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Dogs: A Must-Have Parenting Accessory

May 4, 2010

I don’t know how kids grow up without dogs. I’ve had 8 dogs in my life that I can remember, and at least a few I can’t. As a child, I can only remember a few days when I didn’t have a dog, when one had to be put to sleep, before we got another. To me, a family isn’t truly complete without a dog, as a pet and as a companion.

Now that I’m a parent, I appreciate my dogs even more. Not because they are protective and affectionate with my children, although they are. Not because they help keep my home secure, because they don’t. But because they do a chore I don’t particularly relish: they clean up after my children.

Without dogs, I would spend a not-insignificant portion of my day picking food off the floor. Just over the last 24 hours, they have eaten a cornucopia of ABC (Already Been Childrened) food off the floor: two types of cereal, crackers, grapes, pears, peaches, strawberries, bananas, cheese, bread, hamburger, pasta, carrots, green beans. We’ve even taken to calling one of the dogs “the Beagle-Shaped Roomba.”

I have two dogs now, both mutts adopted by my wife when we were both in college, over a decade ago.

They are no longer this lazy, believe it or not. Meka, the black-and-white mix, was so unnerved by the arrival of 2.0 that she had a stroke about 3 months after his birth. She recovered perfectly, earning the nickname “Strokey the Wonder Beagle,” which I consider an excellent recouping of our $3000 investment into her MRI.

Inky, the yellow lab mix, is, for all intents and purposes, Marley. So much so, that when I loaned my brother the book “Marley and Me,” he called me up to ask if I had written it under a pseudonym. The things he has eaten and destroyed reads like an IKEA catalog, plus everything in their cafe.

As I type this, Inky is lying next to me on the floor, keeping a watchful, if somewhat clouded, eye in the direction of the kids rooms. I have always said that love keeps a dog healthy, which, if true, ensures that at least some of my chores will be done for at least several more years.


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  1. I grew up with pets too. A mix of dogs and cats, including 1 beagle. We had a cat up until last summer (due to my older son’s allergies). We are now a pet free family and it doesn’t even bother us. For cleanups, we have the swivel sweeper.

  2. One of Amol's Bitches permalink

    Wow, those things are still alive? Impressive.

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