overwhelmed with parenthood and I can't deal with the 'dog' anymore. I should never have gotten a dog."
Mind you, she originally said, "I loved my dog! I was so happy when I got my dog! My dog was my whole life, before I had kids. Now, I can't deal with the kids and the dog. The dog has to go."
Seriously? You took care of this creature for 8 years, doted on him, fed him, bathed him, walked him, and made him the center of your life and now...because things are a bit complicated... you just want to dispose of him? Here's the article so you can have some perspective.
My anger stems from this: I begged for a dog and when I got one, she was my whole life. I was 12, yes, so I didn't have other responsibilities, as I do now. But, I did not evolve into thinking a dog was so much work (oh the feeding, the walking, the attention... wow, how can anyone do that if they have kids?) I couldn't have both, kids and dogs. Actually, I think having kids and dogs go together well. And I felt bad for my friends who didn't have dogs because... they were dirty, too much work, not worth the effort.
I grew up. I got married. I had kids. And, I had dogs. Well, a dog. Just one. My husband wasn't a dog person so... I felt lucky to even have one dog. Not once did I think having the dog was more work than she was worth. In fact, I would have had more dogs, if my husband would have let me. Granted, we weren't the best pet parents - we didn't walk the dog every day, we made her sleep downstairs, not in our room, and we didn't spend a lot on treats or toys, as I do now. But, we loved her and showed that love in a variety of other ways - mostly, lots of attention at home.
The excuse the woman in the Slate article used - "It’s not that I don’t love my dog. It’s just that I don’t love my dog. And I am not alone. A very nonscientific survey of almost everyone I know who had a dog and then had kids now wishes they had never got the dog. This is a near universal truth, even for parents with just one child, though I have more." ...is pure hogwash. I can point to hundreds, nay, thousands of us, who have had both kids and dogs, and not once did we or have we wished we didn't have the dog, or the kid.
I'm going to stop now before I say something I shouldn't. Not because what I'd like to say isn't true, but because I would just break a blood vessel shouting it to the world, where no one would hear me. In the end, I don't understand some of today's parenting methods. A pet is a living breathing intelligent creature and he knows you've traded him for those other creatures, and he isn't angry or mad. He's upset, who wouldn't be? But, guess what... he still loves you. If you think those kids will give you the kind of unconditional love you get from your dog...think again.
Kids are... well, they're people. They have their moments. When they grow up, there are going to be a whole lotta things they will not forgive you for. And, they might even want payback. I don't know. My kids are great - they seem to appreciate the way they were brought up AND that I showed them the value of having pets in their lives. Two of them have pets, one of them doesn't. Because he can't devote the time to them... which is the RIGHT way to do pet parenting - knowing how much love, time and energy you have to go around.
Dogs... totally different in the unconditional love channel. Love you no matter what, to the very end.
My other issue with this topic is this - IF we say this woman shouldn't keep her dog (he's 13 now, and would not do well in a shelter, I'm thinking), what then? Another dog relinquished to a shelter that's already overcrowded? What are his chances in a shelter?
Is this dog better in his 'home' - sad as it is? I think so. But, going forward, this woman needs to stop whining about having to take care of kids and a dog. Seriously. And, she should accept that she is not qualified to have a dog but she has one so do the right thing - give him some love and attention.