If you’ve ever had a dog in your life, you know they can be like your other child. They’ve taught us love, they’ve taught us responsibility, they’ve taught us that we may never need to sweep up around the dining table again. (Ha.)
Clearly having a special dog in the house brings a special kind of love to so many families, and we asked some of our own writers and editors to share their own stories about the impact our four-legged friends have had on our families’ lives.
(Some of them…sniff. Wow.)
From cute pugs to English bulldogs, and lots of sweet mutts, we hope you enjoy meeting the cool dogs of Cool Mom Picks.
We only recently welcomed Audrey the Pug into our lives. She’s my fiancé’s dog, and at almost 14-years-old, she can’t do very much in terms of seeing or hearing or even really moving.
What she has done, is bring our newly blended family together.
Audrey still needs snuggles and warm laps, and now she has so many more available to her than when she lived alone with my fiancé. And she still needs caretaking, which has given my kids (especially my youngest) some much-needed responsibility.
Even though we can’t play fetch or take her for walks, I love how Audrey has helped us all connect in a such an unexpected and welcome way. -Kristen
We found Daisy about 5 years ago – or rather, Daisy found us.
I took my two younger kids to the local shelter with the hope of finding a companion for our bereaved Goldendoodle. As we walked up and down the rows, this little black mess of a dog went nuts every time my son walked by her.
He asked if he could play with her and that was pretty much it. Two hours and lots of adoption paperwork later, she was ours.
As the staff came out one by one to hug her goodbye, we learned that she had actually just been transferred from a high-kill shelter and had quickly become a favorite among everyone at the shelter.
As we were walking out the door that day, Daisy pulled away and ran to a woman standing at the counter. The woman bent down and Daisy jumped up and down, licking her. Turns out that this was the woman who had rescued her from the high-kill shelter and brought her out to our local one.
I have never seen a dog express gratitude like that.
Daisy is a truly an awkward, scrappy, wonderful dog who is more full of life and love and appreciation for us than any animal or human I know. What a beautiful daily reminder of how lucky we are all to be rescued by someone who loves us. – Lisa
I never thought I’d be a mother. I actually never thought I’d want to be a mother. After watching hundreds of yelling, crying, exhausted families survive an Orlando theme park in August, I collapsed sobbing on a bench, telling my then-boyfriend that I could never have children.
Then came Emily. A baby English Bulldog.
She taught me patience I never knew I had, as we trained her on the frigid streets of the West Village, taking shifts begging her to pee for hours at a time. She taught me that I could care for another being without killing it, as I had with so many single-lady houseplants over the years. She taught me that I could love someone despite farts that smelled like karmic punishment for any bad thing I had ever done in my life. She taught me that cleaning up another being’s excrement was not in fact the worst thing in the entire world.
She taught me that yes, I could be a mom.
I don’t have Emily anymore. But I do have the photos. And the memories. And two kids I love more than anything in the world. One of them even remembers her too, just a little bit. – Liz
Since the aquarium of fish didn’t go over well as pets for our kids, we decided to take in a sweet rescue dog from a neighbor who couldn’t keep her. We named her Martha after the alphabet-soup eating dog on PBS.
Admittedly I had sworn I wouldn’t have another dog — oof, the cleanup, the vet visits, the shedding! But once Martha was in our lives I started noticing that it’s those little moments that make dogs such a big deal.
From the tail-wagging greeting at the door every single time we come in, to the fact that she eats all the scraps and I don’t have to sweep up after dinner anymore, to the heart-melting moments when I catch my kids snuggling with her.
What a great reminder that having someone who’s excited to be around you at all times is more fun and a lot cheaper than therapy. (And yes, we still do have most of the fish too.) – Kate
When my son was 5, I wanted a reason to get the family out and walking. And okay, I was sick of cleaning up kitchen spills.
We drove to the local animal shelter, and I went up to one of the volunteers, pointed at my 5-year-old, and asked, “which dog can happily survive this kid?”
He introduced us to a 3 year old brown and white mutt, and each day since, Merle has lived up to every hope we’ve ever had for a dog. (Even beyond the spill-slurping and exercise.)
Merle is polite, loving, smart, funny, friendly, tidy, easy-going. He stays off the furniture, and will put up with anything from my kids. Anything. When they’re sick, he huddles close, as you can see in the photo above with my daughter. And when I’m sick, he does the same. He’s truly the perfect companion.
Bonus: He came housetrained and able to sleep in! Yay for awesome rescue dogs. – Delilah
I had never been a dog owner, until we brought Stu home in 2002. She was our first baby and has been with us through three moves and three kids. Through it all, she has been our fiercest protector and most genuine greeter. She has also served as a “patient” at the kids’ DIY vet clinic in their rooms; as an extra willing participant for dress-up time; as a pillow during TV time, and, very helpfully, as a living vacuum for any and all snacktime crumbs.
She’s 14 years young and our sweet Stu still greets us at the door every time we come home, even if it does take her a little longer to get there.
If that’s not loyalty, I don’t know what is. – Jeana
When my dad was a kid, he adopted a collie named Lassie who followed him everywhere he went. Sadly, Lassie was tragically killed by a car, but he had really meant a lot to my father. So it came as no surprise that decades later, when he had started his own family, Dad brought my sister to our local Humane Society so she could pick out her own dog.
Well, she kind of did.
Because when they went, Dad fell hopelessly and instantly in love with a neglected male collie and German shepherd mix named Laddie. (It’s okay, my sister liked him too.)
The first few months we called him “Vulcan Dog” because he seemed so frightened and confused by petting or any kind of human affection. But after a few years with my family, Laddie underwent a full love muffin conversion and now spends his days gently licking toes, cradling his chew toy (rather than chewing it), doing his best impersonation of a lap dog, and taking marathon naps.
Seeing as how much he meant to my family, now that I have my own baby boy arriving in just a couple of months, I can’t wait for him and Laddie to form their own special bond. – Caroline
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