dogI’ve never owned or cared for a pet other than a goldfish. That’s right: no cats, no dogs.

My husband wants a dog.

At first, I was 100% against the idea. Having a dog in my house sounded gross. It would track in dirt, of course. Anyone who has a dog has a dirty house, I thought. I don’t want my nice floor getting scratched and my couch and carpet getting stained. Pet accidents? I am NOT interested in cleaning that up.

But over the past year or two, I’ve softened up a lot. I will see dogs and think they look so cute and fun.

And I’ve started to take something else into consideration. You’ve probably heard the studies that say having a pet can lower stress. I imagine taking the dog to the park and running around, getting exercise and having a ton of fun. I can definitely see how that would lower stress, which sounds great. Having a dog could be fun!

But then, as per usual, I dwell on the negatives. I think of the commitment. It’s almost like having a kid. If we wanted to go on a long trip? We can’t–the dog. What if we wanted to go away for a weekend? We’d have to put it in a kennel, which is expensive. Speaking of expenses–health care. What if it gets really sick and we are faced with the decision of spending thousands of dollars to make it better or……not? I would never be able to forgive myself if I had to place money above a beloved pet, but it could happen. It sounds heartless, but there is a limit to what I can afford.

And getting a dog also means you are setting yourself up for a crushing loss. Some day, the dog is going to die. Morbid, but true. My friend just lost her dog and is devastated. I can’t even imagine the pain. But then again, they say it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all….right? Or am I better off avoiding the pain?

And, if I’m being honest, I’m not a very flexible person. When something messes up my plans, it really bugs me. Having a pet means a lot of unpredictability. But on the other hand, maybe that’s good for me?

The loss of freedom bothers me a lot. I don’t want to have to worry about getting home at a certain time to let out the dog or feed it. I don’t like commitment.

Then I think, maybe it’s worth it? A lot of people seem to get a lot of joy out of having a dog. It would take some adjusting, but maybe I’d love it. What do you think I should do? Should I get a dog?


Read the follow-up: My First Experience Caring for a Dog