Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

After Visiting Friends, Kids Want a Dog

DEAR HARRIETTE: My kids spent the weekend with good friends from school while my husband and I took a much-needed mini-vacation. When we picked them up, all they could talk about was how much fun they had playing with their friends’ dog. They have talked nonstop about wanting to have their own dog, which is not in the cards for us. For one, I am allergic, but even if we got a hypoallergenic dog, I don’t have the time or the inclination to walk or tend to a dog, and I know my children ultimately won’t do it. My husband won’t either.

How can I break it to my kids that I’m really not going to give in to their endless begging for a dog? -- No Furry Friends, Boston

DEAR NO FURRY FRIENDS: Stay firm in your convictions. You have to be clear about what you can manage for your family. You can also get creative about how your children can experience more doggy time in their lives. Perhaps they can visit friends who have dogs with more regularity. You can also check in with the local ASPCA to see if your children can volunteer there to help support their work on rescuing and re-homing animals. Your need to not have a dog at home does not mean that your children cannot get to know dogs.

I am similar to you; what I did was talk to a local pet grooming shop to see if my daughter could volunteer there. They happily agreed, and she goes in from time to time to learn about how these people groom dogs. Occasionally she gets to play with the dogs, too.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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