Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Am Not Trying to Break Her Heart

Viva has been asking for a dog since she was 3 years old. For a couple of years there, she would ask for a dog pretty much Every. Single. Day.  Finally, Sweet Dub declared that we would get her a puppy when she turned 8. At that point, he reasoned, she would be semi-responsible enough to handle some of the chores that come with having a dog, although he realized that We the Parents would have the bulk of the caretaking duties.  Viva was satisfied with this, and at every birthday since, she has mentioned that she is one year closer to getting a dog. You know, in case we forgot.


You see the foreshadowing, right? Okay, moving on.


When we moved into our current house, we brought it up with the landlords to make sure they would be okay with us getting a dog. They were dog owners themselves and said that was fine. All was well.


We are now less than two months away from Viva's 8th birthday. And we also now realize we must move in September, if not before, since our landlords have moved back to CA and want their house back.  I would hate to get a dog and then have to move into a place that's not pet-friendly out of desperation or financial necessity and then have to farm it out to relatives, or worse, take it to the pound. So here we are. For literally years, we've been planning to get a dog (or two) when Viva turns 8. I've imagined various scenarios via which we would surprise her, the joy on her face, etc., and dammit, just the plain fun of having a puppy.


It doesn't look like that's going to happen in the planned timeframe. It bums me out on Viva's behalf.


Also (and take with a grain of salt): the Experts say that you shouldn't introduce a cat or dog into the family if you have a baby or toddler. You should ideally wait until the kid is at least three to minimize the possibility of the animal biting an over-affectionate or not very gentle kid. So there's that then.


Keep in mind that my own parents promised me a dog for years. I actually got a puppy (the cutest thing EVER) when I was 11. My mom named her Jamocha, after her favorite coffee, but we called her Moki for short. I housetrained her, I walked her, I was actually pretty responsible with her. And then my parents decided she was getting too big for our (admittedly small) apartment and GAVE HER AWAY. I know the heartbreak and I can't do that to my baby.


(Even now as an adult, I understand why we couldn't keep the puppy but it still makes me furious that they would let me get a German Shepherd-Lab mix in the first place. You had to figure it was going to be a fairly large dog. But that's a psychological scab you don't want to pick at, so let's bury it deep once again and move on.)


I'm hoping we can put Viva off for a while (tell her she'll have to wait for now), get our housing situation settled, and then surprise her with a puppy at Christmas. Maybe.


(My puppy was so cute. She was black and tan and when she wagged her tail her whole body would shake back and forth.  The first night she came home I slept snuggled up with her on the kitchen floor. )


What about you? Have you ever promised something to a child and then had to back off? Did you pretty much feel like crap? Discuss.



Nerd Girl said...

Awww...poor Viva. My kiddo has been begging for a dog, and I'm seriously considering it. But I'd never tell her that.

I don't think that I've had to break a promise yet - but I go out of my way not to make promises. I am the queen of "we'll see." Which I know must drive my poor girl batty!

Hopefully Viva will get her dog - sooner rather than later. And I'm sorry y'all have to move. Again.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Yeah, this falls under the "Note to Self: Do Not Do This Again in Future" category for my dear husband, who made this promise without discussing with me first. :-)

I'm interested now to see which one of us will get a dog first! Keep me posted!

Bridget said...

Awww... nothing beats a new puppy.

I generally try not to make "promises" per se but there have been times when we planned on something and, because of circumstances out of everyone's control, it didn't materialize. Sometimes it happened later and that I learned, inadvertently, taught my kids a little life lesson (Delayed Gratification, party of two?)

On the dog front, I did Dalmatian Rescue for 7 years and many dogs came to us for a variety of different reasons (moving was a big one). There's something in your story with your childhood dog that could help Viva and that is that you always want it to be "the right dog at the right time" (to the best of anyone's ability). You don't want a dog to have to go through multiple owners/situations if you can help it.

And just because she's turning 8 doesn't mean that she's not 8 for a whole year, right? It could happen after you move and she'd still be 8. Maybe that angle could help lessen the hurt a bit?

Keep us posted. We'd all love a great puppy picture whenever it happens!