When Being a Good Father Means Being a Good Dog Owner

I am not a dog person. Or a cat person. If there are lizard persons, I am not that either.

I am not an animal person of any kind.

And I have always rolled my eyes at the little names people give their pets that suggest that they are kind of like children — “fur babies”, for example.

So when we brought our puppy home a few weeks ago, I had no reason to believe that I would ever use any such terms.

But oh my god, if someone doesn’t get over here and help me take care of my son’s furry brother I am going to lose it.

I don’t know a lot about pets, but I am the oldest of six kids and the father of one so I know about raising kids, and this creature is like a kid. The cost alone of raising him screams “human baby”.

For example, in the month that we’ve had him, he’s been to several vet appointments for checkups and immunization shots. None covered by my human health insurance.

We’ve even had to take him to emergency care.

Do you like chocolate? Well, so do dogs, but it can make them very sick. So after our puppy ate approximately a tablespoon of chocolate chips, my wife rushed him to the the vet to be billed for a diagnosis of “He’ll be fine.”

Now, had I been home, I might have pointed out that it takes a lot more than a few chocolate chips to really endanger even a dog as small as ours, but I wasn’t, and apparently we don’t take chances with the pup.

Just like the boy.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

And he’s only a few months old, so he’s still teething. He chews up everything. Chewed up the charging cable to my cordless drill the first week. He’s chewed up so many shoes that every shoelace in the house resembles Swiss cheese.

Shoemakers must look at dogs like dentists look at candy.

And the pet stores sell these absorbent pads that you put down on the floor so that the puppy will have somewhere to go for any unscheduled potty breaks. He’s very good about using them.

And then he runs out of them and you have to go to the store to buy them after your wife has already gone twice and, really, you’re going to have to do something to contribute to his care, and you realize that they are basically diapers.

Expensive diapers.

And then there is the baby food, and let’s face it, that is exactly what it is since they have special bags of dog food made especially for puppies with cute puppies on front so that you don’t accidentally buy the cheaper “adult” dog food.

I find the food thing particularly egregious since my wife breastfed my son which, in my mind, I always saw as “free” food, though my wife probably didn’t see it that way while pumping between work meetings.

But the boy loves him and he’s growing and his coat is all glossy and he’s high-energy. It helps that he still doesn’t bark much. He can also be easily bribed into compliance with snacks — treats, in dog talk — just like the rest of the family. So he’s fitting right in.

And I don’t have to worry about paying for college.

This post was previously published on Medium and is republished here with permission from the author.


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Photo credit: Chris L. Robinson

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