Parenting & Other Life Stories

Unique Relationships: Part of the Family

Before we had children we had fur babies. Our fur babies are 2 hilarious 70 pound lap dogs. Maverick is a male fawn boxer who I like to joke is part dodo bird because he is so goofy, and then there is Willow. She is a brindle boxer who is very sweet and gentle.

I believe most people would agree that dogs are entertaining creatures and that children hold the same ability. However, kids and dogs together take it to an entirely different level! I remember the day we brought our first human baby home because that K9-child bond started the moment we walked in the door. We found Maverick a number of times trying to figure out how to safely get into the playpen with the baby! His big front paws would be perched on the side of the playpen, his chopped tail going 100 miles a minute and his big head would be dipped into the playpen sniffing for all he was worth. Occasionally he would look around and assess then his hind paw would sneak up into the air trying to find a foot hold.

If we put the baby on a blanket on the ground the dogs would flank him. They did this masterfully by being close enough to lick him and be touched by his roaming hands, but with enough distance to not squish him. Similarly, when we brought home human baby number 2 it was no different. As baby 1 grew it wasn’t uncommon to find him between the dogs on the dog pillow. In the mornings he would sneak out of his room and I would find him with the dogs cuddling on the dog pillow happily playing his Leapfrog and staying warm.

To keep the bond going somehow the kids trained Willow to be the finder when we play hide-and-seek. No hiding spot is safe when Willow is searching. Another favourite that is funny to see is the kids chasing the dogs in the backyard. The dogs get running so fast that it often looks as if their bums are going to race in front of their heads. Laughter and barking are true sounds of fun!

Now the dogs are getting older I often find them with blankets tucked around them. One kid or the other takes a fancy to keeping the old dogs warm and comfortable while they sleep and shares one of their blankets with them. These priceless moments don’t stop. One of the kids used to feed their dinner to Maverick from a spoon which was an activity that Maverick participated in with as much delicacy and grace as a dog can possess. He would sit patiently and open his mouth for the approaching spoon and then lick at the offered food very gently so as to not knock it off the spoon but not leave any behind either.

As I mentioned before both dogs are lap dogs, and sitting in a chair isn’t complete without 2 dogs and 2 kids cramming in as well. Boxers love people and kids seem to be their favourite kind (this is smart given the spoon feeding and snuggly blankets). These fur babies are affectionate and energetic animals, and they love playful interactions. There is never a shortage of laughs in our house between the antics of the dogs and the antics of the kids.

Although learning is more of a side effect created from a natural relationship given that most kids are drawn to animals it is a wonderful side effect worth mentioning. Some things kids learn from dogs:

  1. Responsibility
  2. Dogs show trust, respect, and loyalty
  3. Kindness
  4. Respect for living things
  5. A bond
  6. Love & Friendship
  7. Compassion
  8. Physical activity
  9. Patience
  10. Bereavement
  11. Self-esteem
  12. Reading (reading to the dogs is easier and can build confidence)

Although it is fun to be part of the antics it is also great to sit back and watch the memories as they unfold.

Kids & Dogs.

By Shari Marshall – 2017