Friday 7 July 2017

Pet dog and Kids

There are two things that I can't keep my hands off - dogs and babies! They are too adorable to not touch and love.

Before kids came into the picture, I bought a pup. It was always a top 'must have' list, once I have a place of my own. It wasn't too long after I got married that I got a pup. Even though it of much disagreement with the man, I went ahead to buy and rear one. I must say, it was the best decision ever. I had the best dog ever and it saw me through the addition of my kids!

Our Shetland Sheepdog at 3 months

Sadly, it passed on last week. It lost its battle against cancer, and left us after a good 9 years and 5 months. Fondly missed... 

Jare was really upset

Life with kids and a dog are some exciting and memorable moments...

Decision in owning a dog is always easier before babies come into the picture. Both time and commitment can be given easily. Do however think twice about getting a dog if you have very young toddlers in the family. 

Do you get an often question from your kids about buying a pet? Or more specifically, a pet dog. It is a decision not to be taken lightly.  

1. Timing.
Are you expecting or had a newborn recently? Or is it near the months of your child's big exam? It is definitely not a wise decision to get a pup at the same time you expect to receive your newborn or when your child is nearing a major exam. It can be really exciting and distracting to have a new live in pup.

A new pup requires much training in the initial months when brought, especially toilet training. It can also be extremely barkish and chewish. Like babies with sprouting teeth, they have the tendency to chew on toys and sometimes, furniture. It can be excessively annoying at times. 

Plan on when is a good time to get one. 

2. Age of your children
Older kids are more likely to be responsible in helping with the pet routine. Some days, I sent Jazz out to walk the dog within our neighbourhood. Okay, I watched her from a distance to witness her maturity.

Teach the kid to clean up after their dog's business. Younger kids are more likely to fit the 'play' department. Access the maturity and responsibility of your child. 

3. Breed of the dog
Studying the breed and character of each dog helps a great deal. Some breeds are extremely child friendly and mild nature. While some are just not as tolerant with strangers and kids. We owned a Shetland Sheepdog and I've to say, it was the most patient dog ever! It survived and stayed calm through every 'rough handling' of our children. When his tail and paws were accidentally stepped on, he would silently get up and walk off. Even dogs know the best way in dealing with conflicts! 

And of course, other considerations include your housing type. Some breeds may shed their fur excessively too. Do bear in mind that bigger dogs may pounce forcefully or exert much energy on younger kids.

Shetland Sheepdog

4. Extra cost
Food, vaccinations, license fees, toys, treats, grooming and boarding costs too, if travelling is in your schedule. It is not just about providing a shelter. In the final few days of our dog's life, medical bill was steep. And no, can't use CPF. Heh!

5. Time
The big indicator. It takes a few days of almost full time attention to integrate a pup to home. I remember I got our pup on Saturday morning, just so I can have weekend and the next few days of leaves to help it adjust. Life gets a little better after tiding through its toilet training and teething days. 

The daily commitment includes walking, feeding and basic healthcare. Brushing long fur dogs daily can help cope with shedding. Bathing may be done weekly.

6. Patience
Pups are extremely barkish and active. They may startle a sleeping baby or even become your daily alarm clock. I really have not much of a solution to 'silencing' dogs, but some dogs can be trained upon the command of  'Shut.' Well, not all. It's best to keep the dog as comfortable as it can be to avoid excessive barking. We are at our neighbour's mercy. So yes, patience in command training. 

Toilet training requires the bigger part of your patience. Dogs are territory markers, especially in a new environment. They mark by their pee, and most times they tend to go for corners. Hang in there and keep training!

7. Agreement
Rearing a pet requires a mega consent from all parties living in the same household. While it can bring much joy to your family, it can also cause much disputes if there's disagreement. I know, I insisted on one even though my man wasn't agreeable. I was somehow confident he will love it, and he did!

Have a deep thought and assessment to getting a pup.

We had a great and memorable time with our pet dog, Pillow. He was so fluffy and cuddly that the man named him that. He was everyone's best friend, especially Jazz. Jazz is an extreme pet lover and I've to say, Pillow inspired her greatly in wanting to be a Veterinarian. A costly education abroad, we know.

While there are these many considerations to having a pet dog, I've to say bringing a dog home was a decision I never regret. My kids love it, they grew up with it and they sleep and cuddle him like a Pillow. It lived up to its name. On days when Jazz was upset, she would 'confide' in Pillow and her mood got brightened up instantly. A true indication that, there is no better friend than a dog. 

A dog is a wonderful pet. Too wonderful to not be purchased on impulse or simply because the kids want it. A dog's life span can live up to 15 years, it is a long term consideration! It is not a pet to be  purchased with the intention of caging it up 24/7. It is not one bought for our helper to take care. It is our responsibility to see through the companionship we chose, and for that, it can be incredibly rewarding.

It's so easy to fall in love with a cute pup, but owning one is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Taking too, this opportunity to Thank the dedicated Vets at Companion Animal Surgery. In their day of a busy clinic, they gave us so much time and space to farewell Pillow before his time was up for Euthanasia. Dr. Eleanor was very assuring and comforting. It was a busy day for her, and putting a dog to sleep is probably her frequent task, but she made it all so assuring and accepting for us. Dedication is what I define her. 

"Thankful for the companionship of 9 years and 5 months, Pillow. You gave us so much joy!

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