“This is Vivienne. She’s our dog.”

Lily wants a dog. I mean, really, really, really wants a dog. Various breeds of dogs adorn her room: stuffed dogs, tiny “puppy in my pocket” dogs, princess dogs with a castle, peeing dogs that Barbie must potty-train with included bottle, bone and cardboard newspaper.

“Being a dog” ranks high among her favorite things to play, which is most annoying during key moments like bedtime when she can’t possibly get undressed by herself and put on her pj’s on because “dogs can’t take their own fur off and I need help to put my new fur on.” I now simply play along and remind my “dog” that after her “new fur is on,” she has an “appointment at the veterinarian,” which provides a no-fuss method of brushing her teeth.

I really, really, really don’t want a dog. Ever. I have two children, whom I consider to be enough work; my house is hard enough to keep clean without added fur on all surfaces; I am a shoe addict who would definitely flip to see my new heels being used as a chew toy. I am not a dog person, and consider this to be an ingrained part of my personality. However, this does not deter Lily’s undying desire for one, and she continues to come up with new tactics of trying to convince me.

After tiring of repeating “no,” I told her that when she is 10, we could talk about getting a dog. I figured this had to be a phase she was bound to grow out of. After she picked out a barking dog for her birthday, she asked me to turn off the sound after five minutes. She couldn’t really want a real dog, right? But to this day, when anyone asks her how old she is, she says, “I’m four. But when I’m this many (holds up 10 fingers), I get a dog!” Crap. I really am regretting not saying, “when you live in your own house you can choose your own pets.”

Not able to fulfill her canine dreams, Lily turns to the next best thing: her little sister. It is not unusual to hear her say, “This is Vivienne. She’s our dog.” Much to Lily’s dismay, Vivienne is not a very good pet. Maybe when she gets a little older she will also delight in being strapped into a leash, playing fetch with a rubber ball and taking walks around the living room.

I’m not looking forward to the inevitable day when Vivienne will join in her sister’s pleas for a family pet. Will I succumb to my sweet girls when two sets of adorable eyes are peering up at me begging, “Pleeeeease, Mama?” Ask me again when Lily is 10.

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4 Responses to “This is Vivienne. She’s our dog.”

  1. Frank says:

    I’ve got a certain Chihuahua to loan her . . .

  2. Melissa says:

    I sympathize with your dilemma. Paul really wants a dog, but I keep telling him “not until we have a house with a yard”. I did convince him that a cat was a good substitute, thinking they could never perpetrate the kind of problems dogs do, but he’s somehow found a way to turn them into dogs. To his credit, he has taught them to play fetch, come when called, and sleep at his feet. We even take them out for walks in the yard on little harnesses. I know, ridiculous. Unfortunately, they have also eaten four (yes four!) pairs of leather high heels (and one set was brand new, gold BCBG stilletos that I only wore once!!! Grrr!). Apparently they’ve taken their role as dog-substitutes a bit too seriously.

  3. Trish says:

    Now that Sam is 2, he is trained by the big kids to pretend to be their dog on the leash. He eats cherrios from a bowl with his mouth, goes for walks, barks, and even licks all of us. Funny thing is, if he meets a dog in real life, he is terrified. My kids have really reved up their pleas for a real dog since school’s out. I feel like you. Not much would ever convince me to get one, but it sure is hard to say no everyday… several times a day even! I hope we are able to persevere. Good luck!

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