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My husband and I hadn’t been married a year when he started talking about kids. As in, having them. A confirmed non-breeder at the time, I was totally freaked out by these discussions. I mean, were we ready? Would we be good parents? Could we handle the stress, the sleep deprivation, the financial burden, the smell and mess of a small creature's bodily waste in our house?
Unable to answer these questions with any degree of confidence, we did what many a newlywed couple has done before: We got a puppy. We worked diligently to potty-and-crate train our new "baby," and taught him to sit and speak and come on command. By his first birthday, we agreed that he was officially the best dog on the planet and therefore we clearly were cut from the finest parenting cloth imaginable and should go ahead and get busy making people. (It turns out that people-babies are slightly tougher to raise than doggie-babies, but that's a discussion for another day.)
After reading a report in People announcing that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have adopted a royal pup, I'm thinking they, too, subscribe to the baby test-driving theory. Of course, they probably won’t sleep on the floor next to the puppy’s crate like my husband and I did when he whimpers at night -- my guess is the Palace employs Imperial Puppy Butlers or some such -- and I can’t imagine Kate or Wils cleaning up too many piddle puddles with their own noble paws. But still, they’re getting a chance to try on their impending mummy and daddy roles for size, and possibly even keeping the press off the baby-scent for a few months five minutes. (Doubt it.)