Every boy should have a dog. Growing up, I had a dog called Sam. I even named my youngest son after him. It’s a rite of passage, teaches your children responsibility, creates a bond like nothing else they’ll ever experience in their lives. And is a great excuse to get out and about on walkies.
But we live in a flat. It’s not fair to keep a dog cooped up in a place with no outside space. Then there’s the dog hair, to which I’m allergic.
But should I deprive my children of one of the life-enchancing childhood experiences for the sake of something that a daily tab of Centrizine Hydrochloride could take care of?
These are the questions that have been rolling around my mind ever since my seven year-old bonded with a puppy called Bella during our trip to Manchester recently. Ever since he was tiny, he’s had a connection with our family dogs. Here is a picture of him when he was just a few months old, reaching out to my dad’s Border Collie (also called Sam).
So he asked me: ‘Dad, can we have a puppy for Christmas?’
‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas,’ I replied, dismissively.
‘But I’d look after him,’ he said.
Was he being sincere? I put it to the test.
‘What would you prefer: a puppy or Skylanders (the latest video game du jour)?’
Without hesitation, he replied: ‘A puppy.’
So that’s the dilemma. There are a thousand emotional reasons for having a dog, but equally there are a thousand practical reasons not to have one. Even if we decided to get one, the questions are endless: what kind of dog would be best for a flat? I know I wouldn’t have one of those teeny-tiny nervous yapping handbag dogs the celebs carry around with them. And a ‘proper’ dog like a Border Collie or a Black Labrador would be far too big for our place.
So what do we do?
I haven’t decided yet, but I’ll keep looking at these pictures.