Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kids and Pets

I have a long list of topics for this readybirth.com blog. Coincidentally "Childproofing Your Dog", that great little book that you can purchase anywhere was going to be my topic for this week. And then my darling dog, Boichuk collapsed. He is an eight year old pug who shares my life with his seven year old sister, Bella. People have heard me say that on any given day I love my dogs more that I love my kids. Love now, not then. Because after all, my kids are all grown up with families of their own. And I do love all of them but my dogs.....Well, they are my constant companions and my best little friends. Pugs have been bred specifically to be lap dogs, and are they ever, except when they are under-foot. Their sole purpose in life is to be BY their owners and my dogs sleep on my head. My white noise is the sound of shortened airway snorts and grunts.
Boichuk was fine on Wednesday and by Friday morning, he just fell over into "dead" faint while standing next to his next favotite thing ( after me, of course ), his food bowl. Fortunately, my vet is my hand-picked daughter-in-law ( who said arranged marriages aren't best? )and she's number one on my automatic dial. She told me to get to the clinic, which I did. No more personal days for me this year.

Boichuk has been diagnosed with acute hemolytic anemia. It may be idiopathic ( who knows why ) or it may be auto-immune. He is very sick. His red count keeps falling and he is receiving a blood transfusion, right now. Today, while I blog and cry and pray that he will live.

We can measure our lives by the pets we let into it. They are our comapnions and friends, our responsibility and our family members. They share the good times and the bad and they never have any expectations other than to be there for us. They provide the definition of unconditional love and it doesn't get any better or any more super- human than that. We say we love our children unconditionally but show me a parent who hasn't been pretty darned disappointed and just a little more than judgemental at some point in our lives with them so that we might admit ( even if just to ourselves ) that we really don't like them just then, we love, sure, but maybe not like.

So I hope and pray with all my heart that Boichuk is going to recover to be all the wonderful things that he has been for me. And he might not. Life, like love is about loss. I think of Sundae Lee and Andre, Jason and Amber and my little Maggie-dog everyday and hope that somewhere they are all together thinking about me. Eating great big doggie bones and chasing butterflies abd bees.

Life with a pet in the family is great for your kids. The American College of Pediatrics states that it is best for an infant to come into a home with two furry things living there. It strengthens the immune system. Kids are actually less likely to have dander allergies. So that's really good. But it is especially important to share life with creatures other than human to learn kindness and patience, responsibility and compassion. How do we teach a young child to "make nice" with out a dog to practice on?

So get a pet, if you don't have one already. Get another one; it's okay with me. Read Childproofing Your Dog. And when you bring the baby home from the hospital, introduce them to each other as the siblings they are going to be. Let the pet sniff that new baby all over ( forget what your mother says about that ) and never make the baby forbidden fruit. If pets know the parameters, they are generally very accepting and most apt to be at the baby's door before you even hear the first cry. A best friend, a protector, a comfort and support.

Love your babies and pets and enjoy the moments you have to savor how they grow together. Cherish each and everyday. Practice loving kindness. You can learn that from your pet. And they will reward you with great gifts. Your kids will do that only some of the time.