My main goal isn’t to whine and complain but it’s hard being a pit bull mama. People who have never met my dog hate her simply because of her breed. It breaks my heart but I’m not here to get on my soapbox to preach about the breed misunderstandings and their admirable qualities….at least not today. There has been some bad pitty press in my hometown recently, which, of course, got my hackles up and has since been properly griped about on Facebook. Now that I’m calmer, though still miffed at the blatant sensationalism of the article, I thought that I would do a post on dog ownership as a mother.
I was asked if I was going to get rid of the dog when my daughter was born. My response was usually a polite “no” but there were times I thought my tongue was going to bleed from biting it. Spoiler alert, I’m not going to be getting rid of the dog or my daughter when my son is born. I was also told that my dog would become just a dog when I had kids. Welp, my daughter is going to be one here soon and I’m still waiting on that transformation. The conclusion I’ve come to is that there are animal people and there are not and the varying degrees of crazy just extend from there. To true animal lovers pets are family. This is obviously the category my husband and I fall into. That’s not to say that there aren’t exceptions and extenuating circumstances for some families but the way I see it is that my daughter was born with a furry sibling and her adoption was for life.
If you have a furry friend at home and you find out you’re expecting a little one (or two or three) definitely prep Fluffy and Fido before baby gets there. Baby gear is scary enough to new moms and dads, so it’s no surprise that our pets may eye it with some apprehension also. Brush up on obedience and create a safe space your pet can get a break from the new baby (yes they need one just as much as you will!!). When you come home with your new semi-permanent appendage, have your pet’s favorite person walk in first and say hi without the baby in tow so that if/when they get excited there is less chance of anyone getting inadvertently scratched or bumped.
At the end of the day common sense goes a long way. Don’t leave any baby alone with any dog, no matter how much you trust them. Babies are unpredictable and noisy and dogs can spook at new things. Over the past 11 months I have (carefully) learned that my dog has the patience of a saint. When my daughter was little, and not mobile, if I had to use the bathroom I would just take the dog with me and we’d have bonding time because if I knew where one of them was all was well and they weren’t bothering each other. Not quite sure how I’m going to handle it with a dog, a toddler and a newborn but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Regardless of how you feel about dogs, I am personally begging you to please please please teach your children basic dog manners. I have been pulling, tugging and generally messing with my dog since we brought her home since we always knew that kids were in our future. When my husband and I were first married and lived in a less than desirable part of town we dealt with unsupervised children daily who would run up to our dog and grab faces and ears and get nose to nose with her. This happened on every walk despite my warnings that, while ok with my dog because she is trained and in my control, not every dog is as tolerant.
At the end of the day my biggest piece of advice with dogs and babies is to not force the relationship. We just got lucky and my dog loves her baby. Here’s hoping she takes our son under her fuzzy wing (er paw?) as well.