Why I've changed my mind about pets and kids
Why have a dog when you already have a child and a cat? Who's going to clear up the mess and do the dog walking in all weathers? Can you see where this is going...
After a year of pleading and arm-twisting from my five-year-old - and a little bit from my husband - I finally caved and agreed to having a family pet dog. GULP.
I've always been a cat person - and we do have a cat - but she's pretty self-sufficient and stays away a lot of the time (unless she wants food) - as many of our feline friends tend to do. She likes to be on the periphery of our family rather than slap-bang in the middle of the action.
A dog? That's a different matter entirely. They love to be at the heart of the house and - as I've discovered - are almost as demanding as having another child.
I was pretty much dead set against getting a dog for years. I find them too jumpy, too barky, and too needy. Oh - and at the age of 11 - I nearly lost my right eye from a dog bite (I'm fine now but you can still see the scar).
So they've never been top of my list and I dismissed my daughter's pleas for a dog for a long time.
We already have a cat, darling, I'd say - though good luck ever finding a cat in the same room with a toddler (not ours, anyway - she's one of those jumpy, twitchy super-shy ones. The cat not the toddler...).
But the plea became so incessant I decided to revisit it. I could tell my husband was keen as well so, in short, I was outnumbered.
As luck would have it, a quick Google revealed a pooch just down the road requiring a new home. Within 4 days of that original search we found ourselves the proud owners of a little pup called Tippi.
And she's probably the best thing that's happened to our family for a long time.
She's a focus we all share - we muck in with bathing her, brushing her, walking her and entertaining her with the throw of a ball in the garden (for what seems like hours).
And she's a great companion for our daughter, Bodhi Rae who is - and will remain - an only child.
She's helping us to teach our daughter physical gentleness, and kindness. And she's an extra bubbly character that is generally great to have around.
I can't say that at this stage our daughter is learning responsibility to a huge extent - feeding, walking and cleaning up poop fall on me or her dad. But in time I'm sure that will come.
And I think - after being a lifelong cat lover - I might actually be becoming an all-out dog fan, thanks to how much she's brought to my family - and my little girl in particular. Who'd have thought it? ?
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Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015
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