Thursday, May 2, 2013

What Happens to the Dog After You Have a Baby?

Lily as a baby.
Almost 10 years ago exactly, I found my dog - Shiner. I am not sure if I should call it an adoption or a rescue, but I literally did find her tied up in an alley. You can read the full story here if you want. Anyways, about a year later I became pregnant with my first daughter, Lily. Another nine months later she was born.

I want to share my experience of what happens to the family dog after a baby comes into the picture. So many dogs and other pets end up at shelters because their owners don't find them compatible with the new family lifestyle.

Will the Dog be Forgotten?

My answer to this question is no. Shiner was my first child and yes I treated her like one. She was the first dog I parented as an adult. So what happened with Shiner after my daughter was born? Did I throw her out in the yard and forget to feed her? Of course not! 

She did become less of a priority, however. Caring for a newborn baby is no easy task and can be stressful work. Housework and a good night's sleep all become less important than the new baby. It's not that the dog will be forgotten, but they may get less attention than they had in the past - at first, anyways. It's true - I'll admit it. 

It's important to not completely forget about your dog though! You'll want to make sure your child and dog have a healthy relationship with each other. Out of everyone in the family, Shiner seems most attached to me. I can even see some jealousy from her over the kids. Overall, she does really well with them. 

Don't Be Selfish! 

While getting rid of your dog may be the easy way out of an inconvenient situation when you don't feel like caring for them anymore, I don't believe it is the best decision. Things do get easier as the new baby grows. Yes, I realize that there are extreme situations but in most cases I don't believe there is a reason to get rid of your dog just because you had a baby. 

Yes, your dog will wake your baby up from a nap more than likely. Yes, the dog will probably lick the baby's face. Yes, your baby will probably eat dog food at least once in their lifetime. And yes, it's likely they will also grow up to be best friends with each other. 

Shiner and Lily. 
Violet sleeping on top of Shiner. 

I wanted to rant about this a little bit because I saw a post from a personal acquaintance on Facebook that had just had a baby. She had also recently adopted a dog before the baby. She was posting something about how she wished they could get rid of said dog because instead of going out somewhere with her husband, she had to stay home and watch the dog. Don't be selfish! 

All in all, I just wanted to say that things will change with your relationship with your dog after a new baby arrives in the house. Of course, they won't be the center of attention anymore and for some dogs that can be difficult to adjust to. But dogs are loyal creatures and will stand by you through thick and thin. Unless the situation is truly extreme, I still believe it is possible to find it in your heart to keep your dog - your first baby. 

25 comments:

  1. Wow, that hurts my heart to hear. You're right...pup was there first love but then in this instance I would say perhaps with that mind set that maybe the pup would be better with a person who obviously loves it more than to do that. Now I know there is always the exceptional instances but pretty much..NOT. I hope that pup finds a VERY loving human furever and ever!!!

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    1. Well, it mostly made me angry. Part of the reason I don't really look at my personal Facebook feed anymore. As far as I know, this person still has the dog. I haven't really kept up with it since then.

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  2. Some people have such different perspectives when it comes to animals! I know people who treat pets as something disposable, they disappear the moment they become inconvenient.
    My animals are family members, and sure, the level of attention they recieved dropped somewhat when my first child came along - but guess what! When my second child came along the first child got less attention too! ;)

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    1. Hey, you're right about the first child getting less attention. I have two children, one's 8 and the other 1.

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  3. Thanks for this wonderful post. I hope a lot of people will read and learn. There are too much dogs, cats or birds who land in a shelter for this reason.

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  4. That is just heartbreaking that people would get rid of their pet because they had a human baby.

    Ann, we wanted to thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments when it was time for our Sammy to leave for the Bridge. We are so grateful for your continued friendship.

    Hugs!

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    1. It is very sad. You are welcome guys, I know that he was a very special kitty.

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  5. I have seen so many pets kicked to the curb when a baby arrives and it always saddens me.

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  6. Alot of people have asked me what I am going to do with my dog once I have a baby. I answer to them... why is that even a question? What will you do with your first child when you have your second? Nothing, just keep them right? Same goes for my dog. It IS my first baby.

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    1. Good for you! You make an excellent point too. Glad to hear there are others who feel the same way.

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  7. You know, I hope those people do give their dog away. I hope they give that dog to a family who will actually love him and care for him for his whole entire life and not just so long as it might be convenient.

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  8. I always get sad when I hear that kind of talk, about getting rid of the pet when the baby comes along. My parents had cats when they had me, and shock horror, they didn't get rid of the cats, and I didn't get scratched because I was taught to respect the animal with claws! Yes I probably ate cat food, but some of my earliest memories are of me and one of the cats lying right up against the fire guard together :D

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  9. This should be required reading for pet parents thinking of having a baby. We had one on our floor. They have 2 dogs, including a rescue pit who had been abused. TW told her to make sure she brought home blankets with the baby's smell on them for the dogs before the baby came home. They did and everything worked out fine. Alexa poked that pit every which way and the dog never snapped at her.

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    1. Thanks CK, glad you agree. There are lots of things people can do for their dog to adjust to a new baby like you mentioned. I don't remember doing too much with Shiner, and she was good with Lily. I think she knew somehow what was coming. She's been even better with my 2nd daughter.

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  10. I see SO many of the "had a new baby, have to get rid of the dog" type stories. But our dogs ARE our babies, so we would never consider getting rid of them for any reason at all whatsoever. Getting rid of one of our dogs for a baby would be like getting rid of one baby for another. It just doesn't compute in our minds.
    I guess it's tough for us to have full perspective, since we don't have any human children... but still. The situation would have to be VERY severe for us to consider giving up our dogs... and if we absolutely HAD to do it, we would try to rehome them with friends or family, offering to pay for all food, supplies, vet visits, meds, etc. All they have to do is provide a home and lots and lots of love.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts Pam. I think it is a concept that is so hard to grasp for many people. I have seen many people in tough situations regarding their children and their dogs. It's hard to put myself in their shoes and I don't think I'd ever want to. Sounds like your dogs have some wonderful people to care for them :)

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  11. Thanks for sharing the link to this post - I'm sorry I missed it the first time around! It's such a refreshing read after that other terrible post last week. I love your perspective on the whole thing.

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    1. Oh no problem. Much better than that one lady's article lol... that was horrible!

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  12. My Wife and I think of our two puppies as our first two babies, our girls. Granted, when we have our first child, they will get less attention, as with our second child will get more than our first when he/she arrives, etc. We have this joke that Soja & Maile will be the big sisters to their human brothers & sisters. ☺️

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    1. I agree! They will totally be big sisters! Thanks for sharing :)

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  13. I'm so glad I came across this article because I have a fur baby that I love so much and my fear is that when I have a human child my love for my dog will diminish. I lover her so much and I don't ever want that to happen. Do you have any tips on how I can balance my love for my dog and baby?

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    1. Hi Mary, I had this same feeling when I had my 2nd daughter actually. It was a very stressful feeling. I felt like I might love my 1st daughter less when the new baby came. They are 7 years apart. I know it's weird to compare humans/dogs but it sounds exactly like what you're going through. Just different species. When the baby comes, the feeling will go away pretty quickly. You will always have your love for your dog and you shouldn't worry that it's going anywhere. Your dog will always love you too, which I think is the most important thing to remember. They won't forget you and will remind you that they are still there. :)

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  14. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I had to put down my Bichon Frise a few days ago. That was my first dog. He was 15 years and 9 month old. He had an bladder stone 3 years ago and was removed by surgery. He was okay after although he went to so much pain while recovering. He started peeing all over the place about two month ago with some blood. I took him back to another veterinarian ( We moved to a new city ) and found out he had another bladder stone. The vet did suggest to go for another surgery and since he was an old dog he gave me the option . He had cataracts and his hearing was lost but not completely other than that he was a happy dog.
    My wife was not happy with all the cleaning that we had to do even though he had the dipper on. I finally decided to put him down but could not stay with dog. I was crying in front of the vet and receptionist. I was selfish and left. The vet also did not ask me the question that I think he should have asked i.e is this your first dog etc... I did not know I felt guilty and discussed by me leaving the dog on his own to be euthanized. I am just writing this so everyone who reads this know that think twice at least before you put your dog down. It hurts, it hurts really bad. You will cry for days and days....

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  15. I recently had a baby and I feel so guilty because my sweet loyal fur baby is often times put on the back burner due to exhaustion from late night feeding etc. She is use to have long walks and runs with me and now I am simply unable to do so and it makes me feel horrible. I have my father in law come pick her up and take her to the park to run and play twice a week and I try to throw the ball with her and give her treats throughout the day, but obviously the attention she has gotten from me in the past has dwindled. I still love her with all my heart though and could never imagine giving her away because I had a baby. I am one of those people that feel like people who would give their dog away because they are no longer convenient shouldn't ever own a dog anyway because they don't really love them.

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