Before We Had Kids We Had Pets…


Before we had kids, we had pets.

I did not grow up with pets. I had a few goldfish, but I consider them to be completely pointless. My apologies to any diehard goldfish lovers out there.

My husband had dogs growing up, and neither of us had the slightest desire to own a cat. (I am doing a great job at alienating all the goldfish and cat lovers out there, so hang in there my fellow dog lovers.) So, 3 months after we were married, Molly entered our lives. Shortly after that, we decided she needed a friend, and along came Iain.

Before We had Kids, we had pets- Molly and Iain, Scottish Terriers- Corpus Christi Moms Blog

For four glorious years our dogs were the center of our world. We woke up early on weekend to take them to the park for a walk. We played with them for at least thirty minutes a day. They went everywhere we went. We ate at restaurants specifically because we could take our dogs with us. They got cuddles every night and fell asleep on our laps while we sat on the sofa watching tv. They even went on every vacation with us.

For clarification this was almost 10 years ago. Now a spoiled dog would have a walker, weekly spa treatments, and its own private chef and nutritionists. {Yes that’s actually a job, how awesome would that be? I know y’all are googling it now to see if there is anyone here in Corpus Christi hiring for a dog chef. I know there are a few dog bakeries in town so…}

We have two Scottish Terriers. They are incredibly loyal, territorial and stubborn beings.  They have a tendency to bark at anything that moves whether it be human or animal, so my anxiety levels were high when I found out about our impeding arrival.

We spent time preparing them. I spent hours online combing through websites looking for information about the best ways to introduce your pets to your newborn.

My husband thought I was insane when I bought a baby doll that sounded like a baby. I sat for 10-15 minutes a few days a week with the doll on my lap, just to get the dogs used to me holding something and to get them used to the noises the doll made. I wrapped the doll in a blanket that I thought we might use for our son.

At first the dogs barked. They ran around the house trying to alarm me of the noise. They eventually worked it out and started sniffing my doll. I let them sniff it, holding the doll as if it were a newborn, not letting them get too close, but not shooing them away either.

After a week or so I started to leave the doll on the sofa and then the floor just to see what they did. They weren’t fussed by it. I would play noises of babies crying and see what they would do. They would go over and sniff the doll and then yip at me if the doll was making crying noises and I wasn’t in the room.

I know you are thinking, ‘who is this lady?’ and ‘is she insane?’ I like to think I am not insane, just a diligent pet owner.

Yes, I know people have kids around pets all the time and do not bat an eyelid, but sometimes things do not go according to plan. I did not want to leave it to chance. I had the opportunity to attempt to get my dogs acclimatized and I took it. Those of you who have pets know your dogs. You know how they react to strangers, what sets them off, and how they deal with changing circumstances. I know my dogs, and given their breed and their nature, I knew it was the best way to get my dogs acclimatized.

Then, one quiet September morning, we shook their little world. We introduced a 9lb 8oz redhead into the equation. All of a sudden there were gates everywhere. Our dogs no longer had free roam of the house. The laps they spent hours on were now home to a small foreign object.  Yes, when the baby was born I was still uber cautious.

It took a few months for me to feel comfortable with the baby on the floor near the dogs. My dogs are very sweet and protective, but they are dogs, and all dogs are unpredictable.  When my son was crawling the dogs would play chase with him, when he started walking they would bring him toys and balls.

imogen in pioneer 001

When my daughter was born,  they were more protective of her than my son. Iain would sleep under our daughter’s bassinet. Molly taught my son where the dog treats were and would sit and wait for him to open the door and feed her treats.

The dogs realized that the kids were here to stay and they acclimated.

My kids are 3 and 4 now. My dogs are 9. The kids and the dogs love each other. My daughter is especially sweet towards them. She gives kisses to Molly and pets her. Iain goes to bed with her and comes downstairs when she’s asleep. He is very much her protector. My son plays fetch with Molly.

The kids love the responsibility of walking the dogs, helping feed them and giving them treats. They have just been allowed to start holding their leads when we walk them, and honestly, it’s adorable. I want them to grow up loving and respecting animals, realizing that they should be loved and adored.

Please if you are pregnant and have a pet, please do not think you lack time for them, need to rehome them, or ought to surrender them. Talk to someone in the local rescue community.

If you have pets and are pregnant, or even if you already have little ones, these resources can help if you are apprehensive about introducing your furbaby to your newborn. There are also local trainers and organizations that may be able to help.

ASPCA: Dogs and Babies

Humane Society: Introducing Your Pet and New Baby

Parents: Preparing Your Dog for Baby

BarkPost: Why Every Baby Needs a Dog in their Life