What’s Harder? The Dog or the Baby?
Several weeks ago, I read a pretty raw piece by a mom of three young children who focused all of her angst on how the dog was just another brick on the load. You know…for doing things like just standing there or maybe shedding.
Her message: If you are going to have children, don’t have a dog.
But, here’s the thing — she really loved that dog. Both she and her husband doted on the dog and enjoyed their pre-babies time together and the dog didn’t seem to have any challenging behavior issues. So, what happened?
Is it really the dog that’s the problem here?
I think that article could just as easily have been titled, “I Was Happier When the Dog Was My Baby.” It’s the chaos of babies/toddlers and no one seemingly helping that can make the dog into the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
What to Expect When You Are Expecting Blog!
I recently wrote a guest blog for the What to Expect When You Are Expecting website to posit that annoyance at the dog’s behavior can sometimes serve as a blessing in disguise. Check it out here, especially if you want to see more of that kind of info available for expectant parents.
Be Part of the Solution
If you have a friend struggling to manage dog and small children, give some reassurance that things can get better. It won’t be like this forever.
See what you can do to help:
- Walk the dog once a week
- Come over on Friday nights and stuff Kongs for the freezer
- Play with the kids for an hour so mom and dog can enjoy a peaceful walk together
- Take the dog to class so mom only has to maintain the behaviors
- Bring food over — everything is better with food
- Fill a cute jar with already-cut-up dog treats and share how to do Kathy Sdao’s SMARTx50
- Turn her on to the support through Family Paws Parent Education for some practical and compassionate guidance
I will be forever grateful to a friend who came every day for two weeks and walked both my dogs, whether I thought I needed it or not. There were days I would have kissed her, except that she probably wouldn’t have come back.
A friend without kids even offered, “If you show me some stuff I can do with your kids, then you can call me on short notice and I will help you.” Another childless friend brought me a new dog book so I’d still feel up-to-date with my dog trainer friends. Friends with kids usually brought food.
What else? If you are a mom or dad that worked through this stuff, what helped you? What do you think new parents should know to make things more manageable so they don’t make that permanent decision about their best friend during a transitory time of their life?
What if it IS the Dog That’s the Problem?
I’ll give that discussion its own post. Stay tuned!