Convincing husband for smaller dog to help with depression?

Dec 17, 2017 11:58 am

I so want to have a pet. I am not a cat person but a small to medium-sized dog would be nice. However, my husband wants a Lab and won't even consider looking at a smaller one. I keep trying to explain that this pet would help me with my depression that I have experienced since the emergency surgeries that I had this last summer. I had a sweet dog for 18 and a half years. He passed away a few years back and I miss him. How can I explain to my husband that a big dog would be too much for me? He just refuses to entertain anything other than a Lab. I would be happy with a shelter pet. Any help would be appreciated.

Dec 17, 2017 9:02 pm

Dogs are wonderful, but I agree with your way of thinking. Dogs like to jump up on us, and it could be difficult if she/he lands right on your stoma. A smaller dog couldn't reach the stoma from a standing position. You would just have to train them to be careful with you while you're sitting.

Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate

Why Join MeetAnOstoMate?

First off, this is a pretty cool site with 35,000 members who truly understand you.

It's not all about ostomy. We talk about everything.

Many come here for advice or to give advice, others have found good friends, and some have even found love. Most importantly, people here are honest and genuinely care.

🛑 Privacy is very important - we have many features that are only visible to members, ensuring a safe and secure environment for you to share and connect.

Create an account and you will be amazed by the warmth of this community.

Dec 18, 2017 6:50 am

An interesting topic!

Small dogs come with their own problems, especially if they become 'lap-dogs'. Labs are easy to train and are much more likely to stay on the floor and accept affection by way of stroking. I have known quite a few men who refused to have a smaller dog but once it was there, in the flesh, they warmed to it just like they would to a larger one. It's a really complicated business when it comes to people-pet relationships! I always advise people to look into the personality of the proposed pet so that there can be a reasonable match.

Best wishes


Dec 18, 2017 3:34 pm

I had a yellow lab, adopted as an adult dog. She never jumped and was as sweet as pie. I didn't need a leash, she stayed next to me when walking. And some labs are on the smaller side too, though my Carmen was not....75 pounds. Lol. Keep looking, you'll find just the right dog, that you both will love. Good luck.

Dec 18, 2017 3:46 pm

Hello and good day.

Well, I can give you a good answer to your problem. I got the Good Uncle reward. My nephew started college a couple of months ago, and his dog became my dog. Archer is a Laberdane.

Since he is a Lab, he has very good manners. He loves to go for walks, he sheds, goes for rides in the truck, loves to play in the snow, and lays beside me. He doesn't have the jumping problem that bad owners teach their dogs. If it's a puppy, I feed him twice a day. The food is not that expensive either since I get it at Costco for 25 bucks a bag, and it lasts the month. He gets 2 cups in the morning and 2 at night. I had to find him the low-calorie dog food because he is an older dog. He weighs about 130 lbs since I didn't want the big land mines he leaves behind. I can go every 5 to 8 hours for his walks, depending on if he got into my cat food (bad dog). Then, if you own a small dog, I had a Pomeranian. They love to be up in your lap or next to you all the time, but potty time was more often since they are so small. Don't get a Weiner dog. I had one, and they are a group animal and need to have them in pairs. I don't like that breed. She never got housebroken. She loved to crap in front of my fridge. Good morning to you if you were still sleepwalking. I have had a Shih Tzu, a very good dog also, but another lap dog and loved to go for rides. Another low-maintenance dog. They just love their humans a lot. They also have good manners and are easy to care for. My aunt owns a Yorkie, another good small dog. The dog became my uncle's dog, even though he wanted a big dog. He ended up with a Yorkie that goes everywhere with him. He did get his big dog also, but the Yorkie is his favorite dog. They are due to have puppies soon. He is hoping for another female puppy so in case anything happens to the first one, he has a backup plan.

So, the bottom line of all the animals I have owned is that cats are easier to care for and you can go anywhere without problems. I have 3 of them. Now I have Archer, and he requires way more work than just putting him outside. Walks, he goes everywhere I go, just like having a kid. I try to leave him with someone for a couple of hours (my mom), and he whines because I am gone. So, most of the time, he is with me all the time, no matter where I go. He is in the truck all day with me. So, make sure you really check into the breed of dog you are asking for.

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Dec 18, 2017 6:30 pm

Thank you all for the great input. I will consider all of your comments!

Dec 18, 2017 7:40 pm

A Lab is a high-energy dog. My younger daughter had one. It would damage the blinds on the windows when she left. I found it a new home. I could not live with it at my house. My older daughter has a yellow lab. It is kept in a pin outside. That dog kills chickens and ducks and has been a handful for them over the years. That is why it is an outside dog.

I have cats and have to make sure they do not jump on my stomach. They have been learning to go around to under my chin to sit on or by me. I am surprised how fast they learn. At 6 and 11 years old, you have to protect your stomach. A big dog will jump up and it is too fast to protect your ostomy.

Best wishes.

Dec 18, 2017 10:58 pm

I'm a guy, and would rather have a smallish dog. We have had dogs of all sizes and have a Shih Tzu right now. Even a small dog might jump up on you, so I probably wouldn't base the decision on that. A smaller dog is easier to take care of, and importantly, unless you have a huge house takes up less space. You need to research breeds though. Even a small dog could be high maintenance. You need to have an honest discussion with your husband. Who will be taking care of the dog the most? Taking it to the vet? Spend the most time with it? If the answer is "you", my advice is to make it clear to your husband the dog will be essentially yours and you should choose the breed. If everything is equal, maybe compromise on something smaller than a Lab but bigger than a lap dog.

Edit: Maybe a Lab mixed with a smaller breed like a Labradoodle?

Dec 19, 2017 2:11 am

I have to agree with your husband. There is no better pet/breed than a lab. Although a lab is not a small dog, this breed is extremely smart, easily trained, loyal, well-behaved, easy to care for, and fun. Because of their many attributes, many labs are trained to be wonderful guide dogs to serve persons who are blind or disabled. Get a lab!! You won't ever regret such a choice/decision.

Dec 19, 2017 2:19 am

Labs are awesome! They have the best disposition and are so loving. If you adopt one that has already passed the puppy stage, you will avoid the chewing and jumping up, I would think. Rescues are the best. Maybe a lab mix.. Small dogs are way more demanding and high maintenance! I have had both and loved them all. Small ones are easier to bathe but much more finicky. Short-haired dogs are easier to groom. How about fostering a couple of dogs to see how they fit? Just some thoughts. All the best in your choice. Maybe just let your heart choose when you visit a rescue. Rescued dogs are the best!!

Dec 19, 2017 7:51 am

You raise some interesting points. It is your life and if a dog would make you happy and comfortable, then do what you want. The husband sounds like a laugh a minute, a real bundle of joy. If I had a partner like that, I would welcome one and say goodbye to the other!

Dec 19, 2017 11:00 am

There are breeds of Labradors that are smaller, my brother wants a short-legged Labrador, they are much smaller than the standard breed. Personally, I have a Golden Retriever and as a companion and friend, he is fantastic. I am at home all day, so no issues with him being bored. We walk every morning for around three miles, which takes an hour or so. He sheds hair like mad, but we don't mind. We feed him once each day with high protein, low carb food. He isn't fat at all. He is very loving and attentive. He saved me last Easter when I got my punctured bowel while out walking him. He even has his own Facebook page, Benson Walsh. I have never shared my life with a small breed dog, and it needs to be remembered that that's what it is - sharing your life for the next 10-15 years. Benson makes sure that I get out and walk. He was also pivotal in my recovery. My first mile walk was ten days after emergency surgery to remove my appendix and eight inches of colon, according to my diary. Even I find that hard to believe. Motion is lotion, according to the physio in the hospital. You need to think long and hard about what you both want, and I'm sure you will come to an agreement.

Newbie Dana
Dec 19, 2017 4:16 pm

There must be some reason why your husband only wants a lab. Maybe because he had a lab when he was a child, and has such fond memories he'd like to recreate that feeling. You should probably talk to him and find out why he insists on a lab.

Second, you said you only lost your former dog a few years ago, so your husband probably was living with both you and the former dog for part of the time you had him. What breed was that one? Did your husband get along with him? Were there problems between the two? That may be the root of his insistence on a lab.

Third, who took care of the dog before? Who will be taking care of the dog now? If you have always been the caregiver, and expect to be the caregiver again, and it will mainly be interacting with you, your wishes should have more weight than if he would be the caregiver. Again, a frank and open discussion of why you want the dog, why you want a small dog, and that you would be caring for him needs to take place.

Lastly, why not a compromise - two dogs! As long as your husband understands that if he insists on a lab, he can have a lab as long as he cares for the lab. Then you can also have whatever kind of (small) dog you want, to fulfill YOUR needs, and everyone will be happy. Just make sure your husband gets a lab that either doesn't jump, or he trains it not to jump, because there is a health hazard from a jumpy large dog and a person with a stoma.

Jan 09, 2018 4:29 pm

Hello, I have not been on this site in ages but when I saw your post I knew I needed and wanted to reach out to you. I have desperately wanted to get a small dog since my surgery almost 4 years ago. But I have been afraid. But with my doctor's encouragement, I have just recently really started to look. We always had dogs the whole time I was married. But, I am scared of the "what ifs?". What if I get sick? I have had a few emergencies, one that resulted in emergency surgery. What if it happens again? I have no family close by, so who would take care of the dog? Would my ex allow my kids to care for it at his house? I have been thinking of getting a small shelter dog only because I feel it would be easier for me to handle. That being said, I would occasionally care for my kids' golden retriever that they had at my ex's house. Now, he was not a small dog at all. He was about 125 lbs and extremely high energy. I never once had a problem with him. I was able to teach him quickly to not pull me when out walking and to not jump up on me. I would love to hear what you decide. A dog would certainly help with my depression.

Jan 10, 2018 3:36 am

Thank you everyone for the great input!!

Jan 10, 2018 10:02 pm

I have cats and a 145-pound Labradane mix. He goes everywhere I go, so I'm worried about who would care for the animal if I get sick. Would I ask my kids' friend or anyone I know? Now, cats are easier to care for and require less work than a dog.

The only problem I have is that once in a great while, she will put a small hole in my bag by walking on me. It doesn't happen a lot, so sometimes I find a weird leak. So, I cuss at the cat and change it. No biggie. Now, the dog has made bigger messes than the cat. A couple of times, he got into my trash and pulled out a surprise package, stinking up the house because he decided that he wanted the smelly treat. Luckily for me, he didn't roll around in it.

Jan 11, 2018 11:40 am

Portuguese Water Dog is just a bit smaller than a Lab. Girls are normally smaller than boys. Super dog, like having a member of a family in the house.

Login to see image
This is Teddy. He is now 4 years old, 2 in the picture. We breed them in the UK and had a litter of 13 last year and another planned for this year. We show and work the dogs as well. They like a 1-hour walk a day and want to be with you but not in your face. We have 5, yes 5! We show the dogs and will be at Crufts with 4 that have qualified. Teddy is neutered so can't be shown in the UK. But he is worked and swims in the Portuguese Water Dog trials in Portugal along with one of our others. The good news is they don't shed and the coat is wool, but they do need a haircut every 8 to 12 weeks. :)

Jan 12, 2018 6:28 am

Hello Digby.

My friend has a portugese water dog who is getting on a bit now. My wife does the trimming so we get to know him quite well. LOvely dog!

Best wishes for Crufts


Jan 26, 2018 2:06 am


I have a 6lb Yorkie...she's six years old and I must say she is my companion and company. Aside from having a colostomy bag, I also have osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia very bad. And when I have bad days, which is quite often, she will just curl up very close to me. She is wonderful therapy for me and on the days I hurt sooo bad and cry, she will come sit next to me and take her little paw and place it on my thigh and gives me this look of "it will be ok mom". Sometimes she will use two looks for about 2 minutes then curl up against me. She is very careful and calm. So I understand about a small dog. I purposely got her because I can't do the things I used to do, so she is wonderful company.

Feb 01, 2018 9:07 pm

Never thought I would be a small dog guy but ended up for a number of years with three small shelter rescues...all 11-13 pounds. Good kids, and full of love. Nothing against labs, but I agree with you.

Mar 11, 2019 5:19 pm

Shelter dogs are the best ever! Do not shop, adopt! You may want to go to your local shelter or rescue and foster a dog of your choice. You can use it as your trial period and give the dog a break from the chaotic shelter of never-ending barking!

I volunteered for many years at a pet rescue and fostered many animals. It helps to know what you like and do not like in a breed! There are always exceptions! I have a Rott/Cocker mix that has the biggest heart of any dog I have ever had! She loves everyone and is extremely smart! She was trained in the prison system in Ohio. The dog lives with inmates, preparing them for adoption. She is the best-trained dog I have ever had. She is only 54 pounds so still fits on the bed with us! Lol. Small pups are more lapdogs but either big or small, they are loving! Good luck in your choice, but it may need to reflect the time and energy you have to devote to the dog. Big dogs need more exercise and more room to play outside. Labs especially, unless you adopt a senior. (Always a thought) That is all I adopt now! They are discarded so easily because of their age or maybe their owner passes away! I just want them to live out their life in luxury and not a pen or backyard!


Jul 29, 2021 4:06 pm

Greetings, I have to agree with your husband on this one. A Lab is without a doubt an excellent choice. Many smaller dogs tend to be yappy, spoiled, and disagreeable.

With minimum training, Labs are generally well-behaved and lovable. Because of their many attributes, Labs often serve as guide dogs for the visually impaired and blind.

Get a Lab already. You won't be disappointed.

Newbie Dana
Jul 29, 2021 6:19 pm

It has been about 3-1/2 years since the original post. Freedancer, can you enlighten us as to what ultimately was decided and how it's working out? Inquiring minds want to know! (Snicker, snicker)

Jul 30, 2021 4:56 am

I have been divorced for three years and do not have a dog. However, I recently purchased my own home and am thinking of getting two hives of bees!!

Newbie Dana
Jul 30, 2021 7:27 pm

Oh, terrific about the bees! We used to have hives in Louisiana when we lived there, but here in Kentucky we're a bit more urban and don't have a place for a hive that wouldn't disturb the neighbors. If you've never worked with bees before, I can make a few suggestions.

1) Point the opening of the hive away from any neighbors. Locate a bird bath nearby so they have a ready source of water during the summer, and keep the water refreshed every week.

2) Don't raise guinea fowl - they are smart birds with a liking for bees, and will position themselves by the hive opening and nip them out of the air as they enter or leave the hive!

3) Find a local beekeeping group and attend meetings and sign up for their newsletter. It's amazing how much stuff you don't know that you don't know until you read about it!

Of course, if you already know about beekeeping from the past, forget I said anything!

Good luck. And if you still decide to get a dog, they usually have no problem with the bees and vice versa. The only time one of our dogs got stung, it was a wild carpenter bee, not one of our gentler honeybees. (Just HAD to stick her nose into the clump of honeysuckle on the fence!)

Jul 30, 2021 8:45 pm

Thank you for the awesome suggestions!! I will be joining a club here in Billings or nearby. I am going to take a class and I checked with the neighbors to make sure they aren't allergic.   So far so good!  

Past Member
May 19, 2022 7:22 am

I think you should get a pet. A good reason to have a pet is to feel loved and satisfied. Having a pet is a great joy, as it keeps you company and protects you as well. To visit this page,