Do you ever wonder if a dog is the answer to all your divorce drama?
A cuddly creature to soothe your kids.
Puppy balm for the soul.
Today I thought I would revisit a blog from a few years back to give you my take on this.
(If you did not know this about me, besides being a badass divorce coach, I was a veterinarian for 24 years.)
This topic is my wheelhouse!
The harsh truth about puppies
No one loves a puppy more than me,
but…I will be the first person to talk you out of getting one.
Here is the truth about puppy ownership:
it feels a lot like having another baby.
If you have the bandwidth for another toddler in the house,
one you cannot take your eyes off for 8 months,
then by all means go for it!
Here is another truth about puppies…
They are highly unpredictable monsters.
The unpredictability is adorable to most adults: barking, nipping, chewing shoes.
Young children do not find this cute at all.
Especially boys under the age of 10,
or kids with exceptionalities.
On the flip side,
once you get past the first year of puppydom,
it is often smooth sailing.
Still, a lot of maintenance in terms of exercise and veterinary expenses.
But typically the benefits outweigh the deficits.
Dogs become integral family members.
Most dog owners will tell you that the effort was well worth it.
How about an adult dog?
The beauty of adopting a mature dog is that they are often house trained.
And you don’t have to contend with the shenanigans of puppyhood.
This is the route that I chose for my 10-year-old boy on the Autism Spectrum.
The negative, of course, is the unknown factor.
As long as you adopt with a trial period,
you have an escape valve you can use.
Either way, you are signing on for a project,
so you need to have the time and desire to make this successful.
How about a cat?
If you have never owned a cat,
you may not know that cats can be as loving as dogs,
without all of the work.
No house training, no walking, no crating.
They are pretty much plug-and-play.
They know to use a litter box as their bathroom.
Just feed and love.
Cats are divine pets,
especially if you luck into one who has the persona of a dog.
In my experience, these dog-cats are often:
- domestic shorthairs
- strays from the shelter
They seem to have immense gratitude when they are adopted,
which makes them delightfully affectionate.
The decision to get a pet
Many single parents consider purchasing or adopting a pet for their kids out of a feeling of guilt.
I get it…I am a single mom who struggled with my son being exposed to the most toxic divorce on the planet.
But here is the thing – a pet is not going to change that.
It may provide a diversion, and unconditional love,
but the circumstance will still be the same.
Getting a pet is a big decision with a long-term commitment, so you need to like your reasons.
Assuaging your guilt may not cut it.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional – or better yet – a double professional like me, for advice.
It would be my greatest pleasure to coach you through this big decision.