Today I got a message from my daughter about Beagles looking for a home, dogs that have been used for animal testing and now live in an animal shelter. My reply was: “Is there something I need to read in-between the lines?”.
It is not the first time my daughter brings up the discussion about wanting to have a pet dog added to our household consisting of four humans, 2 cats and eventually a dog. Although I personally do not dislike the idea of a dog, I want my daughter and the rest of the family to consider all aspects of what it means to take care of a dog.
For now the most evident factor against having a dog is a financial aspect. Although, that is from my perspective. If we have to sustain the costs of a dog we will have to cut on other expenses. Next to that we have practical points to take care of like who is going to walk the dog several times a day, how will it work out with the cats, who is going to take care of the dog when we go on holidays, etc.
Funny is the battle that goes on in myself. On one side I like the idea of having a dog and if, on top of that, we can give this being a better life, why not do it. I must admit that the financial part scares me most. As we still have some challenges sometimes to get at the end of the month because every month it seems we have some extra’s to cover, I am not very keen in choosing for an action that will involve some initial costs and systematic extra monthly costs with a very slim but still extra chance that we might run in extra veterinary bills if we consider worst case scenario’s.
So, how to face this situation and keep everybody happy? Since it is a father’s duty to keep family members happy, isn’t it? I’ve already agreed my daughter will look at the real costs of having a dog. The fear or pressure she feels now is that the dogs are available now and nobody knows when a similar situation with the almost ideal dog race will repeat itself.
Important here is not to allow ourselves to be distracted by opinions, emotions and fears. We have to consider all points carefully and sum up all pros and cons to make a final decision at this moment in time. This will be a process all members of our family will have to walk for themselves.
For me the main point is the financial point that, seen purely from a practical aspect, will impact our immediate cash availability for this and maybe next month, and a little extra to consider on a monthly basis. To decide here is if we want and can postpone or change immediate expenses. The easiest way to save money is to spend less on food but that will force us to buy cheaper and unhealthier food.
All the other points are also relevant but a lot easier to consider although they might have a considerable impact, like walking the dog, feeding and cleaning. I also wonder how wise it is to add a dog to the family with two cats of a certain age? Will they go along or will there be constant stress for the cats?
We can do a lot of research on what other people have experienced in similar situations but nevertheless we will only know exactly by walking it. So, if it is really something we all want to give a try we will have to discuss the matter as a family and go through all the points to come to a self-honest decision that is based on what is best for all.
As part of the DIP course I will go through my personal points related to this matter and use self forgiveness to analyse and debunk the layers behind each of these points.
I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to fear any matter that potentially leads to unwanted and uncontrolled costs.
I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to consider expenses that are not initiated by basic needs or already established patterns as unwanted and as a threat to stability.
I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to swing between wanting to be able to say yes to any kind of expenses and holding tight to not spending an extra penny on anything more than absolutely necessary.
I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to fear uncontrolled expenses just because I label it as uncontrolled where I can take action to make sure there is no thing as uncontrolled expenses and enough buffer to handle unforeseen costs.
I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself to feel being a bad parent when I can not unconditionally approve the desire of my daughter just because it seems the best option to make her happy.
I forgive myself that I accept and allow myself the feeling that I need to make my daughter happy is more important than looking at the idea/proposal/wish in all its aspects and come to a joint decision we reached all together.