Dogs and kids?

posted August 14th, 2013 by
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I recently stumbled upon an article headlined “The One Thing No One Tells You Before You Have Kids: Don’t get a dog.” Since I am expecting my second child any day and share my home with 6 furry children, I clicked on the title intrigued and already a little put off.

And then I read this:

“It’s not that I don’t love my dog. It’s just that I don’t love my dog. And I am not alone. A very nonscientific survey of almost everyone I know who had a dog and then had kids now wishes they had never got the dog. This is a near universal truth, even for parents with just one child, though I have more.”

I cannot disagree more. And my very nonscientific survey of almost everyone I know who has pets and kids also disagrees.

The writer of the article sounds like someone who was unprepared for the realities of pet ownership and parenthood. Neither are easy and both are very messy and chaotic.

And it’s always been my understanding that love can only grow, as was the case when my husband and I welcomed home our baby (human) girl two years ago.

There was so much more love in our home it almost burst. The love of parents for their daughter and her love for us, the love (and protectiveness) our animals clearly felt for her and her love and delight in them.

As she gets older, that love and bond they have gets stronger. And seeing how my animals love her makes me love them even more! See? Our house is going to explode from all the love when the second one arrives!

Our pets not only have a third person paying attention to them, playing with them, and most importantly sneaking them food under the table, but they go on on just as many family outings as they ever have. Maybe even more.

It’s been a fun summer of camping, parks and the drive-in. I’ve found that most places that it is acceptable to bring a kid, you can also bring dogs. Not that I’m comparing the two or anything…

And I certainly can’t imagine depriving my child of all of the unique learning experiences that come with pets. They were some of her first friends and continue to be her best buddies.

She loves to let the boys out of their crates first thing in the morning and pour food in their dog bowls.

She puts the cat food bowls on the floor and calls all four cats to come eat by name.

And she has learned that she can tell our dogs to sit before giving them a treat.

I think all of that is pretty impressive for a not quite two-year-old.

And I truly believe that her love of the animals in our home has sparked a love and curiosity of all types of animals. She has picked up and kissed a few large bugs in our backyard that I won’t even touch.

Having kids and pets is a juggling act. I’m not perfect at it. I get frustrated with all of the ‘children’ in my home at some time or another. But stop loving them? Never!

-Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

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