This post will make sense to some and may infuriate others. I have tried to deny how two different species can be so similar because I truly believe that we are far, far superior to any mangy mutt that crosses my path. But truth be told, those beloved pets, you know the first pets you get with your hubby when you first get married are more useful than you might think. Sure, after the potty training, feeding, walking, brushing and sweeping of massive amounts of pet hair off your floor and couch, they do actually hold some sort of value. Let me explain.
My husband and I got two dogs early on in our relationship - Sydney & Blayney. The story goes that we wanted a dog, so we went to a shelter and got Sydney. After a night of hearing a puppy cry the entire time, we thought it would be a good idea to go back for her only remaining littermate - her runt sister, Blayney. You know, to give her a playmate. The following night, we had two puppies crying the entire time. Plan backfired, but both dogs stayed and we have them to this day.
When the babies were born, there were things about babyhood that reminded us about puppyhood. Let me stop right here to reiterate that there is no comparison between a human being and a canine. What I am suggesting is there are similarities to how we have to parent our real babies versus our fur babies. Below are some observations:
1. Babies cry all night long because they need milk, changed or cuddled. New puppies cry all night because they need water, their dog bed cleaned because they have piddled in it or they are about to piddle in it, they want to sleep in your bed with you or they have just pooped all over their crate and they are covered in yuckiness and want you to come check it out.
2. Babies are highly entertained with fun, interesting toys. Puppies love to sink their teeth into any overpriced toy that you put in front of them. But here is the kicker! They chew it up in like, 2 minutes, and you are left with a pile of scraps. Good times!
3. Babies like to try on mama and dada's shoes and walk around in them. Puppies like to locate your favorite pair of shoe and chew them to shreds.
4. Babies need to go to a babysitter when you are not able to take them with you. Sure, puppies can last a little while without a sitter, but if you plan on being gone overnight, the dog needs a sitter, too. One overnight trip with Fido on his own and the carpet is hosed. (Cat owners, my understanding is your feline can last several days without a sitter, but once that litter box gets too full, your whiskered friend is ticked and will revolt.)
5. Babies thrive best on a consistent schedule. This is a big one for puppies, too. Put them on a potty/feeding schedule and they will adjust better and have less accidents.
6. Babies have messes if they are not wearing a diaper. If only you can put a diaper on a dog (and they would keep it on)! I would have done it a long time ago...
7. Babies become the center of our universe. That adorable puppy used to be, but once the little bundle of precious human life came through the door, the dog took a back seat.
8. Twin babies can fight over the same toy. So can twin dogs (mine were from the same litter, remember!) Two exact bones and one is by far more valuable.
So, knowledge can be learned from getting that first fur baby and can be somewhat applied to parenting children. Pets are a good "trial run" for couples and for some people this is the only type of baby they will ever have. But for those of us who go on to experience the joy of bringing a little one or two of our own flesh and blood in the world, we know there is nothing that can come close. No amount of preparation can truly prepare you for parenthood until you are smack dab in the middle of it. But those little lessons we learn when we become responsible for something other than ourselves can be beneficial.