Just a regular Sunday morning in the winter months of Melbourne, when my husband pulls out his phone and snaps a picture of our children and Golden Retriever sitting together. Somehow this one picture took me back to the early days when I was just about to deliver my first baby, and advice started to pour in from friends and family about the dangers of having a pet alone with a baby.
Back in 2012 when my husband and I picked up our beloved pet ‘Codi’ we made a conscious decision as responsible pet owners that he would be treated as one of our own and we have definitely reaped the benefit for it. Without asking, I have received unsolicited advice such as the dog should be locked in the house once the baby comes or put outside. Gates should be installed within our home to keep him away from the baby. The fact is people speak out in fear and with good intentions to protect my child. However pet owners know their dog better than anyone. The vet told me, my dog would want to feel included in the upbringing of the children and want to feel a part of the family. If I changed my behavior towards him after the arrival of a child, jealousy is what becomes a problem with dogs. Every pet owner must understand the concept that our pets are family members too and we need to nurture and love them just as we do our children. It was with sadness that I would receive stories at the dog park, like pets became outside dogs when children were born or even given away. I do believe basic precautions are needed like not keeping the baby on the floor and leaving it with the dog and going to another room. The simple fact is dogs don’t understand their own strength. I have endless amounts of pictures with my dog and 2 babies growing up and what Codi gives my children is invaluable. They learn compassion and companionship together and just by being in my children’s life, Codi has enriched theirs. I feel grateful to God for blessing me with my 2 children, Erin and Elle and one special golden boy, Codi…
*The views expressed in this article are the individual views of the author.
A doting pet parent and diligent home-maker living in Melbourne. Elaine’s closest companion, Codi has been her support system in co parenting her own kids. She is an avid reader and has an interest in travel and writing.