Sarabeth and I have had a dog for four out of the five years of our marriage. Obviously, we’re still waiting on word from the state that we’re approved to foster a child, but nothing has been more beneficial in preparing us for having kids than raising our dachshunds.
For instance, before I got married, I always thought I’d be this nice, loving husband who would be more than happy to wake up in the middle of the night to care for a crying baby. Because, when you’re young and single, it’s easier to get out of bed (because usually it’s for yourself). But I’ve learned that it takes discipline, and a sort of strength and selflessness to peel out of bed and take the whinnying dog out, who may or may not actually potty.
I always thought, before I got married, that I’d be more than happy to change diapers and do so with a happy and joyful heart. Things are much easier when just imagined. There have been several occasions where we have just settled down for a nice dinner, or just started a highly-anticipated movie, and… “Do you smell that? … Where’s Pixie?” I still don’t know what takes longer: cleaning up the mess or dragging her out from under the couch.
There are plenty of other examples I could give as to why it’s beneficial for couples to own a dog before having a child. If our premarital counselor had suggested we get a dog, I would have considered that the best advice he gave us. I never knew how cross, curt, or impatient I could be toward my dogs or my wife… and over stupid things. But you know what? I never would have anticipated having a child as much as I do now because of the adventure our dogs have taken us on. I can imagine a child will be much more difficult, but more rewarding as well.
Share some of your thoughts and ideas about why couples should (or shouldn’t) own pets before having a kid.