Must Love Dogs?

By Feature Writer Rebecca Nelson Lubin
guest I have always loved being a Nanny…to human children. It’s their pets that I have a problem with. It may be my upbringing. We never had any pets, save for the goldfish that we were continually flushing down the toilet until we moved and my Mother insisted on giving the tank away, and I was left to lead an entirely pet free childhood. I have a theory that pets must be introduced into your life while you are still young and impressionable otherwise you lose your window to ever really enjoy having animals in your midst. Take me, for example, I can’t stand household pets. But I have to work with them, because it seems every family other than the one I grew up with insists on keeping a virtual zoo in their homes.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at



Marypoppin'pills said...

Great job, Rebecca!

Elle said...

Rebecca, I'm like you. We never had any pets growing up, except for goldfish, but almost every family I work with has pets. It does take me a little time when first meeting a family to get used to the pets, especially if it is free roaming, like a cat or dog, but as long as they are friendly, I can get comfortable around them. I will never love a pet as a family member like most of my care families do, but I can understand it.

Bostonnanny said...

I can't relate to this article, I was never allowed to have pets as a child and now I have a dog and 2 cats, plus we are looking to get another dog soon.

I love my animals and I think you just haven't had your own to love. It's different when they belong to someone else.

Texas Nanny said...

I love animals. I'm always confused when I interview with a new family and they say, "Oh, we have dogs. You're not afraid are you?"

My past nanny families have included a yellow lab and a pair of male boxers. My current family is considering adding a dog at some point, and I definitely encourage it. I have a dog myself and I foster cats for a local rescue.

But, just FYI, bunnies shed like crazy. And they will chew through cords if you don't watch them.

NoDogsAllowed said...

I worked for a family who had one cat. I don't love cats but they don't require any work from me, and he's not a bad little guy.

After 6 months when they mentioned they wanted a puppy, I asked who they were planning to have train the puppy since they both worked out of the home full-time. They kinda looked at me like, 'obviously you' and then said as much. I said sorry, I'm not a pet-sitter or a dog-sitter. If you already had a dog, I would not have taken the job. The seemed kind of offended, so I said if you double my weekly rate, I'll do it no problem. Otherwise, you'll need to find someone else. Guess who didn't get a puppy?

Maybe that comes across as rude. But I don't understand why people who have nannies think part of the job description is 'do everything and deal with anything thrown at you whether you agree with it or not'. Doesn't work that way, at least not for me.

Phoenix said...

i have pets and love them! I love kitties. I have so many of them. I would rather watch after animals. If I worked with children as a nanny and the family had animals. i would neglect the kids. LOL

Some people just don't like animals just as I don't like people most of the time. It is something that you have to live with. Do understand though that the pets are family. They are important to the kids which in turn will make them important to you.

NoDogsAllowed... you are a bitch. you basically told those people they couldn't have any more children. What the f#$% gives you the right to do that? I would have bought a puppy and made it pee in your purse. You are plain rude. if they would have had another baby you would have been fine with it.

I guess where I am coming from I don't see a differnce between an animal and a human. They are all the same. Animals to me are a little more fun to be around though.

bostonnanny said...

No dogs allowed I understand what you mean, I love my dog its my child she goes to daycare, has clothes, I make her healthy meal once in awhile but as a nanny my job is not to care for my employers animals. A puppy is like having a new infant, families need to compensate for the extra work or put the pup in daycare/training.

Phoenix she didn't tell the parents they can't get a dog, she should told them she wanted to be compensated for the added work. If they had another child they would give a raise, why not for the puppy(its like a baby).

the fact that the parents didn't get the dog shows that they would prob be lousy dog owners anyways.

Phoenix said...

Double the weekly rate? Parents don't double the weekly rate for a human. Why would they do it for some stuck up nanny who doesn't have any compassion towards a cute little animal. Do you not realize you can lock the puppy outside to go the bathroom. how hard do you think it is taking care of a dog? You take it for walks when you go outside with the kids. You are making it so the kids are missing out on a precious experience in their young lives. It teaches children responsibility. The parents were so happy that they were going to get the kids something to love and cherish and be apart of the family. But the bitch nanny didn't want it. I wouldn't be surprised if they were looking for a replacement. She basically told them you can't have a dog. Stupid and rude. i would have gotten one for spite and I would have made sure it was a great dane.

Phoenix said...

Then I would have named the dog Nanny :)

Phoenixisamoron said...

You are a moron. You really are. That's all.

ChiNanny said...

NoDogsAllowed, I would have said the same thing. I think my family is thinking about getting a puppy. I will not be taking care of a puppy, not in my job description and not what I signed up for. Puppies are a lot of work and can cause a lot of destruction if not trained properly. I take care of kids, not puppies.

Phoenix, you can't lock a puppy outside all day. It could be cold, raining, or too hot. They need to be worked with to learn to follow commands. Even outside they need to be watched so they don't eat anything they're not supposed to, dig holes and destroy the yard, or escape. She wasn't telling the parents they couldn't have a dog, just that they would have to find someone else to take care of it (or to increase her pay to go with the increased work). They had the choice to find a new nanny who would take care of a puppy.

Flipadelphia said...

Phoenix, just because you are a cat lady and love them, not everyone does.
I totally agree with Nodogsallowed. A puppy is way more work than a new baby and also an animal, not a human. I would have requested double salary as well.
I love animals and grew up on a farm. But thinking about getting a puppy and expecting the nanny to train it, is completely rude, especially since they didn't even try to talk to her about it. They don't seem like dog family, so I'm sure the poor puppy is better off somewhere else anyways.
I do take care of my boss' dogs, but would never take it out with the kids. Way to dangerous. What if something happens? And the poor dog would have to wait outside the playground while everyone runs around. And she did NOT tell them not to have a dog, just that she'd like to be paid for the extra work she'd have by not only watching it, but training it.
Seriously though, Phoenix, you sound like you have some issues and need help, so please get it.

TC said...

The family I work for has a dog and I HATE IT. The dog is a's not a little yappy puppy. When it poos in the house it's a lot and take a wild guess who ends up cleaning it up???? I get comments like "ohhh I'll clean it when I get home" And I look at the clock and realize that's still 5 hours away the house stinks so bad I'm gaggging...of course I have to clean it up

She's also a runner and the first 100 times I used to go chase her, on foot, in my car, with a kid strapped into a stroller and then the day came that I was taking care of the oldest and the newborn when he was 5 days old and I had opened the door to let the oldest get an ice cream from the ice cream truck and that damn dog ran off. I said screw it, it's not my dog, I've told them they need to train her and they won't take her so she's on her own. If she comes home ok, if she doesn't can go look for her when he comes home. About an hour later she was sitting on the front steps waiting to come in.

I've also apparently been designated the job of feeding and watering the dog and although I loathe it I do it because it's not fair to the dog to starve. I fill the bowl up anytime it needs it but especially on Friday's because it wont get filled again until I come in doesn't matter if the dog eats every bit of food and drinks every bit of water Friday night she won't get any more until I come in Monday morning.

The dog tears up all the toys in the house, and even shoes....before I had known she did that I had taken my flip flops off because they got soaked when we played in the sprinkler in the back yard, I brought them in and laid them on the rug by the door and the dog destroyed them. I had to go shoeless the rest of the day

I grew up around animals, my grandparents have always had dogs and I've had my cat now for 17 yrs but after my experience with THIS dog I can promise you I will never own a dog

bostonnanny said...

Phoenix seriously? Why couldn't the family pay an extra 100 a week to drop the dog off at doggie daycare? Because they thought the nanny would take full responsibility for their pet.
You can't just lock it up outside, you need to train it, give proper excise, put it on a bathroom and feeding schedule.

my dog poops then gets breakfast, her eye drops and meds when I leave and when I come home its the same routine reversed but do you know how long it took to house train her? 11 months of accidents and at that time someone was home all day. Not only that, larger breed dogs need 2-4 hours of long runs, not walks, runs to be fully excised. Not many people wiling to do that and if her family obviously didn't want to do any work or pay for it otherwise they would have brought the damn dog.

Phoenix said...

Yes I am serious. It is insulting to ask for double pay. Maybe like a hundred extra a week. But double is way ridiculous. i don't think the nanny should have any say in what goes on in their employers house. and for someone to gloat about being the reason someone couldn't bring home a new baby is totally stupid. Humans are really retarded creatures sometimes.

angry said...

A dog is not the same thing as a human baby, Phoenix. Stop equating animals with humans. I sure hope if you were in a burning building and had the choice between rescuing one of your family members and rescuing the family dog, you would rescue the human being. People who think that animals and people are the same just make no sense to me. I love animals and pets, don't get me wrong, but I don't love them more than or even on the same level as the other humans in my life. And I know this is getting off topic, but what drives me even more crazy is that so many people who get all up in arms about animal rights are the same people who wouldn't think twice about themselves or someone else aborting an unborn baby because they didn't feel like being pregnant. Phoenix, I recall you saying in a previous post that "abortion isn't a big deal.". Caring more about the rights of dogs than the rights of human children. How disturbing.

Phoenix said...

Yes. I do care more about animals. My animals ARE my children. Especially one of my cats that I had to bottle feed since he was 2 weeks old. I don't like it that people don't think animals are as important as humans. They are all souls. Or let me put it this way. I feel that if humans think they can abort the fetus' of animals other humans can abort their fetus'. The fact is that we force animals to do things. Humans have done the same and everyone gets all mad. Don't you think that an animal has the same emotion for their children as a human mother? Just because they don't speak our language you think they are lesser than you. You are no more important than any animal in my book. And to answer the question about the burning building. It would depend on one factor... who is closer.
Humans are animals. There is no difference at all. Well there is one difference. Animals don't judge, they don't hate, they are pure loyal creatures. Humans most of the time are not.

ChiNanny said...

"Don't you think that an animal has the same emotion for their children as a human mother? "

No, they don't. Animals regularly eat/kill their children when there isn't enough food or they are weak. Animals do not have the same emotions as people. You are anthropomorphizing them, however they are not human.

A nanny, just like any other employee, has every right to refuse or negotiate when a new duty is added. If I was a nurse and my employer came up to me and asked me to start scrubbing toilets, I have every right to say no or to negotiate whatever rate of pay I'd like for that new task. The employer can then choose to accept my offer, counter offer, or just not give me the new responsibility. No different with a nanny being asked to care for a dog.

Since pets and children are on equal ground for you, should we euthanize sick children and orphans? Should we get rid of daycare centers and just open kennels?

Phoenix said...

humans kill their babies! Try again.

Yes, sick people should be euthanized. I have a very spartan way of thinking about how humans should live.

Daycares are kind of like kennels already. We put children in cages don't we? Some people even have leashes for their kids.

Okaaaaay said...

Wow, can't combat crazy with reason.

Phoenix said...

No you can't so stop trying.

ChiNanny said...

The fact that you can't see the difference between a dog and a child, a daycare and a kennel, animals eating their young and an insane person killing her children is frightening.

I still hold by my statement that a nanny has every right to refuse additional duties or ask for whatever pay she feels appropriate. If the family wants their additional "baby" bad enough, they'd find themselves a new nanny.

Nervous Nanny said...

Phoenix, I agree with you on a lot of what you have said.
Pets are like family-they have their own personalities and they blend right in. The only reason I would say NoDogsAllowed's family shouldn't get a puppy is that they are clearly very busy at this point in their lives. They wouldn't have time to give it the affection and love that it needs (as well as discipline) in order to become a good dog. [Might I add, quite similar to human babies!]
I don't think the nanny has any say whatsoever though. An opinion, maybe, but I would never ask for more money.
I love animals, but I have had my share of annoying dogs when nannying, so I can relate to that, OP. The current dog is yappy and barks constantly, waking the kids from naps or startling them into crying. Drives me nuts, but I still take care of it.

now ya know said...

Chi Nanny,
You will be getting a puppy!
Before Dec. 15.

Barb said...

I agree with the nanny who expected double her salary! Puppies are more work than babies I think...its not fait to expect the nanny to housetrain the puppy, too. I love dogs...but my day is busy enough! She did not say they couldn't have children. The employer can take the dog with them, get a trainer, a dogwalker, or do doggie daycare.

Anonymous said...

Cats, yes. Dogs, no.

Teacher in a Combat Zone said...

Phoenix- Yes, a nanny shouldn't have a say in what an employer brings into their home, but in no way should she be expected to take care of it.

I, for one, HATE animals. I always have. I am simply uncomfortable around them. I also think that it can be dangerous to have animals (even "domesticated" ones) around babies/ children because, no matter what anyone says, animals are unpredictable. A child may pull the dog's tale 400 times and the dog might not care, but once they do it the 401st time, the dog bites them. It happens too often with animals who were always labeled "sweet" or "gentle" or "kind" or "docile." For example, our neighbors had a "really sweet" dog that, without provocation, attacked their six year old and the only reason he still has his left eye is because he was wearing a bicycle helmet.

So, don't go on and on about "it's only one sweet little puppy." Animals lovers will never see the point of view of non-animal lovers, just like I will never see the point of view of people who consider animals "their children." So, a nanny who is unwilling to take on the responsibility of an animal shouldn't be looked down upon or told she's a bitch. Animals (especially puppies) are a lot of work. It's not as simple as "locking them outside to go to the bathroom." They have to be trained to NOT pee in the house first. Maybe you love animals, but know, that the rest of the free world does not share your obsession.

Teacher in a Combat Zone said...

Sorry, and excellent post as usual Rebecca!

Rocket Scientist said...


sharon said...

that really upsets me about the mouse - that is pretty much torture of an animal. I know some people may say that is silly.

NoDogsAllowed said...

Siiiigh. Phoenix, I didn't actually expect them to double the salary, you fool. It was my way of letting them know there was no way I was training THEIR puppy without any benefit that was worthwhile to me. They made it pretty clear that they had no desire to actually deal with the training of the animal themselves, they just thought their boys would love to have one. If they're not willing, how dare they expect me to be?

Apparently, I was more worthwhile to them then this unwanted animal, because they apologized later for assuming it would be okay, and kept me on for 3 more years until they didn't need a nanny anymore. I still see them to this day...and guess what? They still don't have a dog. Surprise! They know if they had spited me and gotten one anyway, I would have left.

I have the right to choose who I woke for and under what circumstances. They have a choice, as well, and they made it. Luckily, they valued me and my opinion enough to keep me. If they didn't, well, I don't want to work for people like that anyway. It also helps that I speak up for myself. They knew I wouldn't just deal with whatever is thrown at me...including surprise Great Danes. What an idiotic thing to say, seriously.

I'm so glad you love animals. That's wonderful for you. But I don't. And if I don't want my own dog, I certainly don't want to care for someone else's at no extra benefit to me. Sorry that bothers you. To me, it's not any different than saying, "Oh from now on we also expect you to do heavy cleaning, toilets, windows, the works, and to paint the house and do our plumbing for free'. Sorry. No. Not my job.

I guess if standing up for myself in my chosen profession (one that is characteristically known to be taken advantage of) makes me a bitch, then I guess I am a bitch. Oh, well. At least I am happy and get what I want. You, on the other hand, are a loser. Admitting that you would neglect children for animals is sad. But I don't care about you, so I don't care about what you do. And you shouldn't care under what circumstances I choose to work.

Telling them I don't want to work with an added pet is not the same as saying I wouldn't work with additional children. But even if that were the case, if my limit is 2 children, and they are having another and expect me to stay without additional pay, then I have the right to choose not to work for them. How do you know I would have been fine with another child? Clearly, you are clueless and looking for an argument that you will never win. Do you work for PETA or something?

Since when did nannying become less 'work' and more 'doing huge unexpected favors'?

I'm sorry for obviously offending you, Phoenix. But I'm not sorry for anything else and won't apologize for making my own choices.

P.S. The only kind of animals I like are ones I can dip in sauce and consume to make my ass bigger. Yummy, yummy animals.

phoenixisamoron said...


You are an ignorant idiot. That word is oppressive and offensive. I am not surprised though that someone like yourself would use it.

InCharge said...

Just a few fine points cause I don't want to waste my time.

1. If Phoenix loves animals more than people, but thinks that taking care of an animal means locking it outside, then Phoenix has no business having animals nor does she know how to take care of them properly.

2. No one should do work they don't believe in.

3. If the nanny is the one expected to run the household, then she does have a say/opinion/hand in what is happening/brought into the house.

4.If the nanny and the parents cannot discuss issues and come to an agreement/compromise, the relationship will never work, and both parties are better off with someone else.

5. Some people don't like animals. Get over it.

6. Please don't feed the trolls. Just saying. There is no way Phoenix is not trying to incite discord on this site.

NoDogsAllowed said...

*Whoopsie. Woke=work. Even awesome, educated, confident, choosy, downright demanding bitches make mistakes--sorry. :)

Melanie said...

I only ever hire nannies who love animals. I think it's a sign that the're good people. :)

Hungrycollegestudent said...

NoDogsAllowed, I completely agree. I just adopted a puppy and between that and a baby, the puppy is more work. That being said, I would never keep her outside for hours on end and expect that particular method to work as "training" her. I'm glad you put your foot down, and I don't think that makes you a bitch at all!

RocketScientist (the real one :)), we've already argued with Phoenix about abortion and human rights, and I'm quite unsurprised about her particular stance on this issue. I'm going to let it go, because I'm pretty sure everyone else realizes how ridiculous she sounds.

I like animals a lot better than humans a great majority of the time, but I don't believe they should have "human rights."

MissMannah said...

I'll start off by saying I LOVE animals and don't mind taking care of them as part of my nanny duties. But yes, I do charge extra because it is a lot more work. I think NoDogsAllowed was entitled to refuse to take care of a dog. I'm sure she didn't tell her bosses off in a rude way and I'm sure she didn't literally ask for double her salary. (If she did want double, that's crazy. I'd say $100-200 extra a week.)

May I also point out that just because someone has an opposing view of something, it doesn't mean they are a troll or they are trying to cause fights. It simply means we're all human and we all have different minds. Thank god for that! I don't think Phoenix is a moron at all, she is just highly opinionated and I love her for it. I may totally disagree with her at times, but she defends her position and I can't help but respect that. I also can't help but remember her telling us about having miscarriages in the past, so I can totally see how she'd consider her pets as her children.

PS: I have 2 rats and they are my spoiled little babies. Rebecca, you don't know how to take care of rodents and obviously the family with Rocky the mouse didn't either. They need to be in a cage, not an aquarium. They also need proper bedding, not newspaper. That's why you thought the urine smell was so bad, the bedding absorbs it. Same for bunnies, don't just use newspaper for them either.

Jane Doe said...

I agree.

Aww Bunnies! said...

Rabbits can vary. Growing up, my sister had one that would just sit there all day. I don't know what it was. My brother and I on the other hand had a dwarf hotot. He was great. He would chase the dog (a Newfoundland!), but he was great with children. He never bit anyone, but he would steal a Hershey's kiss every now and then. Dwarf hotots live 5 to 7 years on average. This one lived 8.

A great rabbit.

Kendal said...

I never have a problem with people having differing opinions.

I have a problem with RUDE people.

And that nanny has every right to choose how much extra she wants to make it worth her while. Who is anyone to decide what makes something worth it for someone else? I wouldn't take on a dog for 100-200 a week either. Set your own prices for yourself. What other people ask for isn't anyone's business.

Carrie said...

So people who like and want to take care of children are "bad people" if they don't like animals? WTF. The two have nothing to do with each other, I don't get this logic at all. I couldn't care less if my gardener doesn't like children OR dogs. He's there to pull my weeds because I don't want to. Hello.


Melanie said...

Carrie- I don't automatically presume that people who don't like pets are bad people, but all else being equal, I much prefer the animal lover to the person who is ambivalent or dislikes them. I'm hiring someone whose personality and values will inevitably influence my children, so isn't it my right to hire someone according to whatever values I wish?

Carrie said...

Did I say it wasn't your right? No, I didn't.

NannyB said...

What is it with people saying things like you have no right to ask for this or demand that or refuse this. Everyone has a right to choose what they want for themselves. I don't get what it is with some of you people that you think i'ts okay to tell people they have no right to make their own decisions. Of course they do. We all do.

NannyB said...

My comment was about the animal thing between Pheonix and everyone else, not the Melanie/Carrie bit. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

:) Exactly, Hungrycollegestudent... I'm sitting this one out.

LovingNanny said...

With my family it is the opposite. I would love them to get a puppy and would gladly take care of it for no extra cost! I love dogs, but can't have one myself since I'm working all day and I don't have the time the dog deserves to have.
Unfortunately they don't want a dog :(.

cali mom said...

Big eye roll Phoenix.

Your statement that "nanny told thgem they couldn't get a dog" because they expected her to train it is like saying "nanny told these poor deprived people they weren't allowed to have childcare" because they thought they should only pay $1/hr for her services.

If they can't take proopwer care of a dog (that includes training it), they shopuldnt have one. Period.

Why should people be allowed to pop out babies with no thoughts of what's required to properly raise a child because they're just going to hire someone else to do it but they are poor deprived souls if their childcare provider is not willing to walk a puppy 4 times a day, scoop up the poop and spend 50 hours a week training it not to chew things to pieces for free?

If you can't take proper care of a baby (animal) yourself, don't get one.

cali mom said...

So Phoenix, I take it you're a vegan? Who never wears or uses any leather items? Or any cosmetic, toiletry or pharmaceutical items that have been tested on animals or use anything but plant-based elements?

cali mom said...

LOL, NoDogsAllowed! "There's a place for all God's creatures...right next to the potatoes and gravy".

I love pets, and am down to only one cat now, but one major (and I would have thought fairly ubvious difference???) between animals and humans is the fact that humans are capable of inventing a written language.

Just in case Phoenix was still scratching her head trying to figure out the difference?

cali mom said...

Oh, sorry for all my typos!

NoDogsAllowed said...

Lol, thanks, cali mom. :)

NoDogsAllowed said...

And don't think of them as typos, think of it as 'inventing your own written language'!!! LOL!

J said...

The families I've worked for have animals and I have helped in very limited ways. I DO NOT pick up freshly excreted poop and I do not walk dogs. I will, however feed them, let them outside in the (gated) yard, and pet them and talk to them periodically throughout the day. If they seem sick or act strangely I let the parents know.

My triplet family has two dogs and they would sometimes escape. I did not go looking for them and they would eventually come back. Can you imagine me roaming the neighborhood looking for the dogs with a set of triplets in tow? They have thrown up in the house and I have cleaned it up, but I draw the line with poop. And the parents had enough courtesy to understand whom I was there to care for.

I'm not a dog lover, nor am I a dog hater. I have my limits and that's it. The nanny is there to care for the CHILDREN. If someone agrees to take care of the pets, that's their choice, but it's also their choice not to.

Phoenix, it seems like you're in the wrong profession. There are plenty of jobs working with animals and you might want to consider one. And, I'm about fed up with the ever increasing attitude in our society that someone is a bitch if they don't agree with someone's elses opinion. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. How about agreeing to disagree? Jeez!

Bakon said...