Not long ago I wrote a blog for my friends at Heartland Doulas titled Five Things I Know About Introducing Your New Baby to Your Pets.
I wanted to expand a little on number 1 (It was your pet’s home first) and 5 (hire a professional).
I’m a huge animal lover, much to my husband’s dismay. I have been an animal lover since before I had kids, and like many of my clients, my pets are my first babies. Currently, we have two English Mastiffs and a HUGE Russian Blue cat.
For some reason (I blame it on the hormones) I decided for my second and third pregnancies to get a puppy. I know, I know, I wasn’t thinking straight, but I LOVED them. They were my babies. So with each of my last two newborns, I also had a new (about 4 month old) puppy in the house. I had family members who did not approve. I felt judged and even gave into the pressure to find a new home for one of them. It ended up being temporary. We got him back a few months later when the new owners did not treat him well. I had a LOT of guilt over that for the rest of his life…..
This is why, when I attended a short talk for doulas with Megan, from Train With Trust, her statement about my home belonging to my animals first hit me right in the feels. I knew she was right and I had almost become one of the statistics. So many animals lose their homes and their families when a new baby is born because it is a LOT of work caring for a newborn and a pet (or several).
Other than the sheer amount of work involved, I was pretty lucky with the interactions between my furbabies and my sons. We only had one incident that could have been very serious, but thankfully it wasn’t. My very well behaved puppy, who was allowed up on my bed, came running inside the house and joyously bounded up before I could stop him. I was standing right there. As soon as he saw the baby, he immediately turned and jumped down…..but not before one of his tiny claws nicked the corner of my newborn’s eye. There were a lot of tears that afternoon, from me, from the baby, and from my puppy. It was just a small scratch on the outside corner of his eye, but he still has a scar today if you look close enough.
I wish that I had had this information back then. Something as simple as training my dog not to get on the bed without permission could have prevented that mishap.
Most of the time the behavior that gets animals into trouble with babies is not bad behavior, it’s normal behavior, things they’ve not been trained on, or just simple accidents. Accidents that can be prevented.
For my labor and postpartum clients with furbabies, I always recommend that they hire a professional trainer to come in and assess the home and the animals, and the parents. We can help you find a dog trainer in Colorado who can come to your area. A little knowledge can go a long way to helping the entire household adjust to a new baby, and can help keep more pets in their homes and out of shelters. If you need an extra hand managing it all, call us. Our experienced Colorado area postpartum doulas can help you put plans in place to keep the whole family happy and stress free.