At our recent Cousins’ Camp, every grandchild was begging their parents for a dog. (Except the child who just succeeded in convincing her parents to get a second dog. She is an expert at adorable eyes.)

In an attempt to help our own adult children and parents everywhere, here are three reasons you should not give in to such entreaties. Three of the best reasons you should not get your children a dog:

  1. Dogs are messy! Hair, slobber, potty-accidents, food and water spills. Even our outdoor hunting dogs liked to come in the house for a visit most evenings. Who needs that kind of hassle? Why would we want to teach our children that an evening snuggle with the unconditional love of a Lab is worth a little mess? Really. What lesson would that reinforce, after all?

2.Dogs are expensive! Even the mutts you get at the pound, the ones you supposedly rescue from destruction. They are going to cost you vet bills, food bills, carpet-cleaning bills, computer-cord-replacement bills when they confuse yours for a chew toy. You could save all that money and spend it on a

new X-Box instead. I’m sure you’d rather teach your children that it is better to spend money on stuff than on a live animal that will reciprocate your love and build an actual relationship.

3. Dogs will break your heart. Ours just did. She died of old age right after Cousins’ Camp. Surely you want to save your children from that pain. Why would you want to teach them about the circle of life? Or how to cope with sorrow? Why would you ever want them to know that to hurt deeply means you have loved deeply? And that that to love deeply is a gift to treasure? Really. Do you want to go through all that?