Q&A: Should she get a pet?

Karen writes:

"Should we get a pet? My son is 2 and goes crazy when he sees a dog or a cat when we're out walking."

Number 1: It cracks me up when people just flat-out ask me questions about their lives.

Number 2: No. You should not get a pet.

OK, that wasn't really fair. Pets can add so much to your life, and to your child's life. They teach unconditional love, responsibility, and caregiving skills. There is really nothing cuter than a little kid curled up with a dog or cat. (Unless it's my 5-year-old leading a cat rodeo in my apartment this morning at 7 am, which one cat was willingly participating in.)

But they're also money pits, between the food (and cat litter if you have a cat, water supplies if you have fish, etc.) and vet bills. (It's going to take me at least another 3-4 months to recover financially from a vet emergency with one of my cats in June.) And do you have time to walk a dog twice a day? Because you're the one that's going to have to do it. Or clean out the bird cage or rodent cages.

My cats are another part-time job, basically. I think it might be different if there were another adult in my house who'd take some responsibility, or if I lived in a house and could make them go outside sometimes. But there are times when the cats are the final factor that almost push me over the edge of being able to deal.

Readers? What say you? Should Karen get a pet? Do you have a pet? If so, would you do it again? Why or why not? If you don't have a pet, do you wish you had one?

106 thoughts on “Q&A: Should she get a pet?”

  1. YES!!! Get a pet for sure! So many times kids that grow up without pets never learn to like pets. Then as adults they’re afraid of them or just think they’re dirty and they never know the joy of having one. My husband was like this and I made us get a dog and it seriously blows his mind how much he loves her, but he never would have done it if I hadn’t made him.

  2. I am struggling with this same question! My son is still a baby, so I presume he won’t start begging for a pet for several years, but my husband is already begging for a pet! I remember desperately wanting a dog when I was a kid but my mom refused, citing the reasons Moxie lists. Except for two short lived gerbils my house was pet-free. As a grown up, I now don’t care to be around animals. In fact, I’m mildly afraid of them. I don’t particularly want my son to feel the same way, but recently I’ve started to wonder if disliking animals is really so awful. I certainly don’t want him to be cruel to animals, but does it matter if he himself doesn’t want a dog when he grows up? Pets do teach lessons but are they lessons he can’t learn in other ways? I don’t have the answers yet but I’m starting to think a pet just isn’t worth the hassle, money, and personal discomfort I would experience.

  3. OMG…no…don’t do it! So tempting, but the cuteness wears off and the shedding/scratching/chewing/destruction/peeing-on of everything that is precious to you lasts FOREVER. We are finally rid of our two cats (they have moved on to happy forever-homes with my parents) and just have one dog now…which I don’t expect we’ll be replacing when we get to the point where she is not with us anymore. Due to cat pee, vomit, and fur infusion of fabrics, we have had to replace/throw away carpets, furniture, clothing, curtains, and other soft materials. My couch has permanent scratch marks all over the armrest areas, my front door looks like it’s been attacked (in fact it has, from my insane dog that rips into the frame everytime someone walks by on the street), not to mention that I have threatened extermination a number of times for her crazy barking that inevitably comes after FINALLY getting the baby to sleep…All that aside, I think if you do really want a pet, that you should do research on the type of pet as well as the breed to find something that fits. There do exist cats/dogs that don’t shed (albeit I think for cats your only option there is some rare hairless breed…)
    Keep in mind that once you have a pet, if it needs any sort of feeding/walking/maintenance, who will be doing that when you go on vacation? What if you need to work late? Are you going to come home to puddles of pee on your floors? Are your neighbours going to call animal control when your dog barks all day because it’s lonely? Are you prepared for vet bills and other costs? Our dog can only eat this certain kind of vet food (that costs $80/bag and lasts 1-2 months) because anything else gives her some sort of butt gland issues (nasty) due to the lack of fiber…
    I guess what I’m saying is think of all the negatives…and if you can live with that, then go for it. Getting a pet should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision.

  4. It’s hard to tell. :)If you have a friend with a dog/cat that you know & trust (both the friend and the animal) you could offer to pet-sit for them to see how it is in “real life”. It could be that animals are fun to visit but your 2 year old isn’t really ready to have one for keeps.
    You could also wait a few years until the toddler is able to help more with routine tasks (feeding, training, etc.)
    Our 2 year old does help with feeding the dog on the days my high schooler isn’t up early/forgets (it’s his job, normally), and we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that when our current dog is no longer with us, the 2 year old will make us get a new dog. For a long time, dogs were her favorite people.

  5. Well, we have a houseful, courtesy of my job. Two dogs and four cats and we’d have more if my husband hadn’t finally put his foot down.But. Routine veterinary care for us is free (since I can do my own) or cost (supplies, since I don’t own the clinic) or seriously discounted (any specialty care in town gives me a giant discount as a referring vet). That doesn’t negate all of the expenses, but it’s a significant amount.
    If the only reason you want to get a pet is because a toddler likes animals, then I would say no. Any animal you get is going to be your sole responsibility at this age. And this is a particularly hard age to have kids and animals together, so in addition to everything Moxie mentioned, add in the fact that you will have to provide constant supervision every time the kid and the pet are in the same room.
    But if you wait a couple of years, your son will be able to have a say in what kind of pet he would like as well as take some (not all, and not even most) responsibility. Tiring the pet out, since tired pets are good pets, feeding, watering, etc.
    In the meantime, do you have any friends with pets who will let you come over for a visit?

  6. No! If you don’t already know the answer to that question — you’re not dying to get a pet and relishing the extra work — then the answer is definitely no! That’s what I say when the child is little.When the child is in late elementary school/junior high, the parent(s) are hopefully more able to handle the extra responsibility and the child can benefit tremendously from having a faithful companion during what is often a stressful time in his or her social development.

  7. DON’T DO IT. I have a cat and I wouldn’t do it again. I love my cat and had her long before i had my hubby & children. However, she is the pickiest eater of the bunch, is constantly going in & out (which means one of us is always going up & down the stairs to the door to let her in or out) and is just one more mouth to feed, critter looking for hugs and lately I am so spent. I feel like I neglect her (and I do,my hubby is her best friend now) and that leads to mad amounts of guilt on top of everything else. Don’t do it. my two cents. On the positive – the kids learned to be gentle and you can always tell which kids have pets at home.

  8. Easy for me to say, but yes! Get a pet. I, however, live in the country where a) the cat goes outside — we don’t even have a litter box, and b) the cats come to us. We didn’t seek out our current cat. She just adopted us (and we did our best to find her rightful owner first).Moxie is right, however. They are a responsibility and can be a time and money drain. Take that into consideration. But I loves me some kitties, and do not like living without one.

  9. If you have to ask the question, the answer is no.I had a cat from 1996 until just recently when she died. I’ve been astonished at how much cleaner my house feels now that she’s gone. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my cat – but she would step in her litter box and then STEP ON MY COUNTERS or my KITCHEN TABLE and SLEEP IN MY CLEAN LAUNDRY! GAH!! If you’re at all worried about germs and dirt (and what mother isn’t?) I don’t think a cat is the answer. Besides, they don’t do much. They don’t do anything, really.
    I like dogs a lot more, but you might as well be bringing a loaded gun into a house with a two year old. How’s the dog going to react if its tail gets pulled? How’s it going to react if the two year old tries to take its food? You don’t know. It’s a total wildcard.
    We had a preexisting dog when my kids were born, and it was SUPER stressful to bring the first baby home. We held our breath for a good year, year and a half?, before we finally trusted her with the kids – and it was only after she got her tail pulled and her treat taken several times and didn’t react aggressively. We had also had her around children who didn’t live here prior to having kids of our own, and we knew that she had a good temperament for dealing with kids. We knew that she’d never been aggressive with visiting children, and yet we were on edge for a whole year at least (until the baby started walking and doing stuff to the dog, basically).
    The thing is, with a new dog, you’re not going to have that data. You’re not going to know if the dog is good with kids or not. You can get a purebred with a reputation for being good with children ($$$) and hope it’s not inbred and insane (a sad condition of a lot of “puppy mill” type dogs). You can get a mutt puppy and hope that it’s not part pit bull or velociraptor, but if it’s a shelter dog you never really know. You also don’t know what it has been through in its life when you get an older shelter dog, and it’s just a huge risk to take. A lot of those dogs have been abused.
    Finally, your son is at a bad age for a new puppy. I’d wait at least two years before you consider it. Two year olds are nuts, three year olds are worse. With a four year old, you won’t have to be quite as vigilant because he’ll understand when you say, “You MUST be gentle, you MUSTN’T hurt the doggie,” etc. At two, he won’t understand.

  10. We had two dogs and a cat before my daughter came along (though I also have two much older stepsons). Yes animals are a money pit and sometimes its hard to plan a vacation around who is going to take care of them.But they also make great doorbells, thief deterrents (because to everyone else your dog is unpredictable), cuddlers, unconditional lovers, companions, and teachers. They make my kid feel safe, taught her to touch gently, gave her a responsibility (she feeds them).
    And I am puzzled why you place walking a dog as a deterrent. Fresh air! Exercise! Once or twice a day! I live in a very rainy place and there are definitely times when the idea of gearing up to take them out is just not appealing. But by the time I’m halfway through the walk I am so happy I’m out. I feel invigorated by the time I get home again.

  11. We have two elderly cats and at this point, we’re just waiting for them to die. My 3yo son has never been a cat person and is newly phobic about cat puke (which, guess what! happens a lot in our house). On the other hand, my almost 1yo daughter, on the other hand, loves animals so much that she basically can’t fall asleep if the cats are in the room b/c she’s so excited about them. It’s cute, and it almost makes up for the ruined upholstery, shedding, cat puke, and peeing on the bed. Almost.

  12. Eh. I don’t know.I know that small pets are vaguely in danger with kids until the kids are old enough to be excited and love’m up without loving them to actual death (which is 4 or 7, I can’t remember which).
    I remember seeing a very interesting article about choosing a dog based on the kids temperment (running kids = running dog, cuddle kids = cuddle dog) so that there is a chore that is suited for the child to do, but a 2 year old isn’t really helping out indepently yet.
    If you and your partner want a dog, then maybe, but my gut is wait a couple of years.
    Spoken as mom with 2×12 year old dogs, 2x 9 year old cats, and a 2 year old. I have too many bodies that need tending (even though ShortStack can let the dogs in/out and get their kibble sometimes), and a dog and cat that still haven’t gotten over the heartbreak of being usurped.

  13. Ack. The idea of caring for one more living thing 24/7 is giving me hives. I seriously think it would push me over the edge that I am currently teetering on.

  14. Just got a 9 wk siamese mix itten 2 days ago. Our daughter is 4.5, an only child and just made a move with no close-by friends. So far, pretty good. Got great recommendations on what to read, to increase bonding, to prevent naughty kitties, to understand cat body language. This morning When K was playing with the kitten who was obviously desperate to sleep, I told her several times that the kitty was trying to get away to sleep, then Kitty scratched K. K was very angry at everyone. Kitty ended up in the bathroom for a timeout (with pillow, litter, toys and lights on. K came around 30 minutes later having learned a bit of Kitten body language. Mommy and daddy love the kitten. Daddy plays endlessly with her to tire her out, then we put her in bed with DD until we go to bed. Then we take her out so she won’t wake DD at 5 am.So far DD is learning: she is not the center of the universe (sharing our attention), sensitivity to body language, responsibility (she feeds and helps with litter), sharing (she DOES NOT want to give the kitten the toys she bought for her), anatomy and physiology : )
    Hope we made the right choice, DD was lonely, and had always been very gentle and happy with all animals. It did take us a year to commit to the idea, esp because we travel ALOT.
    Good luck with your decision. (PS it is expensive!)

  15. No pets here, mainly because my favorite kind of pet is a big dog and we don’t have the outdoor space or the ability to bring a dog to work right now. A cat would suit our lifestyle better but Mr. C is mildly allergic and my dad is so allergic that it would mean granddad could never step foot in our house again. So that’s out. So I kind of occasionally contemplate the idea of a house rabbit, or just look forward to a nice big dog sometime down the road. Luckily Mouse isn’t begging too much.

  16. NO. Wait until your child is older an can actually help. It’s really a lot of work, both practically and emotionally. We had two dogs and two dogs long before DS was born. Now I am dealing with my 2.75 year old son, two elderly dogs (thinking euthanasia decisions, etc.) complete with a lot of expensive medicines, my stressful full time job, etc. etc. Their hair seriously also adds a lot of housework.

  17. Only you can answer this of course. But, the fact that it seems the reason to get one is “My son is 2 and goes crazy when he sees a dog or a cat when we’re out walking.” doesn’t seem like enough reason. Do you like pets? Do you want one? He loves pets today at 2, but he’s 2. Kids are fickle. He could be neutral or dislike them in a week. You need to think about whether you and the rest of the household are ready for a pet at this point.

  18. If you DO get a pet, PLEASE take my advice and adopt an ADULT PET from a rescue (breed-specific or mutt). By getting an adult, you will know in advance what that dog’s personality is AND you won’t have to survive puppyhood.Pluses: your child (should) learn how to interact (pet, approach, feed, etc.) appropriately with pets, would gain (appropriate) confidence and not fear pets, great way of learning empathy for others, can be lots of fun for the right kid/pet combination.
    Minuses: if YOU personally aren’t ready for MORE things on your daily to-do list and more $$$ out the door, then don’t do it. I would say that on a *minimum* day, our standard poodle and two cats add 30-45 minutes of chores/attention. On a maximum day (ideal dog-walking scenarios, vet runs, supplies shopping), you can add hours.
    Budgeting: (special?) food, flea/tick protection, heartworm meds (for dogs), leash/collar(s), treats, toys, pet-sitting ($20/walk, $40/day sitting), vet bills/immunizations, chronic meds, grooming costs, litterbox supplies.
    I think that even if your kid is older and promises to help, you should reconcile yourself to the possibility of doing it anyway.
    I am a huge animal person (I have a horse too) and NEVER thought I would be one of “those” people for whom animals became purely secondary (and frankly a hassle at times) after the birth of my son. I was sooooo wrong. I love my pets, but a lot of days, they are a lot of drudgery when I’m just exhausted.
    I’m not opposed to the idea at all, but you should really examine the full impact of having a pet, in terms of YOU, YOUR FAMILY, and THE PET. Especially for dogs – if you can’t spare the time to properly exercise and train and interact with a dog, it won’t have a happy ending for anyone. Cats too, but less of a problem unless they are the angry-peeing type.

  19. I’m wondering if Karen is considering having anymore children. If so, the added responsiblity of owning a pet might be too much once a new baby arrives. Especially if the new pet is a cat because she won’t be able to clean out the litter box while she is pregnant.We have a cat, and although I love her dearly I wish I didn’t have her! Our DS loves her and is constantly pulling at her and hitting her with toys which creates a lot of added work for me as I’m constantly having to supervise or separate them (he’s only 9 months and doesn’t understand ‘gentle’). And the hair is everywhere. I have to sweep/vacuum everyday as DS is crawling and ends up with fistfulls of hair.
    I agree with the other comments, maybe wait until your son is old enough to care for the pet on his own!

  20. Get a pet if YOU want a pet. If your husband wants a pet. If you will enjoy having a dog or cat in your lives. If you want a snuggly dog or cat so much that you’re willing to put up with the trouble they cause– tracking in dirt/hair, needing to go out at inconvenient times, requiring trips to the vet, heartworm pills, flea treatment (there is no such thing as a free pet, believe me, even if it’s a stray you find for “free”). Only get a dog if you’re willing (and eager!) to train it to be a GOOD, well-behaved, obedient dog. If you have the time and resources to learn how to be the alpha in your house so your dog doesn’t become obnoxious to everyone.Pets are a lot of work. And a lot of annoyance. It’s beyond worth it if you love the pet like a member of the family. If you don’t….then it’s not.
    If you do decide to get a pet, stick with your decision. My parents bought a beagle when I was 7 or 8. After a few months, they realized it was a poor fit and they gave the dog away. It was TRAUMATIC for me. Do not do that.
    We have a dog and a cat. I love having them, despite the fact that my cat has spent the last week puking up hairballs (disgusting) and I can’t keep my floors clean thanks to the dog tracking in dirt and hair (thank goodness we have wood floors) and if we want to leave for the weekend we have to consider what we’ll do with the animals– we can’t just pick up and go.
    They’re a big commitment. Make sure you get one for the right reasons.

  21. Don’t do it. Not yet. I think growing up with a pet is really valuable, but not at age 2. Get a dog when he can help you care for it — age 8 or 10? Then the dog will live long enough for your kid(s) to really get to know it in a conscious way.Plus, any pet is a big $$ outlay initially and then who knows when you’ll have a vet emergency or whatever. Plus the DIRT (we have one cat and our house would be SO MUCH CLEANER without him) and the DESTRUCTION (claws! teeth! hair!) are infinitely aggravating.
    Keep your life simple right now. Don’t do it yet.

  22. Wow, lots of comments and I don’t have time to read them now. So I’m sorry if I repeat something.I LOVE my two cats, who we had before my son was born, but my advice is to hold off on introducing a pet to your lives for now. Of course I’m saying this not knowing anything about your life other than you have a 2 year old. I do think kids should grow up with pets, but you will be adding a lot of unnecessary chaos and expense to your life if you get one now. Isn’t a two year old enough work?
    I’d wait until the child is older, maybe 4 or 5, and potty trained. I can’t imagine potty training a child and house training a pet at the same time. I’d also wait until there is no likely chance a new baby will be in the picture soon because then the pet will be the last to get needed attention.
    If you absolutely feel you must get a pet now, please go to a reputable shelter and let them help you match a cat or dog to your family and lifestyle. Ideally not a puppy or kitten that needs tons of attention, and hopefully an animal that is safe and happy around young children. There are way too many pets surrendered because owners don’t know what they are getting themselves into.
    If the only reason you are thinking about getting a pet is because your son seems to like animals, maybe you could “befriend” someone with a pet and have “pet play dates” for a while and then think about adopting one when your son is a little older.

  23. Do not get a pet for a 2 yo b/c you will do all the work and the 2 yo will only care about the pet intermittently. Get a pet if you and/or your partner wants a pet. Make sure you know all the ramifications of owning a pet. We had a dog when DS came home and it was great, as DS learned how to be gentle with babies from our dog and loves dogs now. Unfortunately, our dog died, but we will get another dog when we move. However, we would do that anyway because the adults in the house want a dog.If it’s just the 2 yo wanting a dog, then find a neighbor with a dog who will enjoy your DS petting him; maybe you guys can even do some dog walking for an elderly or working neighbor.

  24. Absolutely NOT a dog with a 2 year old. Assimilating a new dog into your family takes the time investment, patience, and consistency of raising a 2 year old. Would you like to have twins right now? Think on that.My husband wrote some very wise words appended to this post of mine.
    I have LOVED our two dogs (the Boxer just died last April, and the Great Dane is getting quite old), but I will be SOOOO relieved when we are “done” with dogs for a while. 🙂

  25. We have cats (4 of them) and there are absolutely pros and cons. We love them, but there are days when the litterbox and the mountains of fur that they shed and the midnight shenanigans and hairballs make it seem Not Worth It. We’ve basically decided that when our cats die, we will be pet-free for a while. We’ve never had a dog, but from what I understand, a new puppy is a lot like a new baby – sleep deprivation and cleaning up messes are suddenly a major part of your life for a while.

  26. NO.Do not get a pet right now, unless it’s a goldfish. If you’re caring for a goldfish properly, there’s a surprising amount of work and money involved, but it’s chump change compared to a cat or a dog.
    Revisit the issue when your son is older. He’ll enjoy it more, you’ll enjoy it more, and the pet will certainly enjoy it more, too.

  27. I have two kittens looking for good homes, if she really wants a pet. :)In all seriousness, I think pets are wonderful, but only if the whole family is committed. It makes me really sad to see pets abandoned after a year when the fun wears off.

  28. If you aren’t the kind of person that keeps pets for yourself, then don’t get a pet while your little one is too young to help with it. Maybe visit the animal shelter and help them socialize the animals there instead. All of our local shelters encourage visitors and will let you walk the dogs, pet the cats etc.If, on the other hand, you just haven’t gotten a new pet after losing a previous one because you were waiting till the baby was bigger, then go ahead. Two is probably old enough to understand how to behave with a pet and not get scratched or nipped too much.
    There’s no way I would have gotten a puppy or kitten while my oldest was that little, though. Too much work for me! But our older cats and Granny’s adult dog were fine and a good experience for her.

  29. Wait… if your son LOVES dogs, find ways for him to see other dogs and touch/play with them. Then get a dog when he is 5 or 6. I think there are responsibility issues and also safety issues.

  30. I would suggest waiting a few years, until your son is really old enough to really want, and ask for a dog or cat. If he keeps asking for a few years, and understands the responsibility it entails, get a pet then. Having a pet is something so many kids wish for, and if they are old enough to remember wishing for it and having it fulfilled, I think that makes it really special and something they will always remember.

  31. When I was in my early 20s and my husband and I had just gotten married, I took on, over the course of a few months, five rabbits. They were mostly abandoned, and I couldn’t help myself. I learned quickly that rabbits are fragile medically, and despite the fact that they can potentially live for more than 10 years I had one die on me every two years for a decade. I was constantly stressed out about which one would be next. By the time I had the final one put down a year and some change ago, I had a preschooler and a baby and I just did not have it in me to deal with sick or decrepit animals anymore. As sad as I was to say goodbye, I felt so utterly liberated.I am utterly worn out from losing so many pets and don’t think I’ll have the emotional capital to take on any more for a long time. As much as mommy loves animals, mommy’s just much happier without pets for now. I fully encourage my kids to appreciate animals, but for the forseeable future it will only be other people’s animals.

  32. I say not at two, but you could find ways for him to enjoy pets at other people’s houses.Two is just not a good time to introduce a pet – the impulse control isn’t there, even at three for most kids, and refereeing isn’t fun. The pet will remember who yanked its tail.
    I’m not anti-pet. We have three cats, down from three cats, a dog, and 3 fishtanks. I have to agree they are messy and work, but I don’t really mind all that – I think HGTV/catalogue living is ruining the good things in life to some extent. But it’s definitely not something to enter to without really wanting to.

  33. As the others have said, only you can decide what is right for your family.But a pet is a huge time commitment. Some weeks, we struggle to do right by our plants… so we won’t be adding any pets anytime soon. Besides, I’m incredibly allergic to cats (to the point that when I used to have to apartment hunt, I could tell within minutes of stepping into an apartment if a cat lived there- I unwittingly “outed” a few tenants breaking the rules that way). So we’d have to have a dog, and I have zero desire to be responsible for a dog right now.

  34. Lots of pros and cons to consider, but I definitely agree with pennifer to get an older pet (not old, just older) and not a puppy (so, so much work!). Especially from a rescue group. If the pet has been fostered at a home than they will know a great deal more about the pet and know if it is a good fit for a home with a small child.If you’re thinking of getting a dog, consider how you picture the pet fitting into your life (travelling with you or no, how much time walking the dog or taking them to a park or do you have room for them to roam, etc.)
    And yes, pets can be really expensive. At any time, but especially as they get older. Always worth it-they’re family, of course!! But still. Expensive.
    Good luck!

  35. I’ve never posted before, but read the comments here every day. This is the first time I thought I might have something to add.My son is 2 and has known our West Highland Terrier since he was born. I would never give up my dog as he was an adopted rescue and we believe in forever homes. However, it is seriously hard with the two of them right now.
    Up until this point, life was good. My son respected the dog and Luke felt the same way about my son. Now that my son is 26 months, he seems to have awakened to the fact that Luke is the best playmate ever and is constantly kicking, poking and otherwise not “playing nice” as we would like.
    We knew this was coming. We thought we would be ok with the constant reprimands and time outs. We thought we could teach him to be nice with the dog and touch gentle. But the thing is…he just doesn’t get it yet. He sees the dog as this awesome thing to play with and kicking is playing. Westies don’t see it that way and sometimes nip when provoked. So, the gates go up unless under constant supervision.
    The advice here has been great. Dogs are wonderful for kids. I would not have done things differently in our case since we already had our pooch. However, if given the choice I would recommend waiting until your child can really comprehend “hurting” something. It is not fair to the dog. It is also not fun having to put up a gate when the pooch really just wants to hang with everyone.
    Of course, it is just completely adorable to see my son’s face light up with joy as he throws the ball and Luke brings it back. Such pure love between them both.
    This too shall pass and then I will be worried about something else…

  36. In a previous child-less life before the miracle that was DD occurred I volunteered a lot at the local animal shelter. I also ran a de-facto nursing home for elderly cats in my house.Ahem, I also had rabbits in the garden, and hamsters and gerbils at one stage. The staff would say they’d have to put them down and well, sentimentality won out.
    Then finances did and I had four cats, old ones, for over eight years as a settled “family”.
    I loved, loved the cats and there were several that are dearer to me still in memory than any of my relations. The folk wisdom that ” those who early loved in vain, use the cat to try again” was very true in my case.
    Wearing my volunteer hat I can say that the most common reason for cats to come into care was that they didn’t get along with the small child(ren) that came along. Or the kids got asthma, or they couldn’t afford the vet bills. Or kitty lost litter-training after baby came.
    The bills for my cats chronic conditions and dramas like urinary blockages and a hiatal hernia that needed a specialist after years of trying to get the vet to do something cost thousands and thousands.
    That’s extreme. Most people will have many problem free years with their cat or dog before the old age and expensive failing organs set in. But veterinary care mirrors human care and more and more can be done for older and more fragile pets.
    I couldn’t spend the money or time I did then now. As it happens my cats died of extreme old age before I got pregnant, just.
    One great thing of the feline elder-care facility was that looking after the baby was actually easier. That’s not a joke.
    Litter trays and accidents, administering pills and potions to clawed and fanged patients, the routine of the special diets, the need to stability all were a training ground. I’d do it all again for the feline friends I had.
    But if Karen really, really wants a pet that she will look after 100% of the time, if she is ready for the considerable expense that comes with the pet, if she can see herself loving the pet for twenty or more years even if the pet doesn’t get on with her child while doing all the chores herself then yes,look around for an animal friend.
    It really is wonderful to grow up with a nice cat or dog pal. But it’s unrealistic to expect any child to look after a living animal until at least age 8. No youngster has the pocket money for vet bills for kidney failure. Pets are for adults to care for and be responsible for. Pets are not toys.
    So if Karen didn’t want a pet until her toddler became interested I’d advise to keep admiring others’ pets.

  37. I think parents should only get a pet if they want to have a pet. Pets and kids can live together quite happily, but “doing it for the kids” is wrong for many things.

  38. My daughter has always loved dogs, even though we don’t have one (my in-laws do). There’s a local park where lots of people come on the weekend and let their dogs run around off-leash. This is generally a wonderful place to let little kids interact with dogs – the owners tend to very aware and alert, and the sorts of dogs who get brought to off-leash areas are very sociable. Obviously you need to stay near the edges of the area, and only approach a dog whose owner is right next to it, but we’ve had a lot of fun. The owners are usually there to socialize, want to talk about their dogs, and are interested in having their dogs interact with children.

  39. The way the question is asked causes me to pause on suggesting a family get a pet. “Should get a pet,” is the wrong way to think of it. We have a little dog whom we all love and she is not very difficult to care for. She only adds to our family. She is my constant companion when things get rough with my life. When my son was a newborn he would cry in the car so I would take my dog with me to keep me calm and it worked. Having said that pets need love and if the whole family is not on board 100% it is not good for the animal. We have a dog because I want a dog not because it’s good for the baby. I am so saddened when I see families get a pet and neglect it because the pet has become too much trouble to care for. I also think a big mistake is to get a puppy or a kitten! If you want an easy pet, get an adult one. They are usually trained and don’t require as much work. When I got my dog, she was already potty trained, leash trained and knew some commands. It’s easy to find out if the pet you are adopting will integrate with your family. I picked Roxie because she allowed me to roll her over on her tummy easily which means that she is submissive and allowed me to tug (gently) on her ears and tail. I wanted to make sure she would not snap at me. Usually the people at the pound can help you pick out a pet that would be easy once you tell them what your family is looking for.Don’t get a pet unless you think you would really love to have a pet and care for one because in the end, most of the responsiblity will be on you.

  40. Ok, I grew up in a house with pets and to me, a house is not a home with out some little furries.But, a word to the wise: DO NOT GET A PUPPY WHILE YOU HAVE A TWO-YEAR OLD. We made that mistake last year afte our 11 year old german shepherd died. We then went through about 9 months of absolute hell corralling the two of them, dealing with typical 2 year old stuff AND typical puppy stuff.
    If we had it to do over, we would still get another dog, but go to a shelter and pick a nice older (read 2 years+) dog who is potty trained, gentle and needs a home. We do think its important for our son to have a relationship with animals but a puppy was too. much.
    We love our puppy now (she’s 1) but its been a hard, stressful time for all of us.

  41. Ummm… no. If your 2 year old is anything like my 2 year old, their likes and dislikes are fleeting and flighty. Do you really want to make a fifteen+ year commitment based on the whims of a 2 year old?Pets can add a lot to a family, but they are a huge responsibility. They do require one-on-one time daily (especially if you get a dog), they can be expensive, they can be messy, and they can complicate your life a lot. We have a dog and a cat and while we love and adore them, they certainly add complexity.
    DON’T do it unless you are CERTAIN.

  42. I vote not right now. I think pets are really, really fun when kids are a little bit older and can help take care of them. For now, just have “playdates” with some pet people or take trips to the pet store!

  43. Don’t get a pet unless YOU want one. I love love love our 2 cats and 1 dog – they are solidly part of our family – but they are MY responsibility and I am fine with that. I got them for ME. Getting a pet for my kid would make me resentful – pets are a ton of work.I will say that cats are a bit less work in that you don’t have to board them when you go out of town and they don’t need to be walked. I will NEVER get another puppy. Potty training and just generally training a dog to be a pleasant dog to have around is a PIA. I would rescue an adult dog after a thorough interview with the foster family and a trial run.

  44. I’m an animal person and couldn’t imagine a life without my pets. I’ve pretty much always had somebody around cats have come and gone and some pretty fabulous dogs live with us. We did get them as puppies and I have done shelter in the past but my thinking was that I could help shape them to be child friendly. So we did a ton of socialization, I did a lot of training around the food bowl so much that my son can take food away from them and they don’t so much as whine about it. That said we got lucky and its sort of a gamble so I can see the point of getting an older dog you can judge their disposition. Long story short in my opinion I’d wait till your child is a little older and/or your done having children. There is a lot of work and a lot of reward to owning these sweet additions to our lives but there is a lot of poop, pee and chewed shoes(countless) and they like the real leather ones…. I did all that before we got pregnant and couldn’t imagine doing it with my almost 2 year old. I’d find some nice neighborhood dogs to visit and do some zoo visits for a while.

  45. I agree with the sentiment that all children should be exposed to pets. My son loves cats and dogs and knows how to be gentle with them (thanks mostly to our two unenthusiastic cats who lash out when he’s not careful). My bro- and sis-in-law “aren’t animal people” and it’s frankly kind of sad to see how this has translated into their kids being scared of/repulsed by friendly neighborhood dogs, etc.However *just this morning* one cat (the yowler) woke up my toddler at 5:06 a.m. and when we stumbled into the living room we discovered the other cat (the scratcher) had somehow managed to get his claws into the new, not-cheap, allegedly “scratch-proof” sofa.
    And so I also agree with Moxie that it’s the cats more often than anything else that push me dangerously close to the edge of sanity.

  46. Should OP get a dog/cat/something else furry? I have no idea. We have a lab and our kids ages 3 and 19 months love the dog and I think the dog mostly loves them.The downside is our dog barks at passing cars, ups man, neighbors, etc and usually during nap times. And she sheds and thinks we, the humans, are here solely to entertain and play with her.
    On the upside she is a awesome watch guard with a mean bark. She is the first to know when someone is here. She forces us to exercise most days and the house is SO lonely if she isn’t here.

  47. Not now. Wait. Wait until hrs at least 5 or 6 and can do more to help.I have a 3yo and a 1yo. Our last cat just had to he put down in March. It was incredibly difficult and hard for me and DH. However, now that we are petless? OMG our lives are easier. No worrying about feeding changing the litter or feeling guilty if we don’t pay enough attention to him.
    I understand where you are coming from and others who say that you should get a pet. I think a pet should be a part of growing up. Just not this young.

  48. I have to do this. I apologize if it’s inappropriate (please delete if you need to – no offense), but this thread reminds me of an old joke…A priest, a minister, and a rabbi were asked when life begins.
    Priest: “Life begins at conception.”
    Minister: “Life begins at birth.”
    Rabbi: “Life begins when the kids go to college and the dog dies.”

  49. I feel really bad for my cats because they don’t get very much attention now that we have the baby. Unless you want the pet for yourself and have time to spend with it, don’t do it.

  50. We had a dog which we eventually put down as it attacked my mother-in-law ( either the dog went or she did -t’was a difficult decision to make! )My husband, the animal lover, wanted a new one IMMEDIATELY, but we need to wait for the trauma of the attack to wear off. Well now after 2.5 years, we still aint got no dog, and it is my husband, the dog lover, who wants a dog the least. No more dog s..t to pick up in the yard. No more guilt that we haven’t brought doggy out for a stroll. No more fear that doggy is going to turn on my offspring.@Kate
    ha ha!!

  51. Um, no. Unless of course you have vast financial resources to spend, & lots and lots of extra time. But even then, if you didn’t have the pet before the kid that tells me you probably aren’t really a pet person so much as you are caught up in the idea that every kid needs a pet – an idea, by the way, that has lead to the neglect, abuse, and abandonment of countless pets! A better idea is “Never Give A Pet As A Gift.”What @Angela said “No! If you don’t already know the answer to that question — you’re not dying to get a pet and relishing the extra work — then the answer is definitely no!”
    Plus what @Sharon said about the reasoning “The fact that it seems the reason to get one is ‘My son is 2 and goes crazy when he sees a dog or a cat when we’re out walking’ doesn’t seem like enough reason.”
    And what @Jessica said “I feel really bad for my cats because they don’t get very much attention now that we have the baby. Unless you want the pet for yourself and have time to spend with it, don’t do it.” Ditto for me except I have a dog instead of a cat, who pre-dates my kids.
    And what if your kid turns out to be allergic?? Noooo!!!!

  52. I had a sarcastic page-a-day calendar that said it best:”Like boxes of shit in your house?!? Get a cat!”
    For a dog it could read:
    “Like shit streaks on your carpet!?! Get a dog!”

  53. I agree with @hush, 100%. Before we had BabyT, our dogs were our babies. I joked that if BabyT didn’t like them, we’d send *her* back.Now that she’s here, I still love the pups, of course, but now I feel like there are 3 needy creatures (dogs + baby) constantly looking for my attention and it’s overwhelming.
    I have constant guilt about not spending enough time with the pups, and our guys are older and don’t even need much exercise/maintenance. I can’t even imagine what we’d do if we had a young, high-energy dog.
    I’d suggest the OP waits until her kid is in elementary school and can reasonably help take care of a pet. In the meantime, take him to a nearby park, or hang out with friends who have pets so he can learn to be gentle with them and get his “animal fix”.
    I think having pets is one of those things where if you’re not sure if you should get one, the answer is ‘no’. It’s more like getting a new member of the family, than buying a new toaster.

  54. My childhood dog was a mixed breed. We raised her from puppyhood–I was 8. It was a good age, I think. I was able to feed and walk her, although my parents definitely had to help (both by doing some of it and reminders for me).She was an amazing pet; she lived for 16 1/2 years.
    My husband and I are both dog people, but there are probably a dozen reasons why we don’t have one right now and won’t in the near future. Some day, though, when the kids can get themselves out the door in the morning with minimal fuss, when we have more space, we’d love to have a dog.
    I have a friend who told me, “You’ll know when I’m done having kids because we’ll get a dog.” I kind of agree–I think pets and little ones at the same time are a hard road.

  55. First, I think pets are a great part of a family. I have two dogs — a shelter collie mix and a hurricane Katrina rescue Chihuahua mix who are 6 and 5 respectively. We also have a 20 month old in the house. I love my dogs and I think of our family as a family of five (Mom, Dad, baby, 2 dogs),but my dogs are a ton of work and when they get sick can cause major stress in the house. I think dogs can be a really great part of a family, but can only work if you are ready.That being said, getting a new dog with a toddler in the house sounds like a nightmare. I got both of my dogs when they were puppies and the first year of puppyhood was tough. Furniture was destroyed and accidents were had on the carpet all the time. I can’t imagine having a new dog with my son in the house.
    My advice is to wait until your son is older — at least 4 and then pick out a dog. I highly recommend shelter pets, but be prepared for separation anxiety and other issues many shelter pets have. Some day a dog will be a great part of your family, but right now might not be the right time.

  56. Also, as a non-dog person, I get so tired of people judging me for not being excited when their dogs jump on me or my frightened children. I get it that your relationship with your pets is valuable to you, but I resent you assuming that there is something wrong with me that I feel differently. I feel like a little of that has been introduced here today, and it is icky.

  57. I asked a childless-but-considering coworker, who asked me what it was like to add a baby to the family, if she’d ever adopted a puppy. I honestly think it’s not that different (though I bet puppies sleep through the night a lot sooner than my daughter did.) So, do you want another kid?My husband and almost-7 year old are dying for a puppy. But: nobody is home in our house for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. Dogs have a smell, they shed, they make a mess. If we do get a dog any time soon, it will be a medium-sized, middle aged dog (like, a 5 year old mid-sized poodle.) But then, who would be giving up an easy dog like that?
    My son (4) is a cat person like me. We have a very low-maintenance cat, who has still not forgiven us for having children. (Ever seen a cat do a double-take? Mine did when we brought the 7 year old home.) I actually think it’s more likely we’ll get 2 kittens than a dog at any point in the next 10 years.

  58. I used to love our pets (2 cats and a dog) but I now spend most of the day pissed off at them. Since the baby arrived the extra work of the mess (dog is a constant shedder) and the insistence of the cats to be on me while I nurse just makes me angry. And of course I feel guilty that I don’t give them the attention they deserve.Pets are great when there are no babies or toddlers in the house.

  59. Wait until he’s 5 and can help take care of the pet. He probably goes crazy when he sees an airplane too. And you’re not getting one of those. 2 year olds are crazy about lots of things. Go to the petstore and look at the animals there. And then go home. :)Plus, if you are even considering another baby, WAIT.

  60. If your kid is two, get a pet only if YOU want a pet. Otherwise, take him to the pet store and on walks and to friends’ houses to ooh and aah over their pets.We are pet people and have always had at least a dog (currently we have two dogs and a cat). If you love animals, it’s a fun thing to pass on to your children, but having an animal isn’t going to magically make them responsible people.
    We’re going through this now because my 6-year-old wants her very own pet. We’re considering getting her a kitten, but only after she’s taken responsibility for our existing cat for several months to show us she’s willing to do what needs to be done. (We will pay for food, litter and vet needs and I will clip toenails, but for the rest she’s on her own.) It’s super important to us that she not see a pet as another thing to buy because Other Kids Have It, but as committing to having another member of the family.
    So I say we do not have enough information from the OP to answer the question. 🙂

  61. YES! My son’s biggest lessons in empathy and gentleness have come from learning how to interact with our cat. Their relationship is so wonderful to see. When he’s older (and we have a bigger place) we’ll get him a dog. Animals add so much richness to life.

  62. Pennifer really nailed it! This is a decision that takes a lot of thought and research. Do your homework, don’t just give in to a two year olds whim. And please, RESCUE if you can. Dogs and cats are put down in this country every day because we think that animals are expendable.

  63. Sorry – didn’t finish that thought.If you are already stretched thin, wait on the pet thing.
    If you are planning on having more babies, wait on the pet thing.
    At this stage in your child’s life not only are you going to do all the work to take care of a pet, but you are also going spend a fair amount of effort trying to protect the kid and critter from hurting one another.

  64. My gut reaction was “no” because it’s indeed costly and they aren’t as clean as you may like them (but then, so are little boys) and they can do damage to your house (as do little boys). I also thought “no” because we got cats last year and my oldest, 5 then, has been kinda rough on them (we really had to watch him around them to be sure he didn’t inadvertently hurt them).HOWEVER, our youngest son, then 2, has been awesome with them. Partly that’s his temperament, partly it’s that he’s just not as fast as the cats are and in general more hesitant than a 5yr old is. 2 is a great age to get pets. If you’re going to, now is a good time in my experience.

  65. Wow, I thought there would be more yes answers! But at least I don’t feel so guilty that our two dogs are STILL getting the shaft attention-wise, and my daughter is almost 1.5. Getting a new pet when your child is so young is going to take more effort overall than waiting a year or two. And I second the sentiment to consider an adult pet from a shelter (we have two 50 lb. shepherd mutts from the ASPCA). However, if my daughter starts having trouble sleeping and wants/needs a live companion, we have two enthusiastic and cuddly sleeping buddies to do the job (so I don’t have to – fingers crossed). Plus she is simply crazy about them, and vice-versa.Good luck with your decision.

  66. Getting a pet is a very personal decision. What is right for YOUR family? Do you want to deal with the extra care involved? And yes, they are a money drain–routine visits, vaccinations, food, etc. They cost a lot. On the other hand, there is SO MUCH LOVE. I mean, incredible amounts of love.I started out with 2 cats (both are 12 years old now) in college. Met my husband and eventually we got dogs when we had a house with a yard–we started with one dog and now we have 3. And they are big dogs too, all rescues from local shelters or rescue organizations. We have been lucky that they are sweet, loving, everything you hope a rescue will be.
    We also have a 2 year old daughter and a 3.5 month old son. My daughter is crazy for all the pets. She adores the cats and can’t get enough of the dogs. I know she will be an animal lover and I’m so glad we have instilled that in her. She goes nuts for dogs anytime, anywhere. I hope my son is the same way.
    So for me, pets are positive. I don’t care about the money (and it really adds up with 5 of them). I am never alone, never lonely and my children will hopefully learn life lessons (how to treat others fairly, be nice, responsibility, etc.)
    Make no mistake, though, my house is crazy most of the time. Between a 2 yr old, a baby and 3 dogs, it is LOUD. And my neighbors probably hate us. That’s ok, though, because I feel the same way. Ha!

  67. If you don’t want SaracastiCarrie’s pet, you could have one of my cats. I loved them to pieces before we had kids. Now they are just work. And one of them has decided he doesn’t want to use his litter box, which is disgusting. And they eat really expensive prescription cat food.If they dropped dead, I would not get any more.

  68. I find one cat to be very pleasant and easy addition to the home. At one point we had a dog, three cats, and a 50 gallon tank of fish. It was TOO MUCH TOO MUCH TOO MUCH. Now we have 2 children, one female cat who has no bad habits, and the tank full of danios and cories and it is very very pleasant. Groucho spends a lot of time outside, she kills mice, rabbits, and squirrels, she asks to be pet a couple times a day, she doesn’t get on tables or counters. We’ve had her since the day she was born and she’s 12.

  69. The best thing we ever did was get TWO kittens. Litter mates! The runt and another female. They’ve mixed beautifully with our 4 yr old and 1 year old male cats.Yes, the vet bills are a pain. Yes, litter and poop are a pain. Yes, cats scratch (PLEASE, please, please don’t declaw – it is the equivalent of cutting off a humans finger at the first knuckle!)
    BUT – if you are truly prepared to get a pet, those are things you should expect and be willing to deal with for many years.
    We love watching our kitties grow, and as the kids grow, they are learning the responsibilities of pet ownership. Plus, who can resist a kitty/doggie snuggle?!

  70. I LOVE animals. I was pre-vet in college.But I have a vet appt tomorrow because the cat we had to give away due to my son’s severe allergies (the cat lives with my sister) is puking up hairballs tainted with blood. This is the same cat that blocked up when my son was born ($3000+) and then had pancreatitis about a year ago ($1500+) and now. Well, now if it’s anything more than a couple hundred dollars, we will have to say a sad goodbye to the poor cat. Because we also have a dog and for my 30th birthday, I came home to a house full of blood and a bawling husband because the dog had sliced his leg (almost) off on landscape edging. He recovered fully thanks to $5000+ at the emergency vet and monthly check-ups at our local vet. Then last summer he cut himself running in a creek, which got super infected ($600+). Then we had to go get his growths check out to see if they’re cancerous ($450+).
    Noticing a theme here? This doesn’t not even address the $70/mo in special diet the cat gets, or the cost of feeding a 70lb dog.
    Granted, I’m the kind of person who *takes care* of her animals. I signed up for the responsibility and I fulfill it as best I can. I don’t feed the dog cheap grocery store brand dog food. And he gets his heartworm meds, and his fish oil every night. And his glucosamine.
    Now, if you’re still reading – if the above litany of financial burdens did not cause your eyes to glaze over – then you should absolutely get a pet. And if a cat fits your lifestyle better I say go with that, but personally, I find dogs to be much more child-friendly. They don’t call them man’s best friend for nothing. Plus I don’t miss the whole cat box thing one single bit.

  71. My aging high-needs (pills 2x day, allergic to regular food) cats nearly sent me over the edge when my twins were born. I knew I was verbally taking out my frustrations on them (well, one of them was left by that time) when one of my twins started jumping up and down on the couch cheerfully yelling “F***ing Cat, F***ing Cat” while I was struggling with changing the other recalcitrant twin. I’ve since stopped swearing at the cat (mostly), but sworn no more pets for a long time. I love my remaining cat, but I’m kind of waiting for her to shuffle off her kitty coil. To boot, one of my sons is allergic to her, acc to tests, but I figured no biggie, she’ll die soon. That was 2 years ago…

  72. I have read some but not all the comments so might be repeating here, but here’s my 2 cents:Lots of kids only go crazy for OTHER peoples’ pets. Their own pets are same-old-same-old and boring.
    My husband and I both never had pets growing up. When we married, we got a cat. One year later, a dog. These were the best treated animals ever. 7 years later we had kids.
    Now I barely notice the cat. If he disappeard, it might take me days to notice. I feel incredibly guilty about this, but its true. The dog, who used to go to doggy daycare at least once a week and got walked at least once a day, is now lucky to get a walk once a week. And she’s sad about it, I can tell. More guilt over this. The animals deserve better than we can give them right now.
    And my 3 year old likes both of them, maybe even loves them, but doesn’t get excited over them like she does about other peoples’ pets.

  73. Cats at least can be extremely low maintenance. Mine have a cat door and go outside for their business, so basically for the price of feeding them twice a day (which my 3.5 year old boys do with my help) and cleaning up a bit of cat hair, I get lots and lots of cuddles, tons of incredibly cute moments, and the pure joy of sometimes relaxing on the couch at night with one curled up in my lap, the other by my side, both purring away. I’m lucky in that they’ve both been very healthy. Just after the boys were born one of them started spraying inside the house, and that has been the only negative I can think of. They got on counters too but I used this motion-sensing beeping thing and that trained them quickly. Let’s just say I’m so attached to my cats I just spent a fortune moving them internationally so they could continue to be a part of our lives as my boys grow up. BUT, if you’re not a cat person, or don’t think you could be, I wouldn’t recommend getting one just for your son.

  74. If you have a two-year old and are asking if you should get a pet then no, you should not get a pet (now). If you were someone who should, you’d already know it. When your kid’s old enough to be seriously involved in pet choosing and pet care, that may change (but make no mistake: you’ll be the one caring for the animal at 3 in the morning when it’s vomiting, and once your kid leaves for college).I have 2 large dogs and a 3-year old and wouldn’t dream of things being different, but that’s me. If you’re asking this question, you’re not me.
    (Though, in disagreement with Moxie, large vet bills can’t be completely ruled out but aren’t guaranteed, either, and if you live where I do you don’t actually have to walk the dogs, ever (though I do walk them when I feel like it), you just kick them out into the fenced back yard). And when we get a screen porch built, we’ll get cats too; for now, I don’t want to deal with cats that have to go outside and I don’t want to deal with an indoor litter box either. But depending how your life’s organized and where you live, animals don’t necessarily have to be a lot of work.

  75. The bottom line is that pets really do complicate your life, no matter how much you love them. Yes they are great for teaching your kids unconditional love and responsibility, but having a sane mom is also good for children.

  76. I really really really loved my dogs before I had children. One dog passed away when my first son was still an infant leaving us with just the other dog. I hate to say this and dog lovers will cringe but I really wish we didn’t have any pets at this point. I have a 3yo and a 1yo.The yard – there is always poop in it regardless of how often the dog is walked. My husband isn’t great about picking it up. When it rains the yard is wet, the dog runs on the grass and tears it up. Mud everywhere. We have to wipe her feet before she comes in the house. She kills the grass with her pee, again, regardless of how often we walk her.
    The house – there is hair everywhere which SUCKS when you have a crawling baby. I vacuum once a day. Again, regardless of how often we brush her. We have her groomed. We furminate her. Does not matter. She also scratched the wood floor, even with clipped nails!
    Vet bills – vet bills are expensive, even just for routine meds and shots. If she gets sick it can be a $500 expense. I can find other things to spend that money on.
    Dog food – it’s expensive, especially if your dog ends up having a skin issue, allergies, sensitive stomaches.
    Vacations – forget them unless you can bring the dog or have someone watch it. We kennel our dog at times which is half of our vacation expense.
    I do love our dog and the kids really love having her around, but with my husband working full time it’s a chore I’d prefer not to have.

  77. We adopted a cat from the humane society just before we found out that I was pregnant with my first child. He moved with us from the apartment, the first house and then he lived in this house too. He was my first “baby.”That was, until we found out that DD#2 was very allergic and her allergy was increasing so quickly and so severely that we went from a little Zyrtec to recommended weekly shot therapy within 6 months.
    I searched everywhere for a home for him, and the temporary placement we had for him failed. We ended up taking him back to the humane society and I’m assuming because he was 12+ years old, he was put down.
    I still miss him.
    It is a painful thing to miss an animal that was part of your family. My youngest DD still draws pictures of him daily (this has been 2 years now) and tells us she misses him.
    Please make sure no one in your family is allergic before you bring a pet into your lives.

  78. As much as I love pets, I say NO unless you are 100% prepared for all of the responsibility! My husband wants a dog so very much. He also works a job that has him out of town an average of 15 days a month. I work fulltime with a 40 minute commute each way to work. I’ve told him that he can have a dog when he gets a job that allows him to be home everynight! I don’t need/want anything else to care for and I would hate to leave a dog locked up for 10+ hours each day while I’m gone.

  79. I think everyone has covered the pros and cons of getting pets with kids. I just wanted to chime in and be one of the few people to caution about adopting older pets. I realize (quite well) that there are many, many older dogs and cats in need – but shelter animals who’ve been around the block, dogs especially, can have a lot of psychological problems, and can take a lot more work and training due to abandonment issues or past abuse. Not that puppies aren’t (tons of) work, obviously, but you’ll know they’ve grown up in a loving home with all the necessary training and socialization. Cats are a little different – it’s very possible to get older cats who are sweet and loving and just what you always wanted. But their personalities are well-established if you adopt them when they’re older, and it’s not always possible to tell how they’ll act in YOUR home around YOUR family, no matter what the adoption center or foster parent says. You could think you’re bringing home a loving lap cat, and end up with one who never leaves the bedroom closet. Or hides from your child. Or pees on your bed when feeling angry or abandoned. While all cats have distinct personalities, I honestly think that a kitten raised with you and socialized in your home is a lot more likely to get along with everyone in the family.Of course, I’m not saying go out and buy purebreds or kittens from a pet store – plenty of shelters and adoption centers get litters of kittens and puppies during the spring. I’m also not saying no one should adopt older animals – I’ve done it and might consider doing it again in the future. I’m just pointing out that they can actually be more work in the long run, requiring an even greater commitment and causing more long-term frustration than a puppy or kitten would in the short time that they’re that young.

  80. No! Don’t get a pet! When my son was born, we had two cats, one that died shortly after. In a weak moment, we went in search of a new cat at the animal shelter. Since that day, we have had two cats again. One black/white and one white/orange. So we have all bases covered in fur. I can sweep my wood floors in the morning, and by the afternoon the floor is covered in little white needles, and my sofas are covered in clumps of black fur. This is the daily bane of my life, and that doesn’t cover food, cat litter and vet bills. Don’t do it!

  81. I got a cat when I graduated from college and I totally regret it now! Cat hair, cat barf, cat poop, one room practically devoted to the litter box, ruined our expensive couch and chairs. I would only advise a person to get a cat if they live in the country or have a very large house. Renting with cats is even WORSE. You’ll pay a huge premium and most of the best places won’t allow any pets at all. However, for the few seconds that our cat allows our son to play with him, my son really has a great time.

  82. I’m not sure what I can add to the comments except another personal anecdote but in my view the answer is NO.After deciding it was looking like we were going to be child-free, we got a puppy. It was great (albeit expensive and messy)- and I had just enough time to fall in love with the puppy and get quite attached when oh look! I got pregnant. Then I was too sick and too exhausted a lot of the time to care for the dog as I would have liked. Big disappointment, all around. Lots of guilt. We moved house before the baby was born and the dog hated the new place and would freak out and barkbarkbark his yappy head at everything. When the baby arrived, I was a basket case trying to keep him quiet so the baby could finally get to sleep or to run down the stairs with a baby clamped to my boob to let the dog out.
    I ended up constantly pissed off at the poor dog, who started acting up even more. Plus, I kept reading lurid stories in the paper about hitherto placid dogs who had suddnely mauled small children to their death or permanent disfigurement. The scary thing was, I could imagine such a thing happening with my dog.
    Of course the last straw was when the baby’s daddy took off and left me with a non-sleeping ten month old baby AND the dog. Gee, thanks. There was way I could take care of both. The dog ended up going to his parents and I have never seen him again (the dog, that is. Am still stuck seeing the baby’s daddy from time to time). More guilt, more loss. It broke my heart even more.
    In short, the idea of a pet (or a baby) can be very different from the reality. Consider very, very carefully if you can handle the latter.

  83. No, no, no. Wait a while. Like five years.We have a 10 year old sweet lab. She is the quintessential “Marley” dog and was basically our first born. After six years, we started having children and she went to the back burner. It wasn’t something we could have foreseen. The dog still bring us all joy and is loved and part of the family, but she has cost us a fortune in unexpected vet bills and now seems like more work than fun.
    Sorry to be negative, but it’s a real pain the ass to have a dog once you have children. I’m just sayin.

  84. Wow. Came back to read additional comments and just two more quick thoughts … one, exposure to animal hair (and hey, we got it) correlates with reduced asthma in kids. Personally I’m pretty sanguine about its presence (hair, not asthma); other posters clearly aren’t, there is an upside. Two, I’ve been pretty positively astonished by how well our Roomba dirtdog ($99!) picks up (phenomenally copious) dog hair. In case anyone’s looking for a solution or at least an easy improvement.

  85. No, No, NO.We got a kitten a year ago, after my then-3-yr-old started expressing massive adoration for the neighborhood cats. She doesn’t have a sibling, so we thought, “Oh, this will help her learn to be compassionate, share attention, take care of something …” I had always had pets, and we both missed our beloved cat who’d gone missing years before.
    Within a week, we were at the vet ER spending $800 because the kitten wouldn’t walk on her back legs. Diagnosis: “unknown source of pain” and some pain meds. Within three months, back to the vet we went for spaying, shots, microchip, etc etc, to the tune of $400. (Which we expected, but after the vet bill it really stung.) Then a month later, back to the vet ER for vomiting/lack of appetite. Another “unknown” diagnosis and another $400.
    Then we went into six months of the hellish kitten stuff (waking up all night long, scratching the furniture, climbing our clothes, and so on).
    Recently, we left for three days and came back to an absolutely flea INFESTED house. She’s an inside cat – it’s just a bad year for fleas in our region. We have spent about $400 on flea medications, spray, baths, traps, and so on — our daughter was absolutely covered in bites across her back (I thought they were mosquito bites — didn’t realize the fleas had been FEEDING ON HER as the cat slept next to her the week before). It’s taken us two months to get rid of them, and all of our ankles are covered in bites scars.
    The furniture is covered in hair, our nicest chair is shredded, and just when I got my daughter potty trained, I am now committed to dealing with poop and pee that smells far worse than hers ever did, for years to come.
    I had lots of pets growing up, always loved them, totally respect the companionship and bond between animals and their humans. But in retrospect, this was a terrible time in our life to bring in another set of responsibilities, costs, and problem-solving to our household.
    Wait until your child is older, get a nice, cuddly, trained, older cat at the Humane Society. That’s my two (bitter!) cents.

  86. Oh, one more thing — like the above comment, our cat has all sorts of behavior issues that I know would be solved if she had more attention, but we simply aren’t home all day. We’ve thought of getting another cat for company … but OMG.

  87. yes! by all means, get a pet. preferably a dog. your child will have a playmate for years to come. and then get a kitteh for your dog to cuddle. i wouldn’t wait till the kid was old enough for ‘responsibility’ as the chores can be added in a few at a time or singly. for instance, your child can give the dog water at dinnertime every night (with your prompting). i think it’s important for children to learn to care for animals, and many take such delight in doing so.

  88. Dude. Don’t get a pet just for your child! It has to be for the family, which includes YOU.Listen, we are the House of Vermin over here – sea monkeys, cats, dogs, tarantulas and a fish.
    But! I am okay with all of those animals and ALL of them were carefully considered. However, I have limits. No snakes (not because of the snake itself, but the fact that I will not be driving to the pet store for feeder mice). When my son can drive himself to get feeder mice, then he can have his snake.
    We are considering a crested gecko next. I have been researching lizards for over a YEAR and a crested gecko is okay for our family. It was a careful consideration that has included much research and thought into how we would take care of the animal.

  89. Please think long and hard. Here our shelters are FULL. As people are losing their homes and jobs, they are dumping their pets at shelters. It’s heartbreaking. A pet is a responsibility you will have for YEARS.

  90. YES!!! You can have my 2 dogs who are dirty and shed everywhere and bark and wake up the baby constantly. Send me your address!!

  91. I’m with @MrsHaley and others who say ‘Yes, but not yet’. If you’re considering a dog, I would wait AT LEAST until your DS is five, if not older.We have a cat and a dog. Got them both from a no-kill SPCA before DS was born. We love them. Especially the dog. Oh, the poor cat! He always gets the shaft. But he has a lot more annoying habits ;). But seriously, the number one reason I would wait in getting a dog (if that’s what’s being considered) is the time it takes. We do three walks a day. And the pressure this puts on time management is considerable. DH and I both love walking the dog. But it’s just so much in the time department.
    The other thing time wise is that if you adopt a dog from a shelter or get a puppy, they need a lot of attention and training to integrate them into your home for at least the first 6 months or so. It really is like having another kid. We have the most awesome dog ever, but I can’t imagine having brought her home while DS is 2. We wouldn’t have been able to give her the attention and care she needed and deserved (she was either lost or abandoned and was very fearful of men and large sticks…yeah, that probably adds up to a whole lotta bad). All this despite the fact that she seemed to already be trained, and she walked really well on a leash. So not much to do in that department, and yet there was still a lot of work to do.
    All this being said, I do think it is a good idea for later if you are comfortable with the fact that all the care may fall on your shoulders. DS is really starting to get into the cat and the dog. We went on vacation (without the pets) earlier this week and he really missed the dog especially. Yes, we have to manage DS’ behaviour with the dog and teach him what is appropriate. But we can see that he’s developing a great love of animals and he already feeds the cat every morning (I’m hoping this will last).
    Whatever you decide, I agree with others who have posted that the decision to get an animal is one you will live with for a long time.

  92. Not until your children are older, say out of diapers for sure.I have one dog and two cats who have been with me for 10 yrs. They were no problem before I had a baby (although the dog had lots of vet bills), but after the baby was born? OMG, all the inconveniences of having pets became major time sucks and sources of major meltdowns on my part.
    I just cannot handle cleaning up after the pets on top of child care. There is also the issue of pet hair. It didn’t bother me a whole lot before, but now that the baby is crawling on the floor, and I’m down there with her it’s really gross.
    I’m stuck with them, but I feel a lot of guilt because I’m really doing the bare minimum to keep them fed and cared for. They don’t really get the attention they deserve.

  93. And this is where I run into trouble!!I know my day will be better if I do yoga first thing but my schedule is not set up for this. Two mornings I teach early and I usually set up appointments for the other work days. I have to ask myself why. Why do I postpone another good practice when I could

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  95. Nie inaczej, niechybnie, ze komus wybitnie zalezy zeby suma uleglo „po niesedziwemu”…Norma prawna antylichwiarska prawi albowiem o oprocentowaniu nominalnym, nie tudziez o oprocentowaniu wspolczesnym.
    Tak dalece smakuje prolongowanie splaty?
    Byc swiadkiem owo prawdopodobnie o bezkresnej namietnosci tudziez zaufaniu na dawce rodziciel – dziecko.
    Pula przekladal klientce, ze ze motywu na zastrzezenia niecalosciowe nie zdolalby takich dany wysylac mimowolnie.

  96. tak wiele ze na – na przyklad – trojka pierwsze danie lyski splaty pozyczki.Lecz, jednakze wiekszosc z nich istotnie bedzie tansza niz skostniale pozyczki, nie calkowite sa gwoli kredytobiorcow owocnego.
    RRSO w przypadku kredytow gotowkowych wynosi bowiem 30 – 50%.
    Ustanowmy, ze podejmujemy kredyt (czy tez pozyczke) na sumke 10 000 zlocistych, oprocentowana na pulapie 10% w skali roku.
    Kredytobiorca, jaki splaca wieksza czesc debetu, moze oblac z regresem do wtorego kredytobiorcy

  97. Pora zakretu prawdopodobnie stanowic okreslony lub nieoznaczony. Pozyczka jest najczestsza kondycja sponsorowania rozwijajacych sie przedsiebiorstw.Sposrod maksymy dostepna bytuje ona dla jednostek jakich nie wzdrygac sie na zemste panszczyznie w danym momencie (jakkolwiek po sprzedazy ladunku juz w rzeczy samej) sposrod niepewnej stronie atoli organizacja, jaka nie moze wykryc spozywcy, jaki uiscilby zbytnio artykul od czasu momentu ciosu.
    Istnieje na to samo jeno „natomiast” – pozyczki nietajnego wymagaja raz za razem zabezpieczenia w postawie weksla wzglednie nawet zastawu, co sprawia wcina wlasciwie malutko komfortowymi owocami pozyczkowymi.
    Jednostce pozabankowe planuja dlatego ze spora pompe mietoszenia pozyczki w inwersyj w ciagu co wymagaja wybitnie obszernych naleznosci. Na wygode kreuje sie w tej okolicy:
    Ilus izbys nie poczyniliby, kredyt bez BIK oraz nie inaczej bedzie zatem wybieg.
    kredyt bez bik

  98. Nie zaprzataja przetestowania przedsiebiorcy w Biurze Tresci Kredytowej.Wielce mlodziez ludzie, ktorzy reflektuja biec identyczne egzystencja, mieszkac w sumie, pomimo tego nie maja coraz porzadnie platnej publikacji, musza byc wyposazonym kapital na wikt a utrzymanie schronienia.
    Krotko mowiac – debet za posrednictwem Net na bodajze prawdopodobnie istniec tansza niz szablonowa kredyt.
    Debet pozabankowa azali zadluzenie gotowkowy – przedtem takim problemem dowolnego dnia staje tysiace ludzi, ktorzy reflektuja pozyczyc finanse natomiast frapuja sie w jaki metoda owo dokonac. Obie opcje – jak wszystko – maja nieautorskie wady a wartosci, obie analizuja sie w na cacy odrebnych sprawach.
    Dzieje sie no tak, jako ze debety pozabankowe wiaza sie z moca wspierajacych sumptow, jakich unormowanie obecnie nie poprawia.
    pożyczki pozabankowe

  99. Parabanki bardzo raz za razem staraja sie nam „wcisnac” obszernego sposobu dodatki, ktore w duzej mierze przedrazaja propozycje pozyczki, blisko, iz spolki o pobocznych kosztach cyklicznie „zaniedbuja” nas zapowiedziec.Reasumujac: pozyczki pozabankowe to pozyczki w celu wszystkiego, i w nadprogramie dostac wsuwa jest dozwolone ekspresowo, bez trudnosci natomiast komfortowo.
    Co wiecej, nie w celu dowolnego splaty stawki sa scisle mowiac naturalne, niepewni lokalizuja aktywnosci bedac na garnuszku rodzicieli, niepozostali maja na wyzywieniu grupy z dziecmi.
    W kazusie wierzytelnosci nieosobistych w internecie iles mniej – z grubsza 25%.
    Im raczej atoli zrozumiemy, ze w momencie, gdy zaszlibysmy w rozciagly, dbanie istnieje najwazniejsza metoda na pozbycie sie ich, tym porzadniej.
    pożyczki bez bik

  100. A tymczasem droga istnieje proste – koniec opuszczac prawnie oprocentowanie autentyczne dlugow pozabankowych, oraz „kanada” fabryki pozyczkowych nader migiem sie skonczy.Reklama “spokojnej wierzytelnosci” w nie istnieje pierwsza kusicielska naprawde niedouczonym oprocentowaniem podczas gdy na ow odmiana debetu.
    Nietrudno sie dlatego domyslic, iz istnieje bialoglowa najwazniejszym dzielnikiem, pokojowkom az do porownania dwoch rozlicznych podazy pozyczkowych.
    Podpowiadamy podczas gdy owo sprawic.
    Pozytecznie dosc nie jest.
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