Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Decreasing challenges with a head on approach....dogs and babies

Meet our boy Windsor, A year ago I was contacted by an animal control officer about this neglected dog. Our family had planned to "take a break" from fostering until my daughter caught a glimpse of these photos and said...."Mommy, we need to help him." Anyway, the images did not leave my mind either and so I contacted rescue and we went to assess this boy. We quickly learned that Windsor was a cuddle bug and only desperate for love. He was apprehensive of new people but that was expected as he had been on a chain for 3 years on a VERY busy road. Anyway, Windsor came into our lives Feb 19,08.
We all quickly fell in love with this boy and made the choice to adopt him into our family. Our family has fostered over 70 dogs and we have only made one other exception and that is our sibe Bailey. Windsor truly had shown us he was ready and interested in being a family dog and although he had a lot of learning to do, he would be worth it. I felt confident at the time that with my experience as a certified dog behavior consultant and my kids being 12, 11 & 7, that a dog with behavioral challenges was a good fit for me at this time. I looked forward to his energy level and his recovery.
So, here I am a year later and expecting a baby in July. This was not what I expected but it is where we are. Our home is home to 10 animals. 4 dogs and 6 cats. They are family members and although they will provide us with some extra challenges, we must factor them into our planning and make sure everyone is safe and comfortable. This is a time for me to review and reflect all of my Dogs & Storks material. What an amazing opportunity! Our dogs have their quirks as most dog professionals have "challenging or interesting" dogs of their own.

All of our dogs are rescue and all have their "special needs." These are our 4 dogs. Duke the shepherd is still a foster dog and has many anxiety related issues. Bailey is a sensitive sibe and has his own odd quirks, Carin (the mal/sheph mix) can be a resource guarder and at 11 is a grumpy girl at times. So, we have a houseful of unique individuals.
I recently read an article about people hating their pets once a baby arrives. It disturbed me but also is so common. Many families become overwhelmed with the new angle life takes once a baby arrives. It is an adjustment emotionally, mentally and physically. There are times you are absolutely on overload and just not able to cope. I remember those feelings well and know that we have our work cut out for us by planning and preparing as much ahead of time for our new arrival in July. Will it be easy? NO! can be smoother then if we did not prepare and begin exercises from the 1st trimester on. I realize this post is rambling a bit....sorry but I wanted to share that I am well aware of the challenges families face as they try to shift into the parenting role. I believe whole heartedly that our dogs, cats and other companions can share in this time in our lives IF we provide them with structure guidance, supervision and mangament. All of this MUST be implemented prior to the baby coming home. As a Mom, I understand fear, concern and feeling overwhelmed. I also know first hand the joy our companions bring into the lives of our children. It is with all of this in mind that in 2002 we created Dogs & help provide positive, practical and affordable solutions for all families. If you are feeling overwhelmed then let us help ease your transition. There are resources and with some effort and understanding you and your companions can welcome the new arrival with confidence and less stress!

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