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.