Animals and Instincts

I don’t understand people who don’t have pets.  I guess it goes back to the way we were raised.  We always had animals in the house.  Cats, Dogs, Fish, Hermit Crabs. . . we even brought home a class rodent, although in a house full of cats, let’s just say the rodent was lucky to go back to school.

For those of you who haven’t had pets let me tell you something. Animals and humans share an amazing bond with one another.  Animals enrich our lives.  They entertain us.  They keep us going when things aren’t the best.  Sometimes they can be the only reason we get out of bed in the morning.  They truly are our friends.

When I had a child, I was worried just a bit about how the animals would react to my son, but it didn’t take long before they welcomed him into our herd (or for some, learned to tolerate him.)  It never ceases to amaze me how well our animals behave with our son, who is not always on his best behavior with them.

Our dog suffers the brunt of it.  When he learned how, the babe, started telling our poor dog “No” to everything.  He bosses her around and tells her what she can and can’t do.  He puts his hats on her, puts Tupperware on her head, lays on top of her, steals her toys, occasionally tries to ride her, pulls her fur and ears on occasion and she just takes it.  She has never growled at him (although when he was very small she growled at me for blowing raspberries on his tummy because she thought I was growling at him.)  If he gets too rough, she licks him in the face to occupy his hands or walks away from him.  She also plays tug of war with the babe, or takes him for wild chases around the house.  The babe, in return for their exchanges, is in charge of feeding her dinner every evening.  (And he also shares all sorts of goodies with her, whether we want him to or not.)

Sadie accompanies us to the park every time we go.  We take her to the dog park and then the babe to the kids’ park.  In the old days of the dog park before my son was born Sadie would run around wildly if she didn’t want to leave when I wanted her to, but now a simple “It’s time to go bye-bye” is all it takes for her to accompany us to the gate to leave.

Yesterday when we were at the park Sadie became very interested in one of the incoming dogs. I had let the babe out of his stroller to run around since it was just us, and two other dogs and humans we knew.  (Normally I never let him out of the stroller because there are too many dogs and being a toddler he doesn’t quite understand that 1. Not all dogs are nice and want to be pet and 2. The dogs could hurt him).

When the new dog made an appearance Sadie played her normal greeter at the gate.  She is very vocal and one of the incoming dogs was also being very vocal, but in a way that made me slightly uncomfortable.  I left the babe with a friend and pulled Sadie away from the gate to let the new dogs in.  There owner kept the leash on the questionable dog.  A dog being kept on leash at the dog park is never a good sign.  Sadie went to sniff the dog and he growled.  Sadie is a herding dog and has a thing for trouble dogs at the dog park.  She tends to try to herd the trouble makers away from the main pack.  I have broken up a few dog scuffles at the park (usually over toys) and know my limitations.  A child, a stroller and a dog is too much to handle if things get uncomfortable so I made the decision to put the babe in the stroller to head over to his park.  Sadie stayed near the troublesome dog until I called her to go bye bye.

I’m glad that we left when we did.  I got a text not much later that the troublesome dog had gone after my friends’ dog after we left.  I am grateful for animal instincts and mothering instincts and that the combination of the two kept us safe yesterday.  So, if you’ve never had a pet I highly recommend one.  (Although if you already have children sometimes it’s better to wait until they are a bit older than toddler age to introduce one).  Every little boy (or girl) should have a dog (or cat).008


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