Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And baby makes four...

Having a quick look at today's pet news, I found the following article: When new parents start hating their pets.

Frankly, I thought I had seen it all but this sentiment is new to me. Isn't "hate" a strong word for it? Certainly, that first few months with a new baby is quite the emotional roller coaster. Personally, I found it the most difficult three to four months of my life and can certainly understand how new parents would find it difficult, at best, to manage new baby and dog. I, personally, had lost my dog to cancer before the baby came and vowed that I would not adopt a new dog until baby was old enough to ask for one. But I doubted that I would end up "hating" my dog. The only thought I had was that, if he were still around, my dog would have been slightly emotionally neglected during those first few months.

It's interesting, though, that so many people think that having a dog is good practice for having a baby. I can't tell you how many times I have heard this and, since having a baby, have thought that it is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. The first point I want to make is that, no matter how much you spoil your dog by treating him like a person, it is not even close to the amount of work and responsibility that comes with a new baby. So you've successfully mastered taking care of Rover on a daily basis. You've trained him to sit, stay, maybe even fetch the newspaper. You walk him three times a day. You take him to the dog park for socialization. You put him in doggy daycare. You MUST be ready to take care of a baby -- think again. I'm not saying that taking care of a baby is an impossible task and I'm not saying that YOU are not ready, but please don't think that taking care of a dog is anything like taking care of a new baby!

But the real point I want to make here is that a dog is a dog! Yes, if you own a dog you must be a loving, responsible guardian. And yes, being a guardian requires certain responsiblities that will certainly change your life, but I do think it's true, many "responsible" pet owners do tend to, as the article states, "mollycoddle their dogs too much." And I do believe, that having a beloved companion and a new baby is a manageable situation as long as all parties understand what's to be expected.

So don't "hate" your dog just because you are overwhelmed. First of all, while those first few months seem like a lifetime, they will pass. And second, know that the family pooch is adjusting, too. He'll get the hang of it, just like you will!

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