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Sorry Kids, We're Never Getting a Dog

Photograph by Getty Images

Hey kids,

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. We’re not getting a dog. I’m not talking about today. I’m talking about ever. We are never, ever getting a dog.

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When the allergist called to say one of you was allergic to dogs, I audibly shouted, “YES!” and high-fived myself. Well-meaning friends have since suggested we get one of those non-allergy dogs as a solution to our problem. Don’t they know not being able to get a dog isn’t a problem—it's the solution! If I wanted a wild animal living in my house, I would have married the guy I dated in college.

I know, kids. It’s terribly disappointing. I’m going to deny you the opportunity to eternally love (until you fall in love with something else) “Fluffy” or “Rex.” It’s terribly selfish of me to deny you the valuable life lessons you will undoubtedly learn from watching me take care of your dog, while you say it’s too cold to walk the dog or that poop is “too icky” to clean up.

See kids, I’m already full up on taking care of others. You two, for example, need a lot of taking care of just by the very nature that you can’t take care of yourselves. I’m cool with that. Not because I love you, but because you’re going to go to college someday. Unlike that dog, who is never going to get a job or marry someone who lives somewhere else.

While we’re at it, we’re not getting a cat or that tiger you’ve been asking for. Spoiler alert, but you’re also not getting your own iPhone, since you’re only 6 and don’t know how to dial a phone. We’re also not going to get our own Space Shuttle, and that trip to the lost city of Atlantis is probably not going to happen, either. No, next year you’re not going to Coachella, and you can’t have your next birthday party on the moon.

If you think I don’t know how you feel, think again.

This is probably a great time to tell you that we’re also never getting an XBox. Boo! I know. “Meanest Mom in the World” award goes to moi. The thing about video games is that kids like them. And when kids like things, they don’t want to stop playing them. And then they scream at their mom who wants to turn off the XBox because she wants them to learn to read or practice speaking in complete sentences.

You’ve probably already guessed it, but the trampoline you’ve been dreaming of is out as well. Call me crazy, but the 100 percent guarantee of broken arms that comes with any trampoline has me a bit scared off. Bunk beds aren’t going to happen, either; nor is that tattoo you wanted of Kai from Ninjago.

You can’t move in with your new best friend. We probably aren’t going to move to Hawaii for the summer. And no, I won’t call you and your sister “Sandy” and “Danny” now that you’ve seen and liked Grease.

If you think I don’t know how you feel, think again. When I was a kid, we never had a VCR or air conditioning. We were allowed sugar cereal once a month (and I mean, once). And we could watch one hour of TV per week. And as if that wasn’t child abuse enough, every year grandma and grandpa asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I always responded, “A chimpanzee!” Instead, I got a Lanz nightgown and a Merlin toy the year they finally went on sale. You think you’ve got problems. Try getting the “newest, hottest” electronic toy five years after it comes out. That, my friends, is a real problem.

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So while you’re never getting a dog or a trampoline, you will get to take walks with me and use your imagination to figure out what else you can jump on. You’re going to read and speak in complete sentences while you’re not eating sugar cereal for breakfast or going to school in your very own Space Shuttle. And when you’re not living with your newest best friend, you’ll be living with your dad and me. We may deprive you of dogs and gadgets, but we won’t deprive you of love. Hopefully, that will be enough. And if it’s not, college is only 18 minus 6 years away. That’s 12 years of suffering for you. Trust me, I’ve been counting.



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