There are many things that families have to take into account when they’re considering adding a pet to their brood. Granted some pets are more low maintenance than others, but if you’re going to go all in (as you should), then you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad (the frustrating, the gross, the smelly, the mischievous…).
It’s been argued that having a pet isn’t worth it – and for some, it just isn’t. The costs, the time commitment, the fur all over all of the literal everything, the mud traipsed through the house, the smells, the nose and paw-smeared doors and windows, the poop, the destruction…All things that families have to contemplate before becoming a pet’s people. But for others, any chaos or craziness that their four-legged family member brings to the equation is more than balanced out by the good. The loves, the sweet personality quirks that often make them seem so…people-y. Their willingness to be dressed up in silly outfits, their patient tolerance with their kids’ antics, their protectiveness and utter devotion to their people. Yes, if you’re going to go all in, the rewards will almost always outweigh any negatives.
We asked our Facebook followers and friends to share with us their pet stories*: the funny, the frustrating, the heart-melting; and they delivered.
*Responses have been edited for length and clarity
Um…That Wasn’t For You
- We set a three-pack of ribeye steaks on the counter to thaw and left to run an errand. We came back to find the package still on the counter, but with two of the steaks gone and a seemingly intact package, aside from a carefully created slit on the side of it. It was odd. Found one steak in the yard, the other in our room, and surprisingly the two bigger dogs had shared some with the tiny, senior dog… We ate sandwiches… –Rachel Roubique Chavarria
- I baked some muffins one day, many years ago now, and after getting them out of the oven and putting them on the cooling rack, I left them on the kitchen bench to cool while I picked the kids up from school. On coming home I noticed that half of the mini muffins were missing, and a pooch with a very large stomach who, for some reason, didn’t want any food that night…. –Lyaine Munro
Lesson (NOT) Learned
Coco Lee has had her stomach pumped about three times. She has an affinity for Easter candy, sugar-free gum, and Hershey’s Symphony bars. Somehow she never learns her lesson, and has a sweet tooth worse than mine! Here she is, caught in the act with a Kit-Kat in mouth! –Jane Lee
- My friend’s bulldog ate her couch. Had to have emergency surgery to remove the stuffing from his intestine. Undeterred, he ended up back at the vet a year later because he was not passing anything through his bowels and wouldn’t eat. After x-rays, an ultrasound, massive amounts of laxatives and a $700 vet bill, he had the world’s most explosive bowel movement and out came…his chew toy. Problem solved. –Jennifer Ann Smith
In Case You Were Wondering…
- A box of red wine plus a bored 16-month-old black lab do not mix. Ummm… kennel, not so much. –Becca Lee-Sedlacek
Did I (we) Do That?
My husband was moving food from our freezer to the one in the garage so he could thaw it out. He had set a brand new pack of ice pops on the deck table and forgot they were there. I walked outside to a popsicle massacre all over the deck and two very pleased, but very sticky dogs. Roxy, 7 years, was feeling a little guilty, but Radar, 5 months, was very pleased with himself. –Jorden Dupuis Gilfeather
- Our Zoey, rest her naughty soul, single paw-edly got onto our island and flooded our entire house 6 months post remodel. We needed all new wood floors and baseboards. –Rachel Fletcher Biggs
- Our dogs were chasing each other through the house one night when one knocked over the food dishes. They both stopped instantly and started eating the spilled food as fast as they could. We joked that they had a total “Oh crap, Mom is going to be so mad at this mess!” moment. –Mandi Crable
- We had a Welsh pony mule named Molly that my Dad bought in 1963; she died in 2004. Well, Molly got bored easily! When I was in high school, we had her in the corral with a pig we were feeding up. The pig was laying out enjoying a sunny February day when Molly tiptoed – honestly – up to him and nipped at his ears. The pig shook his head and relaxed again. Molly did it again with the same result…..and again….. Finally, the pig got up and stuck his head under the shed to get away from her. Molly tiptoed up and clamped down on the little spiral tail that was sticking up so invitingly. They bounced around the corral with the pig squealing and Molly hanging on to his tail with her brakes on for a full five minutes!!!!!!!!! –Libby Erb
After dating my husband for a few years, while attending college in different towns, I decided he needed a companion. If you know my husband, you know that he is quirky. So, logically, the most reasonable pet to get him would be a potbellied pig. For Christmas, that’s exactly what I got him, and two days later he proposed to me! (I always give the pig much of the credit). Years later, a few months after having our first baby, our pig Otis got sick and passed away. He was such a joy to have and always a wonderful conversation starter. We have lots of fond memories and stories of him, like when he ransacked the house one evening while we were out for a date or when we got him a baby sister – a more normal pet – Penny (our Golden) who is shown in the picture. –Ashlynn Reynolds-Dyk
- The horse I had from the time I was about 10 until he died just a few months into my sophomore year of high school, was this gentle, one brown-one blue-eyed love of a horse. He was completely trustworthy if a pain to get in from the pasture for a ride. He had this one odd quirk, though. I love music, so there were times when I would start singing while I was riding; there was one song that never failed to stop him in his tracks. I kid you not. If I started singing “Lean on Me,” he would freeze and refuse to move forward until I either stopped or picked a different song. –Becca
- I work from home, and our dog either sits behind my chair or underneath the desk laying on the chair base. Every time I move he looks at me like he is just disappointed that he had to move. This goes on multiple times throughout the day every day, and when I get up for longer than five minutes, my cat sits on the seat of my chair and resists getting down. But I would not have it any other way. –Toni Brady
- Sweet though he may be, Mikey has mastered the stink eye, and recently he debuted a very teenager-y glare. Heaven help the person who dares to loudly sneeze, or turn a light on when he’s dozing and nestled in his bed. You can’t help but apologize. And forget about it if he’s snuggled in/on your legs and you need to change positions, he has no sympathy for cramping limbs. –Becca
- Our collie went up to my grampa took his sleeve and led him around our yard when I was a kid. My grampa had macular degeneration. Perry, the dog, took him by the roses and other flower beds all the way around the house. My Aunt Cheryl and I watched this. I think there may have been a tear or two during this touching display of doggy love. –Peggy Arnold
Why it’s all worth it
- The snuggles, with direct eye contact, that makes everything all ok! -Rachel Fletcher Biggs
- They’re part of the family. Our 7-year-old female is so protective of our kids whenever they’re out, she always stays ahead of them on walks to keep them safe. Our 6-month-old male is such a lover, but all goofy boy at the same time. They genuinely love us and want to be involved in everything we do, just like our kids. -Jorden Dupuis Gilfeather
Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s September 2018 issue.
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