One and Done :: Why My Family is Never Getting Another Dog


My husband and I got married when we were 22, both newly graduated from college. We were just babies, though I didn’t think so at the time. After a year of marriage, we decided it was time to get a dog, so we headed to the local animal shelter to check out the small dogs. We lived in a tiny apartment in a big east coast city and a big dog would have been bigger than our entire kitchen. We brought “Mr. Cooper” home from the shelter, immediately dropped the “Mr.” and called him Cooper, and promptly fell in love with the wire-haired, shaggy-bearded mutt who loved ice cream and walks and riding in the car on my lap.

Our first picture with Cooper, back when we were all young

After twelve years of life with Cooper, he went to doggie-heaven this past summer. He was a wonderful dog and we loved him dearly. We gave him a great life, and he enriched ours. But despite a positive experience as dog owners, my husband and I have pinky-promised and sworn a blood oath to each other that we won’t get another dog, no matter how cute that doggie in the window may be.

No more dogs

Our children are already asking, but the answer is no. Why, you ask? Is it because we are heartless meanies? Do we want to deny love and affection to our children? Do we secretly love cats? No, no, and definitely not. Here’s why we’re not getting another dog:


Dogs take time. A lot of it. We have five kids, and kids take time. A lot of it. We want to invest our time in our children, our neighborhood, our community, and our church. This doesn’t mean getting a pet is a bad thing, but we just don’t have the time to give to train and love a pup well.


Our families both live out of state, and as educators, we both have summers off. This means we spent lots of time traveling, and we like it that way. Our dog Cooper suffered from extreme anxiety, likely due to past neglect/abandonment, though we don’t know for sure since he couldn’t tell us all he’d been exposed to in the two years before we adopted him. This means we couldn’t board him, and even leaving him with a pet sitter went very poorly the few times we tried. We had to take him with us everywhere we traveled for twelve years, and that got old. If we couldn’t find a pet-friendly hotel or place to stay, we couldn’t go. Now that we are dogless, we can plan a last-minute weekend getaway or drive cross-country in the summer and go inside a restaurant to eat lunch instead of eating in the car so the dog doesn’t die of heat stroke. I’m never going back.


Dogs cost money and, like I mentioned, we have five kids who also cost a lot of money. They’re worth it to us, and a dog is not. I know we sound like heartless jerks, but we want to spend our money differently.


I have two kids in diapers and there is poop everywhere. Dogs poop everywhere. I am tired of poop everywhere. No more dogs.

One and done

A very good boy

Please don’t hear me discourage you from getting a dog or loving your dog. They can be great, for so many people and for so many reasons. But just because something is good doesn’t mean everyone needs that thing. Plus, I’ve already promised my kids they can go into the pet sitting business for our friends and neighbors once our youngest isn’t a baby any longer (which won’t be long because babies don’t keep).


Cooper was one of a kind, and I don’t want to try to replace him. So we’re one and done, and we’ll always remember with fondness our very good pup.

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Mallory grew up in Oklahoma, met her husband Dave in college there, and they have lived in Maryland, Michigan, and now Alabama since getting married in 2008. She graduated from Michigan State University with a PhD in exercise physiology in 2014, and her family then moved to Birmingham so she could start a job as a college professor. She is mom to five great kids ages nine and under, and considers it a tremendous joy to get to invest in the lives of both her kids and her students. In her free time, Mallory enjoys family walks around the neighborhood, reading to her kids, bargain hunting, home improvement projects, and being involved in the children’s and missions ministries at her church.


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