Lessons we learned from our dog

I know that my boys will be life-long animal advocates and owners displaying the same kindness and compassion that their first dog taught them.

 

I will be the first to admit that adopting a pet was not on my list of things to do in my life.  All I could think about was potty messes, hair, slobber, and incessant barking.  And the broken promises of I’ll take the dog for a walk, or I’ll take the dog outside to potty were running through my mind.  So, when the subject was first brought up five years that two little people in the house would really really really really love a puppy, I was 100% against it.  I thought we had enough going on in our house without adding a puppy.  I grew up with outside dogs on the farm while my husband grew up with a family pet living in the house.  He was entirely on board thinking it’s an excellent idea to adopt a dog.

Daisy listening intently to P as he talks to her.

We looked around at different breeds of dogs and read about them at the library.  We weren’t sure what breed of dog would best suit our family.  With each conversation, the boys were more and more excited about the potential of adopting a dog to join the family.  I was slow to join to the excitement, but my husband promised me that I would love the dog and wonder why we didn’t do it sooner.  We settled on a female mini-schnauzer which the boys decided to name Daisy.  I had my list of worries concerning bringing Daisy into our home.  I was soon to find out that my fears were insignificant.

Daisy helping P with his math homework.

Potty training was one of my top concerns.  However, it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be.  As a family, we were consistent with the Daisy.  The boys had to take their turns to bring Daisy outside every couple of hours during the day.  They’d take her to the same spot so she would get used to going potty there.  My husband and I handled the night duty which we were thankful she learned to sleep through the night in a couple of months time.

Leash training was a family affair as well.  The boys, took over much of the duty because it was fun to walk their new puppy up and down the street.  There were some days we had to tell the boys to give the pup a break.  If they weren’t walking, they were carrying their new dog.  It took Daisy the longest time to go up and down the steps in the house because all she had to do was let out a little bark and one boy would be at her  side to give her lift

My worries were soon forgotten with watching this new puppy grow before our eyes.  Days turned weeks and weeks turned to months.  Daisy bonded with the boys.  She loved them so, and they adored their dog.  One thing we noticed early on was Daisy did not like it when someone cried.  She would go into protector mode sniffing and pawing trying to calm down the one who was crying.  In our house, it was usually P.  Because of this, they developed a unique friendship.  Daisy has tuned in to P’s moods and needs.  She knows when to approach cautiously not to startle him.  She has learned that in the mornings P needs cuddles and squishes.  She happily lays on him or squishes him as P calls it.  Days when P has been sick Daisy sticks to him like glue not letting him out of her sight.

Daisy waiting to jump up on P’s bed to give him sensory input.

P has learned valuable lessons caring for his beloved dog.  Responsibility caring for another living being.  Learning that entails more than just food and water in her bowls.  Playing with Daisy, so she isn’t bored.  Sometimes she needs the challenge to sniff out a  treat or play a game.  Exercising Daisy, so she stays healthy.  And loving her, so she feels comfortable in her home.  In return, Daisy loves P unconditionally through good days and bad days.  Along with giving P, the sensory input that he craves.  She has turned into a the ever-faithful confident and pal listening to P practice his reading or helping with homework.  She is a calming force in P’s life.  There have been times when P has been very impulsive or hyper with Daisy.  Daisy has thought great playtime and acted accordingly.  Unfortunately, P has been scratched or nipped.  He has felt betrayed and hurt.  Those are the times, we have had to work through with P letting him know that the message he gave to Daisy was it was going to be fun playtime instead of not now.

Both boys have learned compassion and empathy taking the time to say goodbye to their dog when they leave each day promising they will see her soon.  Daisy has had some minor health issues that we’ve had to watch out for, and the boys have been right there with her watching her and helping out however needed.  P likes to tell us he is part of our family and needs to our love to feel better.

These are the unintended lessons I do not think I could have ever dreamed that an animal would teach our family.   I know that my boys will be life-long animal advocates and owners displaying the same kindness and compassion that their first dog taught them.   Despite my initial hesitation, adopting Daisy was one of the best decision we made for our family.

Has your family pet taught a special lesson?  Let me know in the comments!

 

All my best to you,

Heather

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