Making it my business: puppies and babies!

Find out if you’re ready take the leap into pet-owner status and get ideas for where to take your little tyke without baby-hating punks shaking their fists at you.

Hey, you got some questions? Send ’em on over to Meanwhile, take a gander at what’s on other peoples’ minds lately…

Dear Valerie,

I want a dog in the worst way, but I can’t decide if now is the time to get one. You own some dogs. What do you think the pros and cons are and what you would recommend a prospective dog owner take into consideration before tying the knot. The leash knot.

Dubious Dog-lover

Here’s the thing, Double D (Ha! Hilarious!). If you get a dog, you’ll most likely love it an insane amount. So much to the point that the pros will outweigh the cons by like a million. But, for the sake of keeping you informed, I’ll lay it all out for you.

Pro: Puppies are so little and helpless!

Con: Puppies are so little and helpless!

Seriously, you need to be ready to invest some time in the beginning so they get used to their surroundings, get a routine established, and know their place in the household dynamic. But trust me, the time at beginning is well worth it and you will soon long for the days of a wee pup curled up on your chest and breathing puppy breath into your face.

Pro: You will be greeted enthusiastically time you come home. Or walk in the room. Or change positions on the couch.

Con: Being the center of a pup’s universe means just that: THEY LIVE FOR YOU.

If don’t love on dogs, they can act out in a variety of inconvenient ways, like chewing things (or THEMSELVES as one of ours did) or relieving themselves on the carpet even though they’re way beyond house training. This doesn’t mean you need to snuggle and baby-talk to them constantly, but they do deserve some consistent loving, particularly when they are little, so you can continue that trust relationship.

Pro: They LOVE to snuggle and play.

Con: You can no longer have anything “nice.”

If you like to snuggle with your dog on the couch or in bed, be prepared for the fact that eventually you will find a mysterious earth-colored (or, let’s face it, poop colored) footprint on your furniture. And while playing is awesome, your nice hardwood floors and carpets will bare the brunt of the abuse that is Dog Talons.

When it comes down to it, you just need to decide if you’re ready to be responsible for something that really is dependent on you. I’ve always felt that getting a dog requires more commitment than getting a cat (Don’t throw things at my head, cat-lovers!). Dogs need to be taken out, they thrive on your attention, and they require a bit more planning if you want to go out of town. But they are a heck of a lot happier to see you when you get home.

Dear Valerie,

Spring is coming. I am sure of it. I have a friend who has just moved to town and doesn’t get out much (she also has a sixth month old baby). Do you have any recommendations about where to send her in town for some good, baby-friendly, fair-weather activities?

Family Friendly Friend

Your friend is in luck, F^3. Personally, I think Richmond is a superbly kid-friendly city and there are tons of options.

Maymont is a great place to start. I nannied for a bajillion years for little ones younger, the same age, and older than your friend’s kid, and it seems to please all around. The petting zoo is always a big hit, as are the otters at the Nature Center. Best part? FREE.

Metro-Richmond Zoo is another option if we’re trying to keep the young one entertained. They’ve got a crazy variety of animals, including giraffes that you can FEED. The only downside is that adult admission is about $9. But, if your friend thinks she’ll go there a lot, she can get a year-long pass for $27 that will pay for itself in three visits.

Your friend can also pass a couple hours by taking a long stroll down Monument Avenue. This way she will get some fresh air and teach her kid about Ye Olde Southe.

Last but not least, is the old standby: Cary Town. It’s got wide sidewalks that are great for strollers, plenty of restaurants to pop in for a snack, and magical places like World of Mirth and Mongrel if you need to get out of the sun.

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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