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Fayette-Mom: And puppy makes three

Posted February 28, 2011

Jennifer Joyner

It’s been a year since our family said goodbye to Sasha, our 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier. My husband and I had gotten the dog long before we had children, and in many ways Sasha was our first baby.

Our kids adored her, but truth be told, the love wasn’t mutual. Sasha tolerated the children and never hurt them, but she was (understandably) wary of little hands constantly grabbing at her and for the most part kept to herself. When her health started to fail, she isolated herself even more, and it broke our hearts to see her suffer. It was almost a relief when she passed away — I imagine her in a better place where that boundless energy is back and she spends her time chasing squirrels and digging for treasure.

We finally feel ready for another dog and we’ve done a lot of research on family-friendly pets. We’re leaning toward golden retrievers, and while it will be quite a difference size-wise, we’re excited about sharing this experience with our kids. Having a new puppy is so fun — can you imagine what it’s like for a 5-year-old? I can’t wait to watch them grow up together.

Of course, I’m trying to keep in mind how much work a puppy can be. I figure it can’t be worse than having a newborn, and I’ve lived through that twice!

Is there anything I need to know about having a puppy and small children? I want to use this to help teach them responsibility, and would love any tips or suggestions about how to make the most of the experience. Feel free to share!

In the meantime, I’m trying to ready myself for late-night wake-up calls to go potty and the whining and crying that goes with crate training. I keep telling myself that I have to harden my heart to the wails of a newborn pup, but I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll cave pretty easily…..

Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in fall 2010. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. Find her here on Go Ask Mom on Tuesdays.



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  • dadsgoose98 Mar 2, 2011

    Don't you have a soccer game to attend?

  • finesse187 Mar 2, 2011

    @ dadsgoose98, If you read my original post carefully it never stated that I was hoping for the shelter to hold the dog! I simply stated that, "I hope the dog will still be there." Also, for you information ( not that I need to explain anything else to you) we have thought about giving her an earlier birthday present. It's nobody's business when we get her a puppy or how long it will take!! Here's a thought: how about you find better ways to utilize your time instead of trying to insult someone's intelligence!!! This will be my last post on this matter, have no time to entertain the back-n-forth nonsense. Your opinion is yours and mine is mine!!! Have a nice day!!

  • dadsgoose98 Mar 2, 2011

    Finesse187,so you just assume that a shelter is going to hold on to an animal until you are ready to adopt? Here's a thought,Save the animals life by giving your daughter an early birthday gift!Maybe for your family this type of decision equates to rocket surgery.

  • finesse187 Mar 1, 2011

    @dadsgoose98 your comment regarding reporting stupidity I cetainly hope it wasn't directed towards my comment. I do not know alot about shelters, but do know that it sometimes take awhile for them to be adopted. So, I don't think my comment was stupid! In my opinion a great deal of research needs to be done before bringing an animal into your home.

  • Go_APPS Mar 1, 2011

    I totally agree that you should do what is right for your family and get a breed that fits the energy and size for your needs. I personally grew up with boxers and they were great with kids and when my brother was a toddler he would "ride" ours like a horse while they napped and they would look up, see it was him and lay back down. I have babysat for families that had Rotties and they were also great.
    Just as an fyi: beagles are great dogs but they are stubborn and their instinct is to put their nose in the air and follow whatever they smell. I had them growing up and my M-I-L has one now.

  • kendeb1982 Mar 1, 2011

    Pups are so sweet. I'm happy to hear that your family is ready to get another one. Losing a pet is very tough. We lost our 15 year old lab almost two years ago. We adopted two yellow lab pups shortly after Velvet's death. People thought we were crazy getting two pups at one time, but it actully made things easier. They have each other for company, & they hardly every cried at night when we first got them.
    Please consider Paw Prints Rescue when making your choice (

  • hihuwatlu Mar 1, 2011

    I would make sure what ever dog you pick matches your household energy wise. Retriever's are great dogs but can be high energy so be ready to exercise him/her alot otherwise that energy will come out as misbehavior. Puppies also love to chew and their teeth are quite sharp. Older dogs are great because they are often housebroken already, calmer, and may have outgrown the chewing stage (up to 3 years or so). I've been to the shelters and there are a lot of dogs there that need good homes and they have all types and all ages. I would be a little wary of an older dog at a shelter since you have young children. You won't know their history and a lot of times they may have been neglected or abused by their previous owners. Sometimes these dogs have issues that may not become apparent until they are in your home. Shelters and rescues will usually take them back but it doesn't take long for children to become attached.

  • dadsgoose98 Mar 1, 2011

    Oh well not to worry,Shelters are well known for holding on to animals until someone feels the time is right to get it.

  • finesse187 Mar 1, 2011

    I wish you much success with the soon to be puppy. My daughter has been dying to have one and for her 6th birthday she's finally going to get her wish. We're looking for a small puppy. She wants a chihuahua, found one at a local shelter and hope they still have it when the time comes!

  • angelht Mar 1, 2011

    I have a 20 month old and I am expecting our second in April. At Christmas my husband decided to surprise me with a black lab puppy (6 weeks old). The puppy is now 4 months and while I will say she is a quick learner, I would have much preferred an older dog (in my opinion at least over 1 year old). I don't know what you're home is like, but if you don't have a fenced-in backyard with plenty of space DO NOT get a puppy!! I should also mention that we have a 4 year old dog that helps with some of our puppy's boundless energy, so if you're really set on getting a young pup then you may want to also consider getting two!