When my boyfriend begged me to adopt a puppy with him, I caved and said yes. I didn’t know if I’d ever want kids, and having animals is the closest thing I could imagine to being a mom. Well, this experience sealed the deal—I’m definitely not cut out for kids.
I suddenly lost my freedom. I’m a very independent person and it was a shock to the system to suddenly be tied down. I felt immediately overwhelmed by the amount of time, energy, and attention this dog required of me and I didn’t like it. I value my freedom and the thought of looking after this dog for the next decade or longer was daunting. There’s a reason I don’t want kids and the required long-term investment is one of them.
The poor thing was totally dependent on me. Our puppy, cute as he was, was also a massive handful. He couldn’t do anything himself, of course, and so it fell upon our shoulders to feed him, train him, take him to the toilet, clean up after him, entertain him, put him to sleep—basically everything a parent would need to do for a child. This is exactly what I hoped to avoid by skipping out on parenthood.
Forget having a baby—this was already way too much responsibility. I live a very busy life as it is, and adding another responsibility to the mix was a recipe for disaster. I wanted to look after him properly, feed him well, and train him diligently, but with all the other things going on in my life, something had to give. It was a huge indicator that looking after a child would completely take over my life and frankly, I have better things to do.
My partner and I started playing ‘who’s the favorite?’ We both began to vie for the dog’s affections. Because my partner had been the one to beg for the puppy in the first place, he spent a lot more time playing with him and training him, which meant he quickly became the dog’s preferred human. Obviously, playing that game with children is way more intense and is liable to result in childhood trauma, one way or another.
It turned us into really jealous people. My partner loved the dog and spent most of his time fawning over him. Again, it’s a petty thing, but I began to feel jealous of how much attention he was paying this puppy, especially when it interrupted important discussions we were having. He was the same on the rare occasions I took over on doggy duty. It was wildly unhealthy and not a good sign of things to come.
I was stressed about having another mouth to feed. That sounds a bit dire, but when money is tight, every little bit counts. As it turns out, having a dog is an expensive endeavor when you take into account food, toys, vaccinations, training, doggy daycare, and the million other little things I didn’t think of when we first got him. Imagine having the same thing but with a human child at ten times the cost! No thanks.
I can barely look after myself, let alone somebody else. It sounds selfish and perhaps it is, but I love knowing that the decisions I make in my life generally only affect only me. Don’t feel like cooking dinner? No problem, I’ll eat cookies. Want to sleep in until 11 a.m.? Perfect, there’s no one that requires me to take them to the toilet first thing in the morning. I like my life that way and have no intention of changing it anytime soon.
I literally lost sleep over this dog. Because our puppy was a watchdog breed, he was incredibly active at night. My partner and I would attempt to tire him out before bedtime and then, once he was asleep, tiptoe and whisper around him to ensure he didn’t wake up again. Inevitably, he’d wake up in the middle of the night to play and then be up again at 5 a.m., scratching and whining to be let out. I desperately need sleep to function properly and the thought of being kept awake by a crying baby is enough to drive me insane.
Worst of all, he was a biter. Of course, he was only teething and hadn’t yet learned bite inhibition, but it still ignited anger and frustration in me when he would bite a little too hard. There was almost an element of resentment in it—he was literally biting the hand that feeds him—and while I like to think of myself as a compassionate person, I can imagine not dealing well with an ungrateful child. I’m definitely not made for parenthood.
We decided we couldn’t handle it in the end. While it really was a difficult decision to find him another home, the truth is that he was better off with someone else. We got this dog on a whim and discovered all too soon that we weren’t equipped to look after him and manage all the other parts of our lives at the same time. You can’t quite do that with a baby, at least not without much greater consequences. I’m clearly not ready to care for another creature and I’m glad I discovered that with a dog rather than with a child.
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