Bob the Human: My kids want a dog. How do I get past my own hesitation?

Dear Paws to Talk,

I am the father of two preteen girls. Both of them desperately want to get a dog. They are so dedicated to this mission that they offered take care of our neighbor’s dog, Maui a couple of days after school. On top of that, every night before bed turns into a question and answer session as to when we are getting our own Maui.

They are great kids who deserve a dog but I’m standing in the way of this becoming a reality.

Before my wife and I had kids, we had got a wonderful Gordon Setter, named Reggie. He was our first child. I would come home from work and play fetch with Reggie for at least an hour. Many times we played for two hours at a time. Reggie loved to run.

When my wife and I had our girls, Reggie was so gentle with them. He let them pull on his fur and climb all over him. Reggie was such a good sport.

Then one day tragedy struck. I got a panicked phone call from my wife while I was at work. Reggie had escaped out of our fenced in yard and gone on his last run before being struck by a car. A police officer stood on our front porch consoling my distraught wife while the dog’s remains lay in the back seat of the police car.

I rushed home to comfort my family. The truth is no one could console me then or has been able to since about the loss of Reggie. Through the years, I have tried to heal but it has been easier to avoid the subject. I hesitate adding another dog to our family because I don’t know if I could go through that situation again.

 However, I don’t know how much longer I can say no to my daughters. They are so persistent and want a dog more than anything in the world. How do I put my pain aside and welcome a new dog into our home?

-Bob the Human

Howl Bob,

You have been through a lot. What a terrible way to lose such an important member of your family. Canines are vocal and present members in all kinds of families even though we can’t use the toilet to do our business and lack thumbs.

It sounds like you want your daughters have a dog of their own to love. We think you should move forward and bring a new dog into your family. Your kids seem very responsible and will most likely adore the dog with every piece of their little hearts. Just like you did with Reggie. Would you want to deprive your daughters of feeling that love? We doubt it.

It is our personal opinion, that the universe has a deliberate way of making you resolve past pain or problems by allowing them to resurface again in your life. When you bring a new dog into the family, you will have to face the feelings you have been avoiding regarding Reggie. Cry if you need to. Scream if it makes you feel better. Maybe you need to take your new dog in your arms and have a good cuddle session in order to feel better? Part of being in love with someone is dealing with the notion that one day you could lose them.

Reggie will always be a part of your life but you can’t handicap your family because of your own unresolved feelings. Accept the new dog for who he or she is. We think the same love you had for Reggie will resurface and your new dog will be a lucky participant in many games of fetch. Start warming your arm up so you are ready to have a good game.


Bella and DiDi

















© Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Margot Ahlquist and Paws to Talk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

20 thoughts on “Bob the Human: My kids want a dog. How do I get past my own hesitation?

  1. That’s a very sad story about Reggie. Dogs are very good at comforting people, though, so I think you’re right that snuggling with another dog will help Bob feel better.

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