Sep 13

The Truth About Having a Dog

Nine years ago, when I got pregnant with the twins, my friends were extremely honest with me about what life would be like after having kids. Phrases like “sobbing crying,” “hot mess” and “wild insanity” were the ones I remember most and, I give them a lot of credit for being so honest with me. Most all of it was true and, although no one is ever truly prepared to have a baby (let alone twins!) at least I had a small idea of what to expect.

Apparently I need new dog owning friends because none of them prepared me for the beast that now lives in my home and the various ways in which life in that home has been forever disrupted.

The following is my truth of what it’s like to bring home a puppy and the stark similarities and major contrasts to bringing home babies. I like to think both meet somewhere in the middle between madly in love and madly out of your mind.


StarFire came in like an adorable, sweet, doe-eyed puppy and proceeded to eat everything in her path! This dog has destroyed far more furniture, cushions, shoes, comforters and rugs than the twins ever have. It’s not even close. Just when I thought it was safe to buy another rug for the back door, she peed on it and then starting eating it. Does she have something against Target or just me?

Sometimes you wake up to your bathroom looking like this…

I also buy more bones for this dog than socks for the boys, which is a shit ton. She chews up “indestructible” toys seemingly just to prove a point. I think the point she’s making is that she is a jerk but really, I must be the jerk since I keep buying them!


Imagine changing your babies diaper and then having to carry it around the neighborhood like some nauseating trophy, because that’s what you have to do with dog poop on a walk. It’s truly disgusting. Don’t even get me started on the clean up that happens in the back yard. Luckily, we never really used it to begin with and now, it’s more like the house where a murder was committed- – the mess has been cleaned but you know too much about what happened there, and don’t want to go inside.

Since I need to keep up her bone habit so she won’t start gnawing on the granite, her gas could knock out Isis. Not joking. If we send StarFire’s ass to fight in Iraq, we could possibly end this thing. Plus, imagine the tweets that would result from our “president” if that happened. < – – you know why that’s in quotes


I kid you not when I tell you the judgment of the collective dog parenting community rivals that of any smug mom squad. I have been looked down upon for the way I train the dog, don’t train the dog, the way I chose to board her, the vet, the lack of vet, the running, the non-running and on and on and on. WTH dog community?  I seriously had no clue this was a thing until it happened to me.

And, the dog owners who don’t have any kids are the worst offenders since they truly believe these fur-babies are their children. If they actually had kids they would realize how flawed this thinking is but I wouldn’t dare tell them that lest I be shunned from the dog park!



Don’t you think I want my dog to be friendly? Do you think I enjoy telling people she may want to bite their fingers off if they try to touch her? Do you think my husband and I like paying the one babysitter who will come into our house, and exhorbonent amount of money just to deal with our aggressive little psycho and the twins so we can have a night out? NO!

We have done everything (see below) to get her to chill out when it comes to strangers and, although she is getting better, the side-eye from people when I tell them she’s not friendly, has not.

Just like kids, you do the best you can to raise them properly but they can still turn out to be assholes. Sorry.


I have had this dog in training since she was 9 weeks old and guess what? She still jumps up and scratches the hell out me, still chews on things she shouldn’t and still lunges and barks at strangers. Why? Because when she goes to training they give her the equivalent of a filet mignon, bottle of $120.00 pinot noir and molten lava chocolate cake all day, every week in the form of treats, treats and more treats. If I were her and someone was shoving that in my mouth all day I would obey all their commands too!

Star is very busy “training.”

I’m sorry I can’t walk around at home with a veritable meat market of chewable steak strapped to my waist and throw it at her all day long. Excuse me if I can’t reach for a meatball to distract her with while I’m carrying 17 bags of groceries in from the car, so she won’t claw at my face because she’s “happy to see me.”

Dog trainers are the equivalent of grandparents. What happens at the grandparents house is not reality.


That’s right, just like kids, you somehow forget all the horrible, terrible, awfulness when you look into their eyes and feel how much you love them. Star has been a challenge for sure but she has brought our family together and has given us more laughs (because at some point you just have to laugh) than I would have imagined at the beginning.

I absolutely love the bond I have with her and although she lacks a lot of manners, so do I. And, when we’re outside running together and she’s not trying to bite anyone or chew on anything, and I’m happy because I’m not carrying a bag of her poop I think…

Maybe we should get another one.

Which is something I never thought about after having the boys!

Do you have a dog and kids? If not, no nasty comments or judgement! 

Can you relate?

What is the worst thing your dog or kids ever did to ruin something in the house?


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    • Jess on September 13, 2017 at 5:18 AM
    • Reply

    HYSTERICAL!!!! Laughing so hard I nearly spit out my coffee!

    1. Best compliment ever 🙂 Thanks Jess!

    • Jess on September 13, 2017 at 5:34 AM
    • Reply

    Oh my word. Yes to all of this!!!! Except our boxer is now 5 (or 6??) years old and calmed down a lot. She used to pee, chew, jump (still tries to jump and ‘box’). She still stinks. I don’t think that will ever go away at lol and the FUUUUUUR. She’s short haired but sheds like a wild woman. I *hate* that dang fur. But, she is a sweetie. 🙂 and if I was being 100% transparent here I wasn’t even a ‘dog person’ before I married my husband. Still not a ‘dog in the house person’ but what we do for love. Ha!

    1. OMG fur is one thing I am spared with this dog but I feel your pain! And honestly, I *thought* I was a dog person but obviously this dog is making me second guess everything 🙂 Thanks for sharing your pain. The dog struggle is real!

    • RitaQ on September 13, 2017 at 7:07 AM
    • Reply

    I don’t even know where to begin…. too funny!

    Don’t hate me for this comment but you picked the ‘wrong’ dog. And I can say that because I also have a ‘sporting’ breed… a Brittany. They are CRAZY! But so friggin adorable. And the reason we have such a love/hate relationship is that they are ‘sporting’ – they LOVE to run, jump, hunt – so they are our non-exhaustable running buddies.

    I cannot tell you the number of times, my adorable guy decided to ‘hunt’ / escape our yard (even with an invisible fence). This is probably why his first family let me adopt him. Too many adventures.

    Fast forward 16 years later, my old guy just celebrated his ‘sweet sixteen’ on 9/11 and I would not given up one moment of his craziness. He now creaks around on very old unstable legs but still wants to go on his trail walk most days. Years ago, I yearned for the ‘no leash pull’ walks and now I so desperately wish for him a little bound in his step.

    Give Star a big hug & hang in there.

    1. I don’t hate you at all because you would think I picked the wrong dog but I actually picked her ON PURPOSE! I know. Obviously I had no clue what “active” and “stubborn” really meant and, as a truly clueless person I was thinking “that won’t happen to me.” Right.
      But yes, I know the day is coming when I will fondly remember these days but, mostly it seems like a LONG way off. We’re choosing to embrace the crazy and my husband constantly reminds me this is all my fault 🙂 LOL! Thanks Rita.

    • Dana on September 13, 2017 at 7:39 AM
    • Reply

    I can relate! Training works, but it takes ALOT of time and effort on your part, and some dogs are more challenging than others. With Nellie, I had no time or energy to train while wrangling a four and seven year old. Hazel is calmer, though, and I can invest more time because my kids are independent. Star is so young – hopefully she will chill as she gets older. And a tired dog is a well behaved dog, so keep running with her!

    It’s hard to stay mad at them, isn’t it? I actually hugged Hazel after she ate my flip flop, and I still look at the rescues as if I’m looking for another dog.
    Dana recently posted…The six types of parents at Back to School nightMy Profile

    1. You summed it up with – a tired dog is a well behaved dog < - - YES! I send her to camp on the regular and run 2-3 days a week. She is so much better running around and playing then with the long walk days...kind of like me 🙂 And yes, it's so hard to stay mad. Impossible.

  1. You have given me hope that I might have a chance with the little being growing inside of me. Or I might just let Ridley raise her 😀
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Bank of America Chicago Marathon Guide and RecapMy Profile

    1. You will be a GREAT mom and Ridley is so good already so I’m going to say that is a win/win!

    • Your Husband on September 13, 2017 at 8:48 AM
    • Reply

    Just to go on record, we will NOT be getting another dog! I finally somewhat, kind of, every once in awhile like this one 🙂

      • RitaQ on September 13, 2017 at 11:43 AM
      • Reply

      That’s what my husband says too!

    1. I’m pretty sure we’re getting a pug but I will let you believe this if it makes you feel better. Love you!
      PS – remember when you only wanted one kid?

        • jess on September 15, 2017 at 2:51 PM
        • Reply

        I wanted a pug!!! Not eavesdropping on your comments or anything… just sayin’ 😉
        jess recently posted…5 Things I Didn’t Expect During Pregnancy as a Personal TrainerMy Profile

        1. LOL! My kids are obsessed with pugs and ask if we can get one pretty much every single day… I mean, how much trouble could a cute little pug cause?

            • Your Husband on September 15, 2017 at 5:38 PM

            This is turning into a nightmare! 😉

  2. Oh my gosh, truer words never spoken. I got Rocket when he was 4, but raised 3 other dogs from puppies with my ex-husband (he took 3 in the divorce, I took 1…guess who won?). THEY ARE EXHAUSTING. And frustrating. And people are so freaking weird about animals. I worked in a vet’s office in college for about a year and saw some truly absurd things. The judgement is real! People are fairly understanding about the fact that Rocket hates other animals, but I think that’s only because he is really good with people. Even so, we get tons of “Well, have you tried talking to a trainer?” and “Why don’t you socialize him more?” Yes, we tried talking to a trainer, and the trainer literally said “There is no hope for this dog.” Yes, we tried socializing him more, and he tried to kill whatever he socialized him with! He is hopeless. That being said…I honestly don’t think we will ever get another puppy. He’s 12.5 years old now, and while we will definitely get a younger dog (more training and socializing time, haha!), I don’t see us getting a puppy. We’d probably want a 1-2 year old dog. I can’t do the puppy stage again. I so feel your pain. Also, people who say things like “My dogs are my kids”…the worst.

    1. Oh Danielle you know my pain!!! And why is it that people are so much more understanding about dog on dog hate then a dog hating people? It’s SO true! And I can absolutely tell you we will never get another puppy. We were supposed to adopt an older dog but those puppy pictures are like crack!! Thank you for all your words. They are super helpful!!

  3. Oh man… we’re getting requests for a dog but I just don’t think I can do it!!
    Laura recently posted…Training tips for a strong race finish + Last week’s workoutsMy Profile

    1. My advice is to wait as long as possible and then adopt an older dog who likes to nap.

  4. Love love love this post – and relate so much!
    Dogs are weird and gross. I have on a semi-daily basis carried a bag of dog poo while running with one of the dogs and searching for a trashcan. Charlie once at an unused tampon and then pooped it out in the downtown area on a busy Saturday and that was perhaps the most disgusting thing and embarrassing I have ever had to deal with. But still, I love these two stinky pups to pieces.
    Let me tell you this – getting another one made having a dog easier! Charlie and Ollie keep each other occupied and leave me alone.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Pre-Run Snacks: When and What to Eat Before Your RunMy Profile

    1. So yeah – I forgot to bring a bag for poop on our first two runs so I had to go back afterward and pick it up!! Running around with the bag is truly awful so I feel for you 🙂 And I keep telling my husband that if we got another, smaller, less active dog, it would be easier…just like the boys – LOL!! Thanks Laura. Your advice through out this process has been beyond helpful!

    • danielle on September 13, 2017 at 12:49 PM
    • Reply

    errrrmehhhgerrrd don’t even get me started! i married my hubby with 2 fur babies, and immediately my life changed. yes for the better, but they are demanding little fur balls! though they do not eat or destroy everything, they have other fun issues. just off the top, muffin has bladder control issues, dj is an alpha dog and doesn’t know he’s 8 pounds. he loses his mind with other dogs, which sends muffin into a tizzy. they are not socialized and not calm. they are loving and sweet with me, but do not love our baby. they simply tolerate her.. barely. dj would be fine if she was not here, but our baby loves the dogs so too bad for them. muffin just cares about playing fetch and even if the house were on fire and blazing, she would want me to throw her toys. they are totally insane animals and drive me bonkers. people without kids can judge me all they want, i don’t care because i’m busy minding the business of my crazy family. i used to take them on runs when i was pregnant but now i have to take muffin in a stroller, she’s a good fetch dog but not a good endurance dog 🙂 dj will run forever, he can easily do a 5k. like i said, the drive me batshit crazy but i love the heck out of them. dog love is a very deep and maniacal love. it’s frustrating and gritty and a pain in the ass. it’s real love.

    1. It’s an emotional roller coaster for sure! And the little ones are always the ones barking like crazy. There’s this tiny little fur ball that lives across the street (Sugar) and barks like mad from the front door of its house every single morning when I walk by with Star. She totally ignores it. It’s hysterical.

  5. OMG! This is all so true! Pre kids we had a dog who had separation anxiety. We tried crating him when we weren’t home until one day I came home from work and he greeted me at the door. I then saw the destruction and was in awe. How did a 90 pound lab get out of a metal crate? He pried open the bars with his teeth (surprisingly didn’t lose any!) and slithered out of a teeny hole. And then ate a rug, toilet paper and a table. Yes a table. Cooper has been an angel for the majority of his 12 years. He was older when the kids were born so he was pretty chill. Until 3 months ago, when he discovered that we have a trash can. Now we can’t leave our trash can out because he gets into it. Even the locked kind. What a little shit…and still we are talking about getting another one.

    1. I believe it!! Star wrangled out of her crate early on too and caused more destruction than I ever dreamed possible from one dog in 2 hours. Gotta love the table eating. I mean, seriously? Why do we love these things so much again? And good to know that issues can arise at any stage in their life. Just when you think it’s over, someone has to put the garbage on lock down! LOL!!

    • Suzy on September 13, 2017 at 1:19 PM
    • Reply

    Animals are so therapeutic! I’ve had cats, dogs, lizards, snakes, and my favourite by far are cats, but I do love dogs. More at other people’s houses, just because I don’t like cleaning up poo. I already clean up enough poo.
    Suzy recently posted…Postpartum Running: Week TwoMy Profile

    1. The poo is insane!!! You are a smart woman to have every animal except a dog – hahaha!!!

    • Dawn on September 13, 2017 at 2:21 PM
    • Reply

    This had me rolling: “Just like kids, you do the best you can to raise them properly but they can still turn out to be assholes.” haha! You have a real way with words. I love it! We don’t have a dog, which is probably just as well, b/c I don’t think I could handle one!

    1. It’s just so true Dawn!! And please, do yourself a favor and never get a dog. But then you would miss out on all the good stuff 🙂

  6. The joys of having a dog! Our Shih Tzu dog was super active, runs around, jumps, goes up the stairs, barks at strangers…Of course, it’s also partly me and my sibling’s fault as we are not good at training him, and just wanted to play with him. He has now passed away, but I will always treasure the good memories having him.
    Erica Lindeman recently posted…How Service Dogs Act as CaregiversMy Profile

    1. Awwww. We had a Shih Tzu growing up and it barked non-stop! The only one it truly loved was my mom and it was fiercely protective of her. I have so many good memories of that dog but I’m sure my mom would say all the same things about behavior and naughtiness. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  7. Love this ariticle< Thanks, for Sharing!

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