I’ve been getting quite a few people asking me this question as we inch towards the arrival date of the baby. The question literally goes: So when baby comes, what happens to Moon/your dog?
At first, I was mortified by the question. Like, Huh? What happens to Moon? What *should* happen to Moon? I have no idea why this question even comes up in the first place. To us, Moon is part of our family. We adopted her in 2011 and she will be in our family until she passes on. Why would having a child change anything?
Yes, I know that many people are concerned about dogs and babies. I hear about how dogs will get possessive and attack the baby. Of how dogs will cause allergies in babies. Is it any wonder the number of pet dogs who are given up the moment someone gets pregnant in the family? I have lost count of the number of “Up for Adoption” ads that I see on Facebook with the reason being “My wife is/I am pregnant so we have no choice but to give up the dog.” No choice? Really?
Everyone has a choice. It’s a matter of whether it is the easy way out (i.e. give up) or to make arrangements in your life to accommodate both.
Interestingly, my friends with pet dogs/cats tell me that when their child is slightly older (usually old enough to run/walk on their own), it is usually the child that “terrorises” the pet. Examples including chasing said pet around the house, trying to pull its tail, poke its eyes, etc. And not once, NOT ONCE, have I read of the pet reacting back negatively. More often than not, the poor long-suffering pet remains patient and kind towards the little human.
So who should be given up now? 🙂
It make me uncomfortable when I read of people giving their pet dog when they become pregnant. The same pet dog that has given them unconditional love. The one who waits for them patiently each evening, for them to return home from work. The very same one who looks up to them as his/her pack leader and feels safe and secure when everyone is in the same room. The dog who wags his/her tail enthusiastically regardless of how you have treated him/her.
I have also been asked: What if Moon bites your child? What would you do then? Would you give her up?
I thought about it. And thought more. Then I answered that it would not happen because as a parent to my child, I will not allow it to happen. I don’t believe that a dog (let alone Moon) will bite without warning/provocation. There will always be warning signs before the bite. Also, which parent will allow a young child to be left alone in the company of a pet dog unsupervised?! If a pet dog bites a child, wouldn’t the parent be just as responsible?
I posed this same question to the boy and was heartened to hear his reply that no matter what happens, Moon stays in the family. I HEART MY BOY.
The same people who asked me the question remarked that “When it really happens, you probably won’t think like that lor”, insinuating that we will throw Moon out because our child will definitely be more “precious” than a dog.
Maybe it’s just me but Moon is more than just a dog to us. She is part of our little family. She will always be my first furry baby – although I stop short of calling ourselves her parents (because we are not). She will always be our shared responsibility. We feel anxious when she is not well. We laugh at her antics. We rejoice when she learns a new trick. We get upset when she misbehaves. Moon has taught me the meaning of patience, responsibility and to always enjoy the moment, no matter how fleeting.
Obviously, we need to make adjustments in preparation of baby’s arrival. Moon used to sleep in her own bed just beside me. A couple of months back, we have moved her bed to the boy’s side so that she won’t feel that she’s being cast aside in favour of baby’s arrival as the cot will be placed beside my bed. I’ve also had to answer questions like: So erm, when baby comes, Moon still sleep in your room with you ah?
My answer: Yes. Then what? Throw her out meh?
Can you tell that I’m quite sick of people asking me such questions? Also, I have to add that such questions usually come from people who have never had a dog in their lives. Pfffft. Yes, I am also aware that these questions probably stem from a good place, i.e. they are concerned for the baby’s well being. But really. You’d have to give us more credit for managing the situation, yes? And unless you have solid advice on how to prepare a dog for the arrival of a new baby, I don’t see the value of the question.
And yes, I have also read up on how to prepare a pet dog for a new baby in the family. However, I am pretty confident that Moon probably already knows that we have a new family member on the way – dogs are probably a lot more intuitive than we give them credit for!
With Chinese New Year round the corner, I have already prepared myself mentally for answering those pesky questions. Now that I have an obvious baby bump, I am sure the discussion topic will revolve around the impending arrival and I am positive that I will get asked that “Baby coming, your dog how?” question at some point.
I await with bated breath…