I just finished reading Marley & Me by John Grogan. It was such a wonderful tribute to a dog that I couldn't help but remember while reading it all the crazy antics of my family's dogs throughout my childhood.
I can't imagine dealing with the responsibility of owning a dog right now on top of the three kids and a baby on the way, but in other ways I'm impossibly sad about my kids not having those types of memories that only a dog owner can have. If things go as they are, they won't know the joy of a crisp autumn walk with a panting, excited dog by their side. They won't realize the satisfaction of training a dog and seeing the fruits of those labors. Somehow, the idea of curling up on a sofa with a dog at your feet and a good book in your hands seems like something few should miss.
Of course, of course, my kids are showered with good memories and I suspect looking back as adults they won't feel they've lacked much and, if they do, perhaps they can get their own dog someday. But after reading such a touching tribute to a badly behaved Labrador Retriever, it's hard not to think that a beloved family pet is worth the sacrifices it requires.