Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is there room for a pet in our lives?

I met D because of his adorable rescue pit bull Buster. It was Buster's friendliness and charm that make me strike up a conversation with the man at the tab next to mine. D recalls that the first words I ever said to him was: "Hey, is this your dog?". Well, it was. And getting together with D and becoming a part of his life meant that Buster became a part of mine. Thankfully Buster welcomed me into the pack and it was the three of us for many years.

About a year or so into our relationship Buster started having trouble walking with his hind legs. He was perfectly healthy but he had an issue with his spine (the vet guessed a disk issue) that meant he was loosing feeling and mobility in his back legs. The result was that he stopped being able to walk on his own. We loved Buster and wanted to do all we could for him so we ended up getting him a doggie wheelchair, and it worked wonders! We could take him on walks again and he was always happy to be outside and social. He became a little local celebrity as everyone loved the dog in the wheelchair.
Buster in his wheelchair coming back from a walk in May 2010.

Sadly, as Buster got older the wheelchair wasn't enough. His body started giving out on him more and more and the effort it took to take care of him was huge. He kept declining and finally we decided it was time to say goodbye. We threw a party for him where all of our neighbors joined us in a celebration of a great dog. And the next morning we had a vet come to our house and put him down. It was such a sad day, and D and I still miss him.

We decided to not get another dog right away. We both wanted to process the loss and grieve. Plus, Buster had required a lot of care and with him gone we were able to have more freedom in our lives. That was about to change though as I became pregnant with the Pepper. During the pregnancy I really wanted to get another dog. I tried numerous times to convince D to get one (kids love dogs! kids with pets have fewer allergies!), but nothing worked. D wasn't ready to take on that responsibility, which I understood since we were both working, D was finishing up his PhD, and we were about to have a baby. But I still pined for a fluffy addition to the family.

But, then we had our little one, and I have said over and over again times that I am so happy D did not let me get us a dog. We live in a loft and it would be hard to incorporate walks and things into the schedule we already have with work and child care. Plus it adds cost when we are already budgeting for the additional costs of a child. So, D was right. It would have been an additional stress during a already challenging time of transition. And luckily downtown LA is so dog friendly that we get to visit with lots of dogs while hanging out in our community courtyard or at the park.

But, now that we are moving maybe there will be a place for a dog in our lives. If we have a yard the needs for walks and such won't be such an issue, and there will be room for a dog to play and stretch out. D made me promise I wouldn't bring it up right away once we move, but I'm hoping there will be an opportunity for a pet once we've settled in.

What do you guys think? Are the benefits of a pet worth the challenges? Dd having a pet change for you once you had kids? Also, here are some fascinating facts about dogs.

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