Best friends are for life, not just infertility

(Or: Mothers aren’t always right)

 
I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now, but worried about offending people.

But then I thought about it, and I don’t think those people really care about what other people think, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. So here goes!

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about… 


People who have a baby and then get rid of their dog. 

Here’s how it goes…

You get your cute little puppy and you bring him (or her) home and he becomes a part of your family. 

At first you’re devoted to him. You buy him the best food and tonnes of toys. You post endless photos of him on Facebook and Instagram. You are obsessed by how cute he is and how much you love spending time with him. Every milestone is a wonder to you. You love to take him out and about with you and you think he’s the best thing ever. 

And then…

Two pink lines. You’re pregnant! You’re going to have a baby. How wonderful! Your dog is “great practice” for a baby. You’re going to be such a fantastic mom!

Of course, you can’t do that much with him during the later stages of your pregnancy. You’re too pregnant. The dog is just going to have to wait. Still, he sits by the door, hopefully. Still, he’s overjoyed to see you every time you come home. 

You’re saving up for the baby now so you’re going to have to cut down a bit on the dog. He can have the cheap dog food. And things are going to have to change. He can’t sit on the sofa any more, and that second bedroom is off limits. 

And then the baby’s born. A new human! The excitement. The time and effort. The Facebook and Instagram updates. 

Still, dog waits by the door and wags his tail when he sees you. But you don’t want him to lick you and definitely not the baby. He might eat the baby! And he’s not getting as much exercise any more now that you don’t have the time to take him out. 

You think about it a bit. It really would be the best thing for the dog if he went to live with someone else. You just don’t have the time to walk him and give him the attention he deserves. You want to spend every minute with your new baby.

It’s sad, but the dog is going to have to go.  

 

* * *
 

I’ve come across this story more times than I want to remember. Including, recently, a friend of a friend who had the same kind of dog as mine, whose dog was her “baby” before the baby was born.

Once the baby was born, she decided she didn’t have the time to devote to the dog – who was about 4 years old and previously the centre of their lives, absolutely doted on. Also, this dog was a very low maintenance sort of dog so not one that needed lots of walks or expensive food. She gave the dog away. 

If you think that was an isolated incident, this happens pretty often. 

Here a previous pet owner tries to defend herself about a “hilarious” post about giving away her dog to make room for more kids. (It got a fairly bad reception which she couldn’t understand so she wrote an entire blog post about it.)

Another one featuring this phenomenon here. And here. And here. It seems to be actually a thing. 

A thought experiment



I want to do a thought experiment. Replace every instance of dog in that story with “child”. 

You have an older child who was previously the centre of your lives and now you’re going to have a baby. 

Ask yourself if it would be okay to abandon an older child when you have a new baby. Would it be okay to love that child a bit less? Neglect it? Give it away?

And if it isn’t okay, what makes you think it’s okay to abandon a dog (or any other pet)?

To me, a dog is a member of the family. With the same permanence and status as a human. If not more, because a dog can’t knowingly get estranged or have an argument and a dog is dependent on humans for food and shelter. 

When I got my dog (“adopted” him), I took on responsibility for looking after him and loving him, just like a human. Whatever happens, he is not dispensable and that responsibility for him doesn’t change. (When I split with my ex, he kept our pet and I still pay for the bills all these years later.) 

My responsibility to my animals is for a lifetime. 

I have tried, but I just can’t get my head around people who do this. 

I don’t want to be judgemental but: If you get rid of a family member because it isn’t convenient to you… I will judge you. 

  

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57 comments

  1. Solo

    I know of so many people who have given away pets (dogs and cats!) because they have a child on the way. It’s incomprehensible to me. My dog is my baby and there’s no way he’d go anywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      I know… I just can’t even understand why anyone would do that, especially in anticipation. I don’t get the idea that you can just ditch the pet once you have a baby… As if you only got the pet as a baby placeholder. It’s weird!

      Like

  2. My Perfect Breakdown

    I have been amazed at the number of people who have asked us when we are getting rid of our dog now that e have a baby. The thought mortified me, our dog isn’t going anywhere! If needed we will hire trainers to help us. And well give baby mpb allergy drugs if he has allergies. Those two are going to be best friends if i have any say in it and like it or not they are both stuck with us. ☺

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      That’s crazy! I can’t understand why people even have this thought process. I agree one of my biggest fears is that I’d have a baby that was allergic or something… To me, giving away a pet would be an absolute last resort and there’s no way I would give him to a shelter. It would have to be to someone who really would love him as I love him. In terms of allergies, there is evidence to say that children brought up with pets have fewer allergies. I was actually mildly allergic to our cats but extended exposure to them meant I built up a tolerance – I only noticed when I was away from them for a period and then came back. I’d have a few days of sneezing! But I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to give them away. I’m glad your little one will have a doggy best friend! X

      Like

  3. ash0320

    Oh my- I agree with this 100% and it irritates me to no end when people do this! What’s worse is these same people typically end up getting ANOTHER dog a few after baby anyway, because “it’s good for the kids”.
    My dogs are STILL my babies. Always will be. I cannot even imagine them not being part of our family (let’s not even think about typical lifespans…). Yes, there were days when they made me nervous when my daughter was tiny. You know what? They learned. And she grew. Now, even more often, SHE makes me nervous around THEM! But she’ll learn, too, and I think it’s SO important for her to learn how be around dogs, how to treat them, the responsibility of feeding, letting them out, caring for them, etc. Plus she has 2 playmates even though her parents are apparently infertile now! 😜

    Liked by 3 people

    • Nara

      Oh I’m so glad that you kept your dogs! I always worry when I hear about those people who have babies and ditch their pets. Because I think… Could I ever be like that? I really can’t imagine loving my dog less. Truth be told I actually worry that having a baby would take time away from my dog! And I agree that it’s enriching to kids to grow up with pets and learn how to treat animals. I love the idea that one day we might have a kid and the dog would follow him/her around and be a best buddy!

      Like

  4. Amy M.

    This drives me insane, too!! One of B’s best friends had 2 dogs, then had 2 kids. When they were pregnant with the second, they got rid of the dogs. They just didn’t have room in their small house for 2 kids and 2 dogs, and didn’t want to take the time to deal with them anymore. I was so mad. I really don’t like this friend of his anyway (which is its own issue) but this made me like him even less. I would never get rid of my fur babies because of a human baby…the ONLY instance would be if the animal became aggressive towards the baby/child and it couldn’t be fixed with a trainer/behaviorist. But people that do what you are describing…makes me ill.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Oh yes, I agree. I think there must be situations where you’d have to rehome your dog, but that to me is an absolute last resort (similar to rehoming your parents – putting them in an old folks home!). It’s not a lifestyle choice. The example of excessive aggression being one – but sometimes you hear of it and it’s because the dog goes from running free to being stuck in a cage all day – why would you expect the dog to be okay with that? Or if your kid had some sort of immune problem and needed a sterile environment or something… But really I think it should be the same thought process as for an older child. You wouldn’t ditch an older child, no matter how many additional needs the younger child had. And a new baby with normal health doesn’t have the kind of additional needs that require getting rid of a much loved family pet, in my opinion. I can only conclude that those people didn’t love the dog much in the first place. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  5. thegreatpuddingclubhunt

    Yes this post is spot on!!! A dog IS a forever family member!! I would love to have a dog join our family, but we don’t have the right house for a forever home for a pup just yet!! Hopefully soon! But another reason we have held off is because the thought of having a new puppy and then falling pregnant with twins (or triplets!!!!) would be too bigger of a new family all at once. I know someone who gave up their kitties because the baby was severely allergic – that is heart breaking so maybe there are times when giving up a family pet is a must….but I know some people believe that cats will sit on a baby and suffocate it so we will probably get comments about this when we have our baby!!!! http://www.petful.com/behaviors/myths-cats-babies-true-false/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Exactly! I think if you aren’t prepared to be totally committed to your dog, you shouldn’t get one. Like we purposely picked our dog to fit with our lifestyles (a dog which could spend some downtime chilling at home whilst we are at work, and doesn’t need constant stimulation and exercise, and doesn’t need a huge amount of space to run around in). So to us that is a commitment. For example, we are renting and to rent with a dog in London probably reduces the available properties by at least 50%. But you know what? We suck it up. Because our dog is more important!

      I’ve heard the cat thing before and I think… Really? I’ve had cats before and they are usually fairly standoffish and unlikely to want to sit on anything apart from a sleeping surface! Plus surely you’d put your baby somewhere it can’t be sat on!

      I’m just imagining you having triplets! πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. eveclo

    Argh!! I have thought this so often when reading blogs and things after people have babies and they don’t care anymore! I’ve made big promises to myself never ever to think that way. Dogs are my soul haha I could never do that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Me neither! Even before I had a dog, I thought it was weird. Now I actually know how much I love my dog – more than I love most humans! – I think, seriously… How could you? It’s such a strange concept to go from loving something so much to being indifferent. Some friends actually did that to their cats too. I find it hard not to judge them when I go round their house and see the cats being ignored when previously they used to be their absolute focus. But at least cats are less dependent and needy – you can leave food and water out for them and they make their own way. A dog needs human attention and love.

      Like

  7. anawnimiss

    Shit. This makes me sad. Sugar is twelve years old now, and very ill. With a new baby in the house, is definitely is tough to pay as much attention to her as we used to. But you know what, we make it work. I can’t imagine letting Sugar go just because we have a new baby. I can’t believe people would do something like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. theskyandback

    This hugely pisses me off too! Another one I can’t deal with is people getting rid of their pets because they have to move. What? That doesn’t even make sense. I found out I was allergic to cats a few years ago and there was no question that I was keeping our cats. Everyone thought I was nuts. Once a pet is part of your family it’s forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Yep, I am absolutely the same on that! I get that people have to do something when they’re homeless (which is heartbreaking). Or if they have to go into residential care. Stuff like that is a worry. We have even designated “dogparents” for Dog in case we die! To me he is family, and I couldn’t stand the idea that he would be put down or something if we died. (It’s unlikely – he has so many admirers that I’m sure they’d be fighting over who got to keep him.) But just moving… We rent right now and if you have a dog, it cuts down the available housing for rent in London by at least 50% – many don’t take pets. But you know what – we have lived in 2 different rental places without any dog related trouble. You just have to modify your search criteria! (Added bonus is that dog friendly housing tends to be nicer – larger and more character!)

      I can relate to the cat thing. We used to have cats and I found I was mildly allergic – I didn’t notice anything when I was with them all the time, but if I was away for a while then I’d notice when I got back. I’d have a few days of sneezing. Also, I have hay fever and when they went outside in hay fever season and came back in, they’d make me sneeze. But some inconvenience is part and parcel of any member of the family, and pets are family!

      Like

    • Nara

      Yes exactly! We joke and tell Dog that he might be a big brother one day. Of course I know he’s not human, but it doesn’t stop me joking about it! He’s great with humans as we socialised him since he was tiny, so I’m hoping he would be fine with a baby. If we never have a baby then I’m definitely up for moving to a big house and getting a load of dogs! πŸ™‚

      Like

  9. sewingbutterfly

    100% agree. I could never get rid of a dog just because we had a baby 😦 Dogs are pack animals, when you have a dog, you become their pack. And packs are family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten (or at least it should).

    Liked by 1 person

      • Nara

        I think my dog is pretty much 100% motivated by food! He knows the words “din dins” and “treat” and gets really excited by either of those! Even if we are out for our walk and mention din dins, he’ll start heading very quickly back home! πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

  10. circumstance227

    After bringing our first baby home, we started noticing our Dog Two getting fatter and more depressed (partly because she missed her beloved Dog One who died right before the baby came. A double whammy for her.) Our solution: Dog Three. Both of them were so sweet and gentle with our girls when they were babies. Later – we trained the girls, not the dogs on what they can and cannot do with the dogs (bother them when they are eating or sleeping, crawling under tables when the dog is already there and could feel cornered . . . etc.) There was never a problem. Personally I don’t know anyone who has given away their dog for a baby’s sake. I feel similar to you about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      Aww I love this. I’m really glad you helped Dog Two adjust – that must have been strange for her. It’s great that the girls grew up with two dogs! I only have one and think I’ll probably only have maximum one child, so I hope they could be buddies!

      That person I mentioned is a friend of a friend, although I’ve met her, and the dog. My friend said she was really upset about it and worried about people judging her. I told her to tell her I judged her! (I’m so awful. But really… Her child has no special needs and she has a husband. She just couldn’t be bothered with the dog once she had the baby. So I totally judge her.)

      Like

      • circumstance227

        At the risk of grossing more fastidious people out, I’ll add a little tip: it really helps a lot to allow the dogs to sniff and even lick the baby so that they bond. Once the dog accepts the baby and doesn’t feel rejected or pushed off, the dog will subordinate itself to the baby in the pack (family) hierarchy. That’s been my experience all three times.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nara

        Oh, I totally let my dog kiss me on the lips. T thinks it’s disgusting! πŸ˜‚
        That’s really interesting about the licks. I have a tendency to think that modern parents protect their kids from “germs” a little too much nowadays. I think a completely sterile environment is probably more harmful to a child’s immune system than a little bit of dirt.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Arwen

    A twitter friend posted recently really upset by some arsehole on their Facebook friends list who’d put their dog down because they were pregnant….. Seriously awful.
    So yeah people like this are awful.

    Like

      • Arwen

        Yup, totally evil. I think this twitter friend had ditched the arsehole
        Apparently she had been posting on fb over how “gutted” she was. Awful.

        Like

      • Nara

        I absolutely doubt that I would be able to hold my tongue on that one! A few choice expletives would spill out! Seriously. People like that should be banned from ever having pets again.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. MrsD

    We have two cats and they are definitely like children to us- we even include them in our Christmas cards (we pretend it’s just to be funny, but we actually do consider them to be part of the family)! There is just no way we could ever get rid of them when the baby is born! They’ve been by my side throughout this whole journey- from being curled up in bed sobbing after miscarrying, to the depression that came with infertility, and now being on bed rest- these two have been my furry little sidekicks the whole time. I couldn’t imagine not having them here.
    Now are the cats going to like the new baby? No way! I guarantee they will hide and glare at her from underneath the bed for the first few months. But we won’t get RID of them! We’ll just keep working with them until they get used to her. I feel like pets are a big responsibility and getting one means you are committing to take care of it for the rest of it’s life (barring special circumstances). So I just don’t get people who have a kid and get rid of the pets. That is definitely not happening at our house!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Ha! Exactly! I absolutely considered mine to be a part of my family (previously) and the only reason I left my previous pet with my ex was that they were super close and it was the only home they’d known. If I had thought that he couldn’t look after a pet then I would have taken the pet with me.

      I am with you on the Christmas cards! Dog is always on our Christmas cards and most of the time it’s just him instead of us! I think most people would rather have a picture of him than of us!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Courtney

    I agree with this with one exception – when the dog is aggressive with the baby. My hair gal is absolutely devastated that her dog went to live with her parents, but she kept biting the newborn baby and wouldn’t stop (she’s known as a biter, always has been). It’s a tough situation for sure, but having had a friend whose dog attacked her kid, I’m glad this friend was proactive.

    We have cats. Their lives have changed with kids (not as many photos taken of them – Ha!) but they still snuggle with me multiple times a day and eat god-awful expensive food. We almost gave Jackson away because he was severely depressed, he needs so much attention and the kids were not giving him the attention he needed, but then they got better with him and he perked up! It was a struggle because he was so sad, but he would have been sadder without us. Just remembering the contemplation of giving him up makes me sad.

    Like

  14. ourgreatestdesire

    If there there was a “love” button for this post…I’d totally hit it. I don’t understand it either. I guess it would be one thing if yes, the dog was aggressive towards baby and no amount of training fixed it or if baby was allergic to the dog (like more than some sniffles), but otherwise, my pups are here to stay.

    Like

    • Courtney

      My biggest fear while pregnant with both boys was that they’d be allergic to the cats. We think my husband is slightly allergic and we ignore it because the cats aren’t going to go anywhere even if he is allergic to them!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. stealingnectar

    I am sure you aren’t the least surprised, but Hollywood will remain a vital fixture in our lives. I can’t wait for him to get to know our little guy and love him as much as we do. He will still get couch privileges and I currently feed him treats and give him lots of love in the nursery so he associates the room with happiness and security. I can’t imagine demoting him! Thanks for the post that sparks happy thoughts of my pup and my little babe being the best of friends. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Courtney

      We had a cat who loved me so much that we were concerned that she would be severely depressed once baby arrived. The day Matthew was born, Brian brought the hat home that he wore that day that had his scent all over it and put it on the floor for her to smell. She snuggled with that hat and recognized his scent the moment they met a few days later. She was Matthew’s fiercest admirer and tolerated everything he dished out until her final day. Spending time with your pup in the nursery is a great idea! No restrictions to baby and his stuff is the key! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  16. The EcoFeminist

    Oh good grief I can’t IMAGINE getting rid of our dog because of having kids!!!! How twisted! Here in Portland we have one of the highest dog populations and I love seeing parents out for a walk with their kiddos and the sweet patient dog alongside them. Our girl Ruby the Mastiff is with us for the rest of her life! People who think dogs are disposable should never be able to have them in the first place. (BTW I’m in infertility land as well- fingers crossed for you two!)

    Liked by 1 person

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