Here's To A Boring Year

Too much excitement just might kill me!

The trouble with pets

I’ve always loved animals. At various times growing up I’ve had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, budgies, fish, mice and chickens. We even had a wild magpie that used to come and visit and sit on our shoulders.

The mice were a near thing though. When I was in highschool, I asked my parents for mice for my birthday – they said no way! So I got one of my friends to give them to me as a birthday present instead. I’m sure my parents were thrilled, and I expect there’ll be some karma coming my way for that once my kids grow up!

For my 21st birthday, Hubs gave me a puppy. He was a miniature schnauzer, cutest thing you’ve ever seen.

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Very polite, very serious. He would follow us everywhere, and wanted to sit on your lap on the couch, in front of the computer – pretty much anywhere really.

But he was a dogs’ dog… he loved to play with other dogs more than anything, and he was lonely at home while we both went out to work. It took a bit of convincing, but a couple of years later, we bought him a friend. Another miniature schnauzer.

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Much more playful, and a little bit stupid.

They would both sit on the couch with us at night, or under the computer desks.

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They slept in our bedroom at night, and we let them come up onto our bed early in the morning. I loved snuggling with them. I loved how batshit excited they were to see us when we came home – even if we’d only been gone a few minutes. I took more photos of those dogs than anything else.

We’d been a family of four – two people, two dogs- for several years… until Monkey was born.

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Suddenly, the dogs had to sit next to me on the couch, instead of on top of me (not me in the pic!) – that spot was taken by a nursing baby. The dogs still wanted to be right next to me all the time, but I was petrified of their proximity to my tiny child.

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And as Monkey got mobile and grabby and discovered these weird furry creatures, the dogs became even more of a liability. Suddenly I had to be 500% vigilant, or shut my poor dogs outside for extended periods of time – something we never used to do.

I felt guilty about how much my dogs’ lives had changed. The first dog moped about it for months. The second one barely noticed. They’ve both been a bit wary of and snappy at Monkey, and he loves to chase them around and grab fistfuls of their beards and generally cause trouble.

I love having dogs – they bark if they hear something unusual, but are otherwise generally quiet. They’re great at cleaning all the food that Monkey drops (I don’t know how I would keep the floor clean without them!).

But now, with a young kid, they’re also an added later of hassle. I feel guilty for thinking that life would be a little simpler if the dogs weren’t around. When Monkey was very little, I even hated them on occasion – and then hated myself for it. In hindsight, it would be much, much easier to only have one dog.

I wonder if it’s normal to suddenly feel differently about your beloved pets after the birth of a child. I felt bad initially, but I like to think that I’m not alone in this. I’m sure part of it comes from the instinct to protect your child at all costs – and the other part probably comes from pure laziness. Quite frankly, keeping Monkey out of trouble is a lot of work as it is, and anything that makes it harder is not on my awesome list!

Did your feelings towards your pets change once you had a child?

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5 comments on “The trouble with pets

  1. Pomegranate
    December 6, 2012

    You are not alone. I’ve been nagging my partner to consider rehoming our dog, but I keep losing that one.

    For a while, the baby loved the dog so much, but he currently tends to push him away more than chase him, so even that silver lining is gone.

    But he really is a good dog. Sadly, he’s a people dog.

    • boringyear
      December 6, 2012

      I would be very sad to rehome our dogs. But when I’m trying to cook dinner and there’s two dogs and Hubs and Monkey all in the kitchen? I can see the appeal.

  2. Ashley
    December 6, 2012

    I definitely feel many of the same things! When Benjamin was born, I had 2 cats and an elderly dog. I was saddest about the dog at first, because he was such a sweet dog, but wasn’t young and spry anymore, so it was hard on him to have to keep moving away when Ben would go toward him, grab at him, etc. Then, when we had to have him put to sleep, I was shocked at how much more I had to sweep up under the table! Now I still feel slightly guilty about my cats, since they don’t get nearly as much attention or snuggling as they used to. But then I remember that they’re cats, they can handle it, and they have a pretty good life all in all! And I do resent the extra work that they bring to my life sometimes (especially when they bring me “gifts” of dead or mostly-dead animals!) But in the big picture, I like that Benjamin is growing up learning how to care for animals. He helps me scoop out their cat food, he knows how to pet them gently, and he gets excited when one of them actually approaches him and rubs against him.

    • boringyear
      December 6, 2012

      I definitely want Monkey and any future spawn to grow up with pets. Monkey is already vigilant about reminding us to give the dogs breakfast! I am crossing my fingers and assuming that they will be less of a liability as he gets older.

  3. chrysta
    July 29, 2013

    It is real.We had two dogs,and a cat.Both dogs very old,and one of them quite cranky.I`ve started resenting them during my pregnancy,when i had to go throw up in the garden first thing in the morning because the bathroom was full of pee.And poop sometimes.All on top of sleepless nights,toxic pregnancy and all the other horrible things.One of them wouldnt go out in the garden even if the door was open all day.i sometimes had to drag her out.Then baby came and at the begining it was okish because we were mostly in the bedroom playing and that was a dog free zone.But oh the hair everywhere..and the mess and the smell and ofc still a bit of pee and poo now and then.I started to get madder and madder till i had a full blown tantrum.I just felt that my baby`s health was at risk and the cleaning after the ogs and the flat was all on me.And then the last drop was when one of them bit her trying to get a biscuit from her. I put my foot down and said us or them.I feel horrible sometimes especially when i realise how mean i was to them and how little patience i had.But my baby always will come first.
    I got to keep the cat since he`s the personification of an aloof cat.Comes home to feed cuddle and sleep out in the garden.
    I want catherine to have pets too,but i`m thinking something like a small fury pet an it is easy to take care of.i know i`m a lazy horrible person…:)

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This entry was posted on December 6, 2012 by in baby talk, brain fry.
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