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The Family Dog: His Evolving Role

The Family Dog: His Evolving Role

We have a dog. Did any of you even know that? I’m not sure I’ve mentioned him much. With all the priorities we are juggling these days, he seeems to be the most neglected member of our family.

We were never the dog is our baby people. We loved (love!) our dog. We took him places that were dog approrpiate, not to the mall or any other place that non-service dogs just don’t belong. We walked him and baked him birthday cakes but we always knew we were going to have real live human kids. In fact, we only had Walter (that’s his name, Walter, after Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears) for a few months before Max was born.

Now, sadly, I feel like sometimes Walter is overlooked. His nails are a little too long and once the weather turns cold and the skies get dark early in the evening he really doesn’t get walked as much as I’d like. Sure, sometimes we toss around a ball but that gets old quickly. His most spirited part of the day is when the school buses start rolling by each afternoon…which unfortuntely is also prime conference call time. So for someone who works from home, you can imagine how much fun that time of day is for me. He’s nervous around strangers, so is banished to our bedroom whenever we have guests and there is no love lost between him and and Max. They simply wish the other didn’t exist. I feel bad for the old pooch.

But, when you’re sick or just not feeling well and he follows you around (even Max); or at night, when the kids are in bed and he’s cuddled up next to me on the couch, or when my husband travels and he’s allowed to sleep on my bed (vs. the GIANT therapeutic LL Bean dog bed Santa brought him), it’s kind of like the good old days. The old family. Back when it was him and us and no real live human babies.

Sometimes I wonder if he’d be better off with a nice family who would focus more attention on him, but the thought of not having him around is just unthinkable.

Are we the only ones? How has your family dog fared since the birth of children?



  1. Lauren January 31, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    After reading your article, I can’t help but feel sad for not only your dog but for you. My dogs have always meant so much to me and been a big part of my family no matter how small or big it was and is. The fact that you’ve succumbed to the fact that your dog is neglected really bothers me and should bother any true animal-lover for that matter. My dogs have only enriched my life, and to see their connection with children is mesmerizing. I hope before it’s too late you get to experience this unspoken bond between pet and child.

    • Barbara Cornelio February 5, 2014 at 7:54 am

      After many visits to the doctor my dog passed away from cancer. We walked the day before he died.
      I loved his walks as much as he did because it made him happy. As I write this, I have tears spilling on the keyboard. I could not have loved him more and I miss him every day of the week.
      Yes, there are things that make us busy in life but you have a responsibility to your four legged baby as well. He doesn’t understand.
      I would take your dog baby, I would share my home, my bed. my heart and all the walks he ever needed if you would give him to me. Please think about him. My arms have been empty since September 19, 2013.

  2. Debra K February 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Yes he most definitely would be better off with a family that could love him and not ignore him! Pets give unconditional love and deserve love and attention in return. You say you loved your dog, in the past tense, but once your child(ren) came along you pretty much ignore him – that is not love, that is selfishness. there should be room in your heart for both your children and pets – or else you shouldn’t have pets!

  3. Dawn Peterson February 4, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Agree with both of the previous posters. We have 3 dogs and an 11 year old boy, and they’re ALL important and cherished. Dogs are such social animals, and are capable of real feelings – and you are doing your poor dog no favors. Either find a way to make him an important family member again, or rehome him with someone who will.

  4. Barbara Cornelio February 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Some people just don’t need animals and should give them to someone would cherish them as the magnificent animals that they are. Please don’t ever get a animal that you can’t make time for.

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