I have never been a dog person. I never understood why people were crazy for their dogs, showing their photos around and letting them sleep in their beds. My family had a dog when I was growing up, but I don’t really remember her being a big part of our lives. Sammy just lived in the backyard and hung around, and I don’t remember being very attached to her.
So when our girls began asking for a dog around five years ago, I kept coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t get one: too much work, too much hair, too much responsibility. When we moved to our new house this past spring, my husband and I decided it was time to make the leap into dog ownership. Our girls, now 8 and 10, are at the perfect age for a dog, and we figured it was now or never.
We looked into all options of where to find the right dog for us: rescue organizations, breeders, pet stores. Because I know virtually nothing about dogs, my learning curve has been steep. We ended up with Ginger, our cockapoo puppy we bought from a private owner we found on Craigslist.
The few months we have had Ginger have been filled with vet visits, play time, lots of poop clean-up, crate training and bouts of laughter. We’ve had to make some adjustments to our lifestyle to accommodate her (no more all day trips to the beach), and we’ve lost some sleep, but she has been a joy. I can already see the benefits not only for my kids but for our whole family.
Ginger is always smiling and happy to see us—she lifts our spirits and brings us together—on walks and in discussions regarding everything from how to groom her fur to what costume to get her for Halloween (yes, I have become that person who buys costumes for her dog!).
We’ve met more neighbors through Ginger who will run up to play with anyone she sees on the street.
Instead of battling with my girls when it’s time to wake up for school, Ginger is the alarm clock of choice now. She licks them awake and has them giggling at 6:30 a.m. The kids have stepped up and are learning great lessons in patience and responsibility. Getting a dog (especially a puppy) is a huge step for a family, but if you and your kids are ready to make the commitment, you won’t regret it.