The best decision we ever made was to bring pets into our family. We brought Georgia home from the shelter in 2006. She was a little hyper ball of energy. Right away she bonded with me and it was love.
When I found out I was pregnant, two years later, I was worried. Georgia was not used to children and she was not used to sharing my attention. I did not know how she would handle a new baby. Before Max was born, I started to prepare her for the new baby.
1. I opened up the baby’s toys and clothes. I let her smell them, but made sure she did not play with them. Everything was set up early so that Georgia would get used to the new house lay out.
2. My husband and I tried to train her. We were not as committed as we should have been, but you really should make sure your dog knows “Sit” and “Stay”. You do not want your dog jumping on the baby or jumping on your when you are holding the baby.
3. We tried to encourage Georgia to sleep in the baby’s room. I wanted the baby and her to have a bond.
4. My husband was adamant about not having the dog on the couch. We both made sure she stayed off the couch.
5. I did not hurt her but I made sure she could handle having her tail and ears pulled. Always watch your children while they are with a dog and discourage rough play like that, but understand that it might happen every once in awhile. I wanted to make sure Georgia would not become aggressive if she was pulled roughly.
Even with preparing, I was still nervous when I first introduced Georgia to Max. I thought she might think he was a chew toy. Luckily, she did not! She could sense how important he was. Whenever they were together I was tense. I could not help it. As a result, she stayed away from the baby for awhile. She was afraid of getting in trouble. That soon passed though (as my tension decreased) and they began to forge a friendship, which only grew as Max got older.
Now, I love watching them play together. My son loves playing hide and seek with her! He is in charge of feeding her, which makes him feel very important. He has also been wonderful with introducing Georgia to his baby brother. Because I am much less tense the second time around, Georgia has taken to the baby quickly. She sleeps in his room while he is napping and lays next to him while he plays on the floor. Lucas loves watching her.
I think everyone would agree that having a dog is hard work, but it has also been extremely rewarding and life changing. She has helped build Max’s self-confidence and love of animals. In many ways, it has matured him and made him aware of how to treat other living things.
Georgia is almost eight years old now! Time goes by so quickly. She is a little slower, but still full of energy. Her favorite thing to do is lay out on the grass, next to the baby’s stroller, watching Max play soccer. I cannot imagine our life without her!
- Fur Babies & Dust Bunnies (sauteecentral.com)
- Getting Your Pet Used to a New Baby (auroramayblog.wordpress.com)