“But he’s so cute,” the dark-haired little girl cried as her mother took the runt of the litter from her. “Dad said we could get a puppy. I want this puppy. She’s so soft.”

Yesterday we had our first Adoption Day at the DePawsitory in Appleton. What a fantastic day and a super location. One of the first guests was the little girl with a plan.

We brought six puppies from three different litters and she honed in on the tint Terrier/Mix. She sat herself down into the small chair and proceeded to cuddle and love and sing to that brown and town baby. Her eyes shone with excitement and Mom looked alternately thrilled and miserable.

“You sad…”

“No, Dad said for his house. I tried to call him but no one answered. We can try later.”

“But my dog will go home with someone else!”

We’ve heard conversations like over the years. Maybe you were that little girl or the mom who had to say no. It’s heart-wrenching to watch those fat tears fall and splash onto the puppy’s head as a child sobs as if their whole world is shattering apart one piece at a time.

You may be at that point where the kids are asking for a dog and you are waffling back and forth about saying yes or no. From personal experience, I can tell you that if you as a parent are not ready to do everything the kids said they would do if you aren’t willing or able to spend time and money in training a dog, getting vet care, and changing your lifestyle, then the answer should be no. This is a do as I say not as I did lesson. I gave in to the tears and the pleadings and ended up with the wrong dog for our family situation at the time. It was not a good experience.

At NEW PAWSibilities we love PAWSitive Endings. We want your dog to be the right dog at the right time for the right reasons. Go to our website and read all about those great stories. What we don’t like are dogs that get returned because a family wasn’t ready or realized what an investment of time and money was required. Thankfully that rarely happens.

So why a dog?

1. Kids who care for pets learn responsibility.

My grandson had a neighbor who could no longer walk their dog because of health issues so they hired Lucien for the chore. 6:00 came early every morning in the beginning and there was likely some mom coaxing to get him up and dressed, but it only took a few days for him to get up and run to the house to do his job. The daily commitment of caring for a dog is a fabulous way to begin the process of teaching children to be responsible members of society. He learned that while it took patience and work, it was something that made him feel good about himself.

2. Kids will have a loving companion as they grow.

For the same reason you love having a dog so will your son or daughter. Dogs have that unconditional love thing down pat. They never wish you weren’t around. For kids who are having a tough time in school or who don’t make friends as easily dogs are fantastic. They can tell their dog anything big or small and their dog will never, ever tell or tattle. Truly, there is no better friend for a child than a dog.

3. Kids with dogs get more exercise.

Dogs are not just buddies to snuggle with on the couch. Dogs love the outdoors and they really love the people who take them there. They have to be walked each day, several times if they are like my dogs, and they love to run and play. All of this physical activity is exactly what we all need, including kids. An active lifestyle is a healthier one and that can pay off for many years to come.

4. Dogs can help kids learn important social skills

When Lucien and I walk Coconut, everyone wants to stop and greet them. Lucien has become quite the little conversationalist with great social skills. Through teaching my dog to wait, sit, you don’t get the treat until you do what I know is best for you Lucien is learning skills such as obedience, impulse control, and self-confidence.

5. Family pets can lead to closer siblings.

Growing up we somehow adopted a stray named George. My brothers were forever bringing dogs home and my mother always said yes. Now that I have two dogs I can see what a saint she really was adding multiple dogs to a household of eight children. George. He never saw a leash he could not chew through and run away. He’d race after cars in the summer before air conditioning and jump into cars while the driver was idling at the stop light! He ran into buildings. He was, in short, an embarrassment to some of us. But you know what? Even as adults we have our “George Bond” the shared stories no one else knows. Shared responsibilities, shared play with dogs, shared chores, and even shared frustrations can and usually do lead to closer siblings.

6. Kids with dogs have fewer allergies and asthma.

Google “Pets and Asthma or allergies and you will find site after site of prestigious studies about the incredible lifelong benefits of kids living with animals from an early age. One study I read says that scientists have found that kids who grow up around dogs are 50% less likely to develop allergies and asthma than those who grow up without a dog. Wow!

There are so many other reasons for a family with young children to adopt a dog. It needs to be a group decision and one that is right for everyone. Puppies are more work but they are super cute and that hard work pays off. We have lots of new puppies right now so if a puppy is what you have in mind this weekend is the perfect time to look. Sometimes a dog midway through puppyhood can also be a good choice depending upon breed, age, size, and other factors. Don’t worry, NEW PAWSibilities has the best selection of dogs and we are happy to help you choose the right dog for your family.

The little girl was right. “Her” dog was adopted yesterday by a family who is going to be perfect for her. And I’m sure she’s angry and sad, maybe she sobbed herself to sleep about the dog of her dreams. But it was the right thing to do because an ambush dog is the worst possible dog, especially when the child moves between two different homes.

We are open seven days a week so please visit our website, choose a few dogs that everyone thinks might work, and then come in and visit. Who knows, you might walk out with a totally different dog, but whoever you choose will be perfect.

I hope they get a hold of Dad today because that perfect little dog has siblings who did not come with us. Maybe she’ll see get a Terrier puppy.

P.S. Mom gave permission for these pictures to be used.