If you're thinking about adding a furry friend to your family—or your child is begging for one—you may end up having déja vu.
Leo the Dog
Credit: Courtesy of Diane Debrovner

Countless kids ask for a puppy for Christmas. Appropriately enough, my daughters got one for Thanksgiving. They'd been begging for a long time, but my husband had said no, no, no. We live in New York City, where having a dog means walking him at night before bed and in the rain and snow. Somehow, when I went away for 24 hours with my college girlfriends, my 10-year-old got her dad to change his mind. As he explains it: "It was like that scene when the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day."

Now we're all in love with Leo, our 12-week-old Havanese. Since we've been sleep training and potty training him at the same time, I've been thinking a lot about what babies and puppies have in common:

  1. They cry in the middle of the night.
  2. They poop more than you think they will.
  3. They put everything in their mouth.
  4. You show their latest picture on your phone to everyone.
  5. You know how much they weigh.
  6. Suddenly, people want to come over to visit.
  7. You think they're the cutest.
  8. You can't believe how many shots they need.
  9. Adults speak to them in baby talk.
  10. It takes two to give them a bath.

In case you're on the fence, here are five reasons why pets are great for kids.

Diane Debrovner is the deputy editor of Parents and the mother of two girls. Follow her on Twitter: @ddebrovner.