Kids and Dogs: What’s a Parent to Do?

Our house is a bit crazy.  While it may be big by San Francisco standards (about 1800 sq. feet of living space), we’ve crammed 2 adults, 4 kids and 2 dogs into it.  To say that we exist in a state of organized chaos is being far too gentle – in reality it’s just chaos.

For Virginia who grew up as the oldest of 8 children it seems about right, for me (who has only 1 brother) there are days it is overwhelming.  Last month our 10- year- old son announced that we wanted to get his own dog.  Before you point out that a 10 year old is too young for his own dog, that horse has left barn long ago as our now 12 year old son was 8 when he got a dog he shares with his sister.  But really, do we want to have 4 kids and 3 dogs?  We did that once before (we had the 3 dogs before we had the 4 kids) and it was hard.  So in the classic “sure….but” mode of parenting, here’s the current plan.  We told him he could get his own dog once he trains Splash (my Newfie) to do the following:

  1. Sit
  2. Heel
  3. Down
  4. Stay and
  5. Down at a distance.

In addition, he then has to train her on one more “specialty item:”

  1. Getting the morning newspaper from the stairs (yes, we’re old school and we still get newspapers delivered); or
  2. Carrying his hockey stick to or from the ice rink.

Frankly, when we gave him this list we thought we had bought ourselves a goodly amount of time, but the kid has pretty much accomplished the first 4 already and she is happy to trot out of the ice rink with a hockey stick in her mouth.  Now he wants to start discussing the breed of dog he wants and don’t you know it – it’s a Great Dane.

Thanks for reading.