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To have or not to have…a dog

To have or not to have…a dog

Many of us have been through this quandary in our lives at one point or another- some of us have succumbed, while others have been stoic and refused to succumb. The discussion usually begins with the kids wanting a dog and making all sorts of promises about helping take care of the dog, which are promptly forgotten the minute the dog arrives.

We used to have a dog in the family when my brother and I were teenagers- when we were going away to college, my parents decided to get a dog so not to feel the empty-nest syndrome. That dog, Teddy, lived a very happy and healthy life for 10 years and died just before my older daughter was born.

I did not get a pet myself for almost 20 years after marriage and children- life was just too busy with two jobs, two growing children and far too many demands on our time. It was only when my younger daughter turned 10 that dog rumblings started in our home- by the time she was 13, we had moved into a house , which was the last condition to be fulfilled, and we had to succumb. My husband and older daughter were tolerant (okay, ambivalent) towards a pet, but my younger one and I decided the onus of dog-care would be on us and there we were in January 2008 with a 5-month old golden retriever puppy, Jasmine. It was the most adorable thing we had set our eyes on and five years later, as the picture alongside shows, it remains the most adorable thing in our lives.

Here are some things you have to make sure of before deciding to get a dog

– you have the time and energy to commit to bringing up a dog and believe me, time and energy are required;
– you should be willing to feed, walk and groom them as may be required and play with them occasionally- this is fairly time-consuming;
– you should treat them like members of the family, yet discipline them like you would your children;
– you should take them to the vet for periodic check-ups and have all their immunisations in order so they lead a healthy life

Though fairly high-maintenance, as time goes by, dogs are fairly undemanding and other than providing you and your family with unconditional love in return for food and regular walks, they sleep for the most part.


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Renuka Vaidyanathan, an erstwhile finance professional, opted out of the corporate rat race and now likes to think that she wears many interesting hats. She is an events’ organiser in the cultural space and also writes every now and then about people, places and events. She is an avid advocate of 'green living' and dabbles in some sitar-playing as well, albeit as an amateur.

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One thought on “To have or not to have…a dog

  1. Meera

    Thanks renuka for sharing this as we are having this debate in our house. Our 12 year old daughter is insisting on getting a dog …! Your post will help us revisit the discussion with a better perspective!


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