How do you NOT get a dog when you get a letter like this from your daughter?This one really did tug at my heart-strings. Yes, Elle, I agree we do need a dog. I’m just not sure when we need that dog. Dave was convinced we’d never have one. But I think this pushed him pretty well too…

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  1. we just got the same type of letter, read at our family meeting by my 7th grader daughter asking for a cell phone. amazing argument, carefully and politely presented, with really good points.
    um, NO.
    but I'll keep the letter forever and read it back to her one day and laugh?

  2. Well as the owner of three dogs, one of them an adorable (although very smart and very naughty) tan and white beagle mutt, I have to say that I agree- you need a dog.
    Dogs rule 🙂

  3. I'm sold. Her letter was well-organized, used good vocabulary and was persuasive! Of course I'm talking from a house with a cat, a rabbit and 8 fish; there *will* be no dog in the future. Or you could try what a friend did: she let each of her kids name and care for a houseplant.

  4. Wow, someone has been learning about adjectives and persuasive writing. Give this girl an A+!

    But seriously, we listened to our children plead for a dog for YEARS before we got ours. We are not impulse shoppers, so we spent lots of time researching before we acquired a dog of our own. (Living next door to two beagles was enough to convince us that we did NOT want a beagle.) Before we got our dog, I had to come to grips with the fact that he would be primarily mine, since I'm the one who is home all day. We've had him six months now, and I can't imagine life without him! He is the best dog for our family–the children are still enamored and eager to care for him, and he's proven to be a loyal member of the family.

    HOWEVER, I've invested a lot of time and money via obedience training, working with him at home, teaching the children how to work with him, and giving him plenty of exercise. So it isn't as if we just got lucky and found a good dog. We take him everywhere with us that we can–which is no small feat. We even structured this year's vacation around bringing the dog along, so that we can keep reinforcing good habits.

    If you aren't ready for that kind of commitment, try a parakeet. Sorry for the novel….I've gone from novice dog owner to passionate dog supporter. Who knew?

  5. WOW!!! She's GOOD! She really put a lot of thought into it! "Darling beagle" cracked me up!! And LOVE the bit about your muscles "not that they aren't strong…"!! TOO Much!!! 🙂
    I agree with the others – very well written!! I think she's gonna wear you guys down!!! Good luck!! 🙂

  6. I wrote the same sort of letter when I was in 7th grade. And then another letter when my mom tried to give our dog away when she ate her day-planner four months letter.

    I keep having dreams of finding you a perfect dog and then shipping it down to you.
    But PLEASE don't get a beagle. I love beagles and they are darling when they are puppies… but I REALLY don't see a beagle as the dog for your family or hard wood floors or backyard. 🙂

    Loved the video of Grace doing the chicken dance. We all got a good laugh.

  7. Speaking as a long time dog owner, kids can learn so much from the experience. We are now on our 2nd family dog. We loved and raised and buried our first family dog. Lots of real life lessons came from it. My girls still will say remember when Cody did… and its been 4years now. I absolutely agree that you have to research what type of dog will work for your family. Our first dog was a dalmatian, we loved him sooo much but a lot of work, very hyper. Our dog now is a black pug, so low key(little to no barking) and does not need a lot of exercise and very loving and cuddly! So, good luck, my vote is yes!(not that I have a vote, ha ha!)

  8. Wow, I think you're done for. That's an excellent letter.

    I only have 3 kids- but 2 dogs, a fish, and 4 chickens. I think animals are an wonderful way to teach responsibility, compassion, and love. But maybe I'm just a sucker.

  9. I'm one of your lurkers who never comments. We have a dog and love him dearly, work and all. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but with 3 kids, one potty trained, the pound puppy worked out nicely. He's not always as cute as a puppy but he has never had an accident in the house and he is calm, but young enough to play and go for run. Best wishes with whatever you decide.

  10. You don't know me but I found your blog because I LOVE your book "A Mother's Book of Secrets." It made a huge impact on my life as a first time mom. I would love to go to your family's "Mother's Retreat" someday. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your teachings, family, and photography!!

    Anyways, I think you should get a Wiener dog. They are so great with kids!

    Katie 🙂

  11. That girls got game, no doubt about it and it was a well written letter to be sure.
    Third grade is on a roll. My letter was for Jack to get Rhino from Build-A-Bear. It's like an epidemic.
    Oddly enough, I'm caving in about the dog issue after 10 years of the "mournful, NO!"

  12. Hi Shawni- This is Karen from a few houses away. First of all, your little Elle is a great writer. I can tell she was taught using the 4 square writing method which when I taught 6th grade I loved!!! She wrote that persuasive letter perfectly. Secondly, do you hear the annoying barking from down the street. Yes, that's our beagle! So tell Elle, she can come get her beagle fix at my house anytime and bring Claire along to get her Yorkie fix! And if you and Dave need a running partner to keep your muscles big, our beagle is always available for rent!!! 🙂

  13. Oh my goodness, how adorable is that? As a dog owner myself I think ONE dog is perfect for any family, especially one with children. I love my little pomeranian and she really does brighten my day… They are super hard when they are puppies and they're crying all night and "messing" in the house, but after they are trained, they are so worth it!! 🙂

  14. How sweet… How can you resist that? We have the same thing going on at our house. I haven't broken down yet and gotten a dog after our beagle died a couple of years ago. May I offer one piece of advice to you? If you are concerned about the amount of time and hassle a dog would require then a beagle would not be a good choice. Beagles are so adorable! And they are lovable but they are naughty and no matter how much training they get, they want to run and sniff and eat out of the trash and wander and it causes so much stress. But we did love him…he was a sweet soul…it was a love/hate relationship for me the mom. Some dogs just require less watching…than a beagle. I truly felt like I had two extra kids when we had our little doggy Snickers the beagle. Good Luck in your decision. I love your blog! Thanks so much!

  15. I am never ever ever going to let my kids read this post. They don't need ideas!

    That is an utterly irresistible letter–good luck finding a good dog, because I don't think there's a chance that you're escaping motherhood dog-free now!

  16. Jump it and DO IT!! I've got 3 dogs and they are such a huge part of our family. In my lifetime, I've had 6 dogs before I even got married. I am a true believer that dogs are sent from heaven. They are sweet, sweet things.

    However – I can tell you that there is some training in the beginning….just like bringing home a baby.

    Good luck whatever you decide!

  17. I don't even know your family…found your blog randomly and enjoy reading about your beautiful family…however, after that letter I'd buy that darling girl a dog myself!

  18. Wow! This girl has some amazing writing skills. I don't think I ever used the word "Gleeful" until I was an adult, and even then it's not a word I commonly think to use. Just the writing itself would do me in to get a dog. I say GO FOR IT!

  19. I'm so against having a dog and so is my husband, but umm…

    Seriously, you cannot resist that!! She is an amazing girl that needs a dog! 😀

    ps- my two year old is obsessed with all pets and I can see a similar letter being sent my way in 8 years or so…

  20. I'm one of your 'blog lurkers…'

    My son begged and begged for a puppy…after he literally researched different breeds of dogs for 3 years, I gave in! Kaiju,('monster' in Japanese), a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, joined our family. He has become 'one of the family' and I can't imagine life without him!

    House training a puppy was NOT that hard for us. I took a little bell and hung it by the door. Every time we would take him outside to do his 'business,' we would ring the bell. He caught on quickly and would then ring the bell when he needed to go out. I'm happy to say we had only 2 'accidents' in the house!

    I say just 'go for it!!' Good luck!!

  21. What a great writer you have! I grew up always having a dog or two around, and loved every minute of it. Being the kid who said i'd help with all that… I didn't. ha I did feed them once I was a teenager, I finally came around and kept my promise.
    Beagles are cute and I love them, but they love to bark!

  22. from experience…well mannered mello beagles are not the norm. Our first beagle was amazing and mello and easy to train. The two after that were typical hyper hard to train beagles. When we lost our fantastic beagle, Abby, in October, we vowed no more beagles because we'd never get another one like her (we'd already tried). We've moved on to the English bulldog and she has been a GREAT family pet. She's great with the kids…however they aren't very good runners! 😉

  23. Beagles HOWL!!!! Id look at another breed, FEMALE and one that does NOT shed. I have had dogs all of my life and these tips will save you some grief!

    Sweet letter. She did forget to mention all of the poop that she will have to clean up.

    Good luck!

  24. That is the cutest and most convincing letter I think i've ever read 🙂 and now I think I need to race out and get my family an adorable marvelous beagle because I am convinced it will make everyone so happy! loved the lines about Lucy… will you resist….good luck 🙂

  25. I am a huge dog lover and say go for it! That being said, over the last couple of years I've had a CRAZY time with dogs! Coincidentally, I just posted about it here.
    It's insane, I know. We did finally get it right with Misty, though. (Our Alaskan Klee Kai) She's precious, and very easy, although I will also say that, after all of the dogs that have come and gone, I will only ever get Yorkies again after Misty is gone. Lots of reasons, but I CAN say that with certainty. (I'd be more than happy to explain my reasons if you're interested.) I can't imagine living without a dog around the house, though. The first year or so is a bit of work, but once the puppy settles into "not a puppy", it's really very easy to own a dog. I've also always had a doggy door, which makes it even easier! That I would highly recommend, as well as a crate! A crate will save your sanity. The only other thing is just really research before you buy. Those regrets can be a killer!
    Good luck!

  26. This is adorable!

    I do have one piece of advice. If you get a puppy, get ready for a lot of work (if you want him or her to be a good dog!). We got a Labrador pup a year before having kids and it was one of the best things we ever did. He is such a marvelous dog and the kids just adore him. I know I am biased, but everyone who meets him also tells me that he is so well behaved. We really put in the hours with training. Puppy classes, socialization, crate training, true discipline. Having a puppy is like having a newborn (of a different species, because it's nothing like you've ever done before).

    Anyway, if you get a dog that is already well behaved (probably difficult to find), it'll be a smoother transition than a puppy. 🙂


  27. Great letter. But.. some ways to respond.

    I'm sure her dad would love her to go running with him so he's not lonely. And the dog would be lonely when you are on vacation. You travel a lot. And she can have as many dogs as she wants when she moves into her own house.

  28. OK – seriously – no one was more anti-dog than me. Let me say 14 years later, you will NEVER regret getting a dog. Really, they are such a great addition to the family and the house is just not the same w/o a dog. I know, we lost our 14 yr old dachshund 3 mos ago. And, a wieiner dog is the way to go! Short-haired – as adorable as the long-haired are, they do shed too much.

  29. Shawnie…think of Lucy's rosie red cheeks! She will LOVE the dog! The best part having a dog (in our house) is that I do not have to wipe up stuff spilled on the floor anymore! The very good doggie will clean that stuff right up! They are REALLY a time saving device… (Have Ellie add that to her next letter!)

    I have to admit that Carly spilled her cereal on the floor a few days ago, I took her to be bathed and when I returned I actually did wonder why the dogs had not cleaned up the mess…(They were outside…or would have!)

  30. Just a fellow blog stalker….I love your blog. I was your daughter growing up. My mom never gave in though. So, soon after our first son we got a dog…and though my husband has threatened a few times to send him to the pound, we have had him for almost 11 years. Can't imagine our family without him. I would say, in that hot AZ weather, you would probably want a dog you can bring inside…so personally I wouldn't want a short haired dog that you have to vacuem up little hairs 24/7-that is just me, I don't like dog hair around the house. My friend has a beagle that is darling, but not so great in the shedding and barking dept. Ours is a wheaton terrior mix-doesn't shed or bark much and we love it!

  31. Wow…that is just the cutest thing ever! You better get that beagle after that!!! I am anti-dog, but that letter even got to me! What a beautiful little writer! And I have to thank you. Sunday afternoon I sat down with 4 of my kids and wrote letters on their fingers of all their talents. They were mesmerized and even though the pen faded they still remember each talent and have already asked me to do it again. Thank your for your ideas and example!

  32. If you do decide to cave, DON'T get a beagle, unless you want a dog that howls, barks a lot and isn't a consistant kid friendly dog. Do some research first.

  33. My daughter gave us the same type of plea – we relented and are on the search for the perfect dog that will suit our family and not break our bank! 🙂

    Have you ever thought of getting a dog that in the future could be used to help Lucy if she should ever go blind? I pray that will never happen but it's just a thought.

    I can't wait to see the outcome! 🙂

  34. Wow… Elle is her mothers, daughter! She sounds just like you.
    I love what Piper has done for our kids…. but, do it when your ready to make the commitment and make the dog apart of your family! It's the only way it will be successful. If Scott and I can do it…. anyone can do it!

  35. I had beagles growing up!
    they are awesome dogs!
    but they do shed and they have a loud bark! I would suggest a cockapoo! they dont' shed and they are sooooooooooo perfect for a familiy pet! I have one and he is the CUTEST thing EVER! I said we would never have a dog, then in 2007 my husband was burned very severely and we thought he was not going to make it that first night, but he ended up being fine, thanks to a great hosptial and we realized life is too short, 2 months later we had our dog and he is the light of my life! what a sweet letter! tara

  36. Can I ship a precious brown and white beagle from Tennessee?!? (haha) We gave in to this same request two years ago and have endured the cute but trying puppy phase and am hoping he is getting into the calm phase (?) Good luck! I will agree with them… a brown and white beagle is precious! Ironically our name if we would have gotten a girl was LUCY!!!

  37. Shawni, I would like to suggest that you consider a poodle, or poodle mix. These dogs will not shed very much in your beautiful home, and they are great for allergy sufferers. My daughter and I have a slight allergy to dogs, but our poodle mix doesn't bother us at all. Even the feel of their hair is somewhat different. Every kid needs a dog. They are like a child – they require some work, but they're worth it!!! Best Wishes!

  38. Great letter (and very cute handwriting)! My sister is an avid dog-lover and volunteers at a local shelter. She walks and occasionally fosters dogs. I'm not sure if you're looking for a temporary pet, but fostering a pup is often a great "trial run" before completely committing to an animal. It's also helpful for the shelter. Just a thought. 🙂

  39. Definitely think you should get a dog. They make life more happy. They make you appreciate God's creations, and they help you (or your kids) develop a sense of compassion. They are not without a lot of work, time, and money.
    We have a yorkie poodle – the best dog ever. She doesn't shed, doesn't bark, is very sweet with our three little ones, and is just a sweetheart of a dog.
    Outside or inside dog? (I'm all for smaller, cuddly, lovable inside dogs that don't shed)
    p.s. I never had a dog growing up. My parents said NO to eight children. Can you imagine what kind of pressure they fought? They never caved in. Now that I have my family with three little ones, I am so thankful that my kids have a dog to love. I did not feel my life was missing anything, but I am so so so glad that my kids get to experience life with a dog.

  40. we are a big dog-loving family (3 currently but on four acres) and my hubby is a veterinarian. beagles are hounds, and driven by their noses. they are adorable, but house training will be a challenge. they love to bark and dig.
    we love our little king charles cavalier spaniel. he is adorable and while he has required more training then our other dogs (golden retrievers) he has been a great family dog.
    as a side note, we also have a son with a disability. when he was going through chemotherapy treatments for leukemia for 3 plus years our dog could get him to do things we could not do. dogs can be very therapeutic and calming to children. may be of benefit to lucy in that way.
    one last thought might be talking to the local guide dogs for the blind. sometimes they have puppies go through puppy training that just don't make the mark. they can be wonderful dogs, and the house training will already be done.

  41. I know you've got a gazillion comments already, but I have to say 2 things–

    1. Your daughter expresses herself exceptionally well. WOW!

    2. Having recently become first-time dog owners ourselves, I'll say that while dogs are cute and lovable, they certainly are more work than we ever realized.

  42. We have a Beagle and LOVE her!! She was our first baby and is now almost 10 years old. Mocha is fantastic with our 2 little boys. Full of energy and loves to be loved! Just don't leave people food anywhere in her reach. We have her go outside while we eat–or we wouldn't get any!
    Love your blog—found you via Sarah!

  43. This is hilarious. I remember writing letters just like this to my parents begging for a dog. At 30, I'm still dog-obsessed – and I've STILL never had a doggie of my own! One day, one day. Anyway, that said, my letters were never as well written as this! So sweet.

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