If a cute new puppy is at the top of your kids' Christmas list, you might be running through the big list of pros and cons right now.  Dogs are cute, but they poop.  What else?

Adding a new dog to the family is a pretty huge decision that just might have the most unfair outcome of the whole holiday season if you're looking at it from the parent's side.  Oh, dogs are awesome, BUT.  They are life changers.  Just like kids.

The kids only see the bright side in all this, which is probably a great way to live.  They promise the moon because they want a dog so bad!  They are quick to offer to supply every bit of food the dog needs when they don't have a job to buy the kibbles, and they promise to get up in the middle of the night to let the dog out when Mama knows full well she'll be the one outside all winter at 3am freezing her butt off and waiting on the dog to do number two.  It sure does feel like the kids get all the pros in this situation.

I know you've got some things to add to this running pro-con list of dog ownership.

Pros of owning a dog:

Dogs are cute

Dogs are great companions

Dogs teach the kids responsibility

Dogs can scare off unscrupulous types

Dogs become members of the family

It's one less dog that needs a good home.  He or she found one.

The kids are SO happy

Unconditional love anytime, all the time

Cons of owning a dog:

Dogs poop.  A lot.

Vacation planning gets more difficult.

Schedules have to include running home to let the dog out.

Puppies need constant supervision or they'll chew up stuff.  Or poop under the Christmas tree.

The cost of food, leashes, grooming and vet bills

The cost of replacing all of the things the puppy chewed up.

And then there's the timing of it all.  If the dog or puppy is a Christmas present, when do you get it?  It's ideal to have the puppy in a basket under the tree on Christmas morning, but if you find one you like three weeks early, how do you hide it that long? I couldn't.

I came to grips with the cons list, and bought the kids a puppy and I gave it to them November 25th.  He was ready to go, and I knew he'd be gone by Christmas so I couldn't wait.  And now the kids are wondering if they'll get any other gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning.  Hmm...maybe a dog collar?

Other Christmas gifts break, lose parts, and eventually get tossed aside because the kids have outgrown them, but this dog (that we've named Benny), will still be licking our noses and curling up on our laps in five, ten, and maybe thirteen years if all goes well.  Maybe a dog is a pretty good Christmas gift after all. Once he's housebroken that is!

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