Yesterday I discussed the first three of Six Reasons Every Newlywed Couple Should Get a Dog.  Here are the final three.

4) You get a “test-run” on important decisions you’ll have to make for your children.
As a parent, you have to make tons of decisions about how you’re going to raise your children – diet and health, rules and discipline, education, social life, etc.  We had several of those same discussions for raising Winston.  Is he going to eat food from the Pet Pantry or something else?  What is he allowed to do in the house?  Will we train him Cesar’s Way? What other dogs do we want him spending time with (since dogs learn most quickly from other dogs)?  It’s nice to be able to have those discussions when the stakes are relatively low.

5) It gives you a warm up on your unselfishness, patience, and self-control.
I’ve had friends tell me how selfish they learned they were when they first became parents.  It happens the same way with a dog.  What’s best for the dog might not be what I want right now.  What’s most kind and helpful for my spouse (me taking care of the dog) might not be at the top of my to-do list.  Furthermore, training and discipline (read: house-breaking) tests your patience and self-control like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

Winston at 8 weeks old

6) It enhances your life.
This is a relatively intangible benefit and a bit hard to describe, but I feel like I’m more emotionally prepared for a baby from having a dog.     Of course, my love for a future son or daughter will be indescribably more significant than that for Winston.  But I feel like my heart has grown a bit since getting him – he has effectively pre-heated the cold, dark corners of my cynical heart.  It’s nice that neither Nancy nor I are “alone” when we’re alone at home.  And like any challenge, facing this challenge together has grown us closer and enhanced our marriage.

So go on and get a puppy – but talk to your spouse first.  Our vote is for a Great Dane!

Question:  What other life benefits have you experienced from having a dog or a pet?  Beyond that, why shouldn’t newlyweds get a pet?