I am decidedly a non-dog person. Actually, a non-animal person altogether if I’m being honest. And cats? Don’t even get me started. The type of pet that is most closely matched to my interest level is a fish. Probably just a goldfish really, not a fancy fish or anything. If it’s more demanding than that it’s simply too much for me. Fish tanks and aquariums can be very beautiful. Also, the sound of bubbling water is quite soothing and there’s never really a need to touch a fish. When you touch furry animals you get dirty/smelly hands and that’s before the nasty critters even start licking you, ewww.

We’re getting a dog? For real?

Getting a dog is the #1 best thing we ever did for our family. Wait, what? How did I make this jump? Probably a combination of things. Here’s some background: a few years ago my youngest was in preschool four days a week. My bigs were in big kid school all day. I desperately wanted a 4th baby. My husband did not share this desire and held his ground. Somehow my desired baby turned into a puppy? Not quite sure about the logic but let’s not sweat the deets.

But just as quickly as the idea came, it was dropped. We had somehow temporarily forgotten that our daughter was allergic to dogs. And 2 out of our 3 kids were scared of dogs. I’d even somehow managed to forget that I don’t really care for dogs myself (well except for puppies and super cute older dogs or any dog with a special talent — I’m not a monster y’all).

And then we met a neighbor of ours who had a Goldendoodle and for whatever reason, my kids were not afraid of it like they were other dogs. Our neighbor told us that these types of dogs were hypoallergenic … well actually no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, but still a safer choice for my allergic kid. We did some field allergy testing (read: we had our daughter rub her face all over the dog and let the dog lick her) and she passed with flying colors. It was decided — we would get a dog. A Goldendoodle, specifically.

Enter Motley

Somehow we found the very best dog on the planet. I truly believe that God will only give you what you can handle. Which completely explains why I got an easy dog. There is simply no way I could have handled anything else. Even as a puppy, Motley (Motley Mozzarella or Mots for short) was not terribly crazy. He was practically house trained by the time we brought him home and very minimally destructive (pillows and stuffed animals being his main weakness). I joke that he is my true baby and I gave birth to him but (beyond the obvi), there’s no way in the world. Mots has more chill than I could gather on a childless tropical island vacation with a steady vodka IV drip. He is seriously that amazing.

Having this super cool dog has changed every member of our family. Our now teenager was legit terrified of dogs when she was young. When we brought Motley home she was 10 years old and very timid around him. A few weeks in and she was his favorite person, her fear completely eliminated. My middle child is like me simply not being terribly interested in animals. Also, just like me, he adores Mots more than just about anything. He is the first kid to start a game of fetch and play with him outside. Our youngest child is obsessed with Motley and has been since day one. He was only 4 when we brought our dog home and he is completely comfortable with animals now. He and Mots are officially #1 besties.

love a dog

Do you want a dog, too?

The benefits of having a dog are countless. Many people are already aware of the health benefits kids get from exposure to pets. But the good stuff does not stop there. Did you know that children with a family dog are more physically active? There are even cognitive benefits. Studies show that kids with dogs exhibit more prosocial behaviors than their non-dog owning peers. That being said, dog ownership is not for everyone.

Getting a dog is obviously not the right choice for every family. If you are at a stage in life where you don’t have time to train a dog or are gone from home for long stretches, it’s probably not a good choice. For our family, when we got a dog it was at a good time for us. My husband and I work from home and we are past the baby and toddler stages. My kids are old enough to help out with chores associated with the dog. Not saying they necessarily actually do any of those chores but they are physically able to if needed.

If you are in a good place to get a dog but on the fence about the decision, I say go for it. Speaking as a nondog lover with allergic kids who were afraid of dogs, getting a dog was the very best thing we ever did for our family. I would give it my very highest rating of two snaps up with a twist and a kiss. Doooo it!

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Kristy Riley
Kristy was born in Key West and spent her childhood moving all over the east coast courtesy of her Naval officer Mom, Maggi. Kristy lived in Jacksonville from high school until 2018 when she relocated to St. Augustine. A few years after graduating from college she met her husband Craig, affectionately known as many variations of Crugger. They married in 2005 and had daughter Madeline in 2006, son Baylor in 2009 and son Connor in 2012. A non-dog-lover, she is OBSESSED with the family Goldendoodle, Motley. She thinks glitter is the devil but loves everything DIY and has paint under her fingernails more often than not. Kristy and Craig enjoy an entrepreneurial spirit and run several small businesses, including her camper flipping side hustle, Sassy Campers. If she's not working you are sure to find her at a football/ baseball/ soccer field. She is excited to explore her new city!