Man's best friend might not always be best for the children
Denise Begley lives with her three boys, Josh, Luke and Oliver in Rathfarnham, Dublin, along with the latest addition to their family: Marley, a golden retriever.
Denise bought Marley in April this year for Luke's confirmation.
"Marley was promised to him for over a year as we had to have his previous pet rehomed and he would badger us to get a new dog."
She certainly didn't consider getting Marley as a Christmas present. "There is so much going on at Christmas, and kids are easily distracted with other gifts."
"I think it's best to plan for another time of the year when the new pet gets 100% attention."
Denise has seen both the good and bad side of a family dog. A few years ago they had a cocker spaniel called Oscar, even though they were warned that cocker spaniels weren't always the best dogs for kids.
"We did all our research and we were very careful, however, we still opted for a cocker spaniel and loved him to bits.
"It was only a few months in that the dog would snap at the kids and then one day it happened ... the dreaded bite ... he bit one of the children."
Oscar was re-housed on a family farm and his new owners have not had any problems since.
"He just wasn't suited to our domestic situation."
However, Denise decided that she didn't want her boys growing up without a dog, and after some more research, eventually got Marley.
"Marley has the perfect nature for the family, the kids are just nuts about him and know how to treat him."