Child/Pet Bonding

The wife and I are big animal lovers. No doubt about that. We send money to two charity causes annually…diabetes awareness and animals. We each grew up with pets (we’re sorta ‘dog people’ but we really love all animals), and, we currently have a two-almost-three year-old puggle. We’re not radical about our beliefs. We still eat meat, we don’t throw red dye on people wearing fur, but our hearts hurt deeply for animals in shelters, and for those that are lost, abused, and neglected. We volunteer our time at a local animal shelter, just to show the dogs there that people really do care about them, and that finding them a happy home is priority number one.

It just seems a no-brainer that we want Parker to  love animals as much as we do. But more importantly, we want him to understand and respect animals and their rights.  We want Parker to understand that Cookie is just as much a part of our family as he is, and for Cookie to know that Parker is a new member.

From what we’ve discussed, incorporating Parker into our care of Cookie will help him better understand Cookie, and also help Cookie know that Parker is another person that will provide for her. Early on, most of their interaction will be natural, such as smelling, licking, and touching. But as Parker grows, tasks such as feeding, playing, and even walking can be incorporated, until they each develop a firm understanding of their roles in the family.

In all, the goal is not just to develop a friendship between our son and our dog, but truly to foster a sense of responsibility for animals in Parker. To realize that animals don’t have the capability to fight for themselves, that we are their protectors and their voice. To be outraged at those who neglect and abuse animals. And hopefully, he will one day want to donate his own time and energy to sticking up for animals.

And as always, if you are considering getting a pet, visit your local animal shelter.

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3 responses to “Child/Pet Bonding

  1. LOL – ah, so hopeful, young one! J/K

    Just wanted to report on our experiences with babies and animals. Dogs are far different than cats, and I’m sure puggles, particularly because of their size, are great for babies 🙂 However, keep in mind that kids will be kids and animals will be animals – both have killer instincts! Our one cat lives quietly with Lili pulling his fur (which she does only because she wants him close enough to kiss him) while the other cat runs in all-out fear every time she even looks his direction (not exaggerating!!) I don’t think he’ll ever get used to her, although she loves chasing him!

    On the dog front, I take Lili to the Humane Society about once a week (and she sees several dogs at the park, most of whom are friendly enough to stop and say ‘hi’). We also have several friends with dogs. She has been exposed regularly to dogs since about 5 mths of age, and she has a love/hate relationship with them. Most dogs seem to adore babies, and thus lick and pummel them to death – and Lili has a personal bubble that she does not like anyone (even mommy sometimes) to pop. She has been mauled by many a happy dog. She also hates dog with very loud, low barks or very high-pitched barks. Thankfully she does not hate dogs from afar, but she won’t cuddle up to one at all. I also had a friend whose daughter scampered up her father’s leg at the site of any four-legged creature who came near her 🙂

    Just remember that teaching does not happen overnight, and there’s no reason to force anything. Act as you normally would because basically, if Parker sees how you act with animals, including volunteering, he will assume as his basic instinct that all people are supposed to act that way towards animals. That’s how beliefs and values are born 🙂 It’s why I have such a respect for nature (including animals) – because my parents did. They never told me to respect nature, they just acted like they did.

    BTW, I hope you two are both doing well and I can’t wait for Parker!! Lili will finally have a familial playmate closer to her age to pick on, I mean love.

  2. millennialdad

    Thanks, Justin, for the tips!

    Of course much appreciated!

  3. I can’t wait till I live in a place where I can have a dog because since my childhood dog passed away last July I have been absolutely dying for a new puppy to love. And I will always be getting my pets from a shelter.

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