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Why Dogs Are Good Preparation For Kids
So You're Thinking About Having A Baby
You and your significant other decide to get a dog together, and that's when you start to hear it.
They just got a puppy! They must be thinking about having kids!
I give it a year before she's pregnant!
That's just a precursor to kids!
Why do people make these correlations between having a dog and having a kid?
Well...because they're kind of true. Here's why having a dog...or especially a puppy...is a great preparation for having kids.
First of all with having a dog, you learn to hold your valued possessions with a looser grip. Dogs are meant to chew...its just part of their DNA. And if you don't give them something to chew, they will find something to chew. Your shoes. Your pillows. Your books. In our case our dog got a hold of our marriage certificate. It's now taped back together and hanging on our wall as a (now) funny reminder to not treasure your stuff too much.
Children are little destroyers as well. They will repaint your bedroom with a Sharpie. The DVD player will break because they wanted to see if pancakes would play. They will want to see if your grandmother's ruby ring tastes like strawberries.
If you can learn to hide what you really value well, and relinquish your grasp on earthly goods before you bring little ones into the world to destroy it, you're one step ahead.
Both babies and dogs can produce impressive amounts of bodily fluids.
And you get to clean it up.
I'm not just talking about the occasional piddle on the carpet, but the massive diarrhea blowout in the middle of the night or the gargantuan amounts of vomiting not on the tile but 6 inches away on your white carpet. Over time you become desensitized to the gross factor of it all.
If you have potty trained a puppy you're really one step ahead of the game because you'll have cleaned up way more accidents. By the time you get to changing a diaper it will seem easy because at least the mess is elevated and you don't have to be on your hands and knees mopping it up!
When it was just you and your partner you just had to clean up after each other. You could yell at each other to please please please put their underwear in the hamper and they might actually listen.
Once you get a dog, however, your nice clean area is subject to bones, a Kong, shredded stuffed animals and large amounts of dog hair. Why it is that my dog likes to pull out the jagged bone to the middle of the floor for me to step on when I get out of bed in the morning is beyond me.
And I put a new vacuum bag in the vacuum two weeks ago and its nearly full...of dog hair. We have about 300 sq ft of carpet. This doesn't include near-nightly sweeping the hardwood floors.
With kids you get a similar, but expanded, situation. Toys spread out everywhere even right after cleanup time. They tried to open a bag of cheerios without you and the result was 5,000 cheerios spread out on your floor (this is where a dog can actually help!). As soon as something is clean, you turn around and its dirty again. You just have to learn to accept things will not be perfect all of the time...and its easier to start yourself on smaller messes with a dog.
Now this might not apply to all dogs, but it certainly applies to all kids.
My dog, for instance, is overly-attached. He was a stray and since we adopted him he's been devoutly loyal to us and usually not more than 3 or 4 feet away from me while I'm in the house.
This morning was a Saturday and I was looking forward to sleeping in. Much earlier than I planned on getting up, though, my dog decided he couldn't stand me sleeping any longer. He got on the bed and lay, quite literally, nose to nose with me. I kept my eyes shut, trying to ignore him and hoping he would go back to sleep. Then he put a paw on my head. He's 90 lbs so I wasn't too happy with a baseball-sized scratchy foot on my cheek. I pushed it off and kept my eyes closed. Then I feel something wet on my mouth--where he licked me with that nasty tongue. Ignoring him was obviously not working.
A similar thing will happen when your kids are big enough to get out of bed and come wake you up.
Mommy? Mommy? Are you 'wake Mommy? I'm hungry Mommy! Mommy? Mommy!
And no amount of ignoring will make them go away and give you that last half an hour of sleep you desperately need.
Think you can escape to the bathroom? Think again.
If I don't let him in with me, my dog lays at the door and sniffs loudly for me under the crack. He used to whine, but thankfully he's gotten past that.
Your toddler will act similarly if you close the door on them as well. Little fingers will appear under the cracks and then a little mouth will be squashed into the place asking "Mommy what are you doing?" If you take long enough and have the creative type of child, you'll soon get notes and pictures slid under the bathroom door for your reading pleasure.
If I've made having either a dog or kids sound terrible then I apologize. Both are well worth all the work, all the mess, and all the lost sleep because the last thing is that both a dog and a kid will take hold of is your heart. And that's not a bad thing for you to share.
If you're a cat person, though, then kids are going to be one heck of a shock.