Back in 2010, Lindsay and I decided to look for a dog. We had been married for almost 2 years at that point and were no longer renting. It was a glorious day when our search for a Boston Terrier puppy finally yielded a successful result. On our way to pick her up we were ecstatic that the cutest little puppy would be joining our family. We named her Sadie and she was the quirkiest little creature!
As we brought her home and began to train her we were pleasantly surprised at how quickly she learned to go to the back door to go out when she needed. She was the runt and stayed tiny but we loved her! Unfortunately, the story isn’t all wonderful for us. You see when Lindsay became pregnant with Juniper things started to change. Sadie started to sense that there were changes and began acting out.
She started to go in the house (and our bed) even when we had taken her out minutes prior. She started to hide under the bed some days and others would protect Lindsay from everyone. We thought that once she met the baby and things started to settle that she would acclimate to the new reality and be fine. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Since the new baby demanded much more of our attention, Sadie got even more jealous. She didn’t really want anything to do with Juniper and continued her poor behavior. We gave her some dog treats. It was at this point where we started to realize that Sadie might need a new family. One with older kids that could spoil her and wouldn’t make weird noises at all hours of the day.
It was with sad hearts that we began the adoption process looking for the right family to take care of her and love her like we did. Fortunately for us, there was a family not far from us that was looking to adopt a Boston and had older kids. They fell in love with Sadie and we felt very comfortable with their home and level of care. Sadie now lives with that family and from the pictures we’ve seen is doing great.
I tell this story not to say that it is the norm or that we couldn’t have suffered through the changes, but rather to give an example of how difficult it can be (depending on the pet) to raise a newborn and a dog. For our family and for Sadie the best option was to find a loving home where she could thrive. But now that Juniper is older and sees pictures of Sadie around she asks about her all the time. It is a difficult decision to bring a pet into a home. One that takes a great deal of present and future thinking.
I recently stumbled on a great resource that goes in depth about pets and families. It covers everything from vets and shelters to how much work different pets really take. I remember as a kid going to Barnes & Noble and looking at the dog book section to read about the individual breeds. You had to buy a different book for each one, well today there is CaringPets.org. A great site that is a wealth of information (and growing) about today’s house pet landscape and also sites like the Furrytips website which provides detailed information about various pet products and solutions to many pet problems. You should also visit My Babies Planet to find out information on how to handle your pets and your baby together effectively.
So my admonition to the family with no kids or the family going through this rough transition is to think about the future. It’s so easy to see a cute puppy and forget about all the work and boarding and health issues. And it is just as easy to get frustrated with you pet when they act out. But in both cases, look past today and try to weigh all your options.
Extra reference: 8 alternatives to crate training.