Although this doesn’t relate to health or fitness, it relates to being a mommy to children and canine alike.  

A few weeks ago, I witnessed our chickens being attacked by a fox.  To make the story short: the girls were making a really loud fuss, I looked outside, saw a fox running after my chickens, which prompted me to go running outside screaming “NO!” and chase after the fox.  I was happy that he was unsuccessful in his chicken theft, but he really wounded one of our Rhode Island Reds.  What’s more sad then a limping and bleeding chicken who hides in the wood pile?  

I knew fox were a real problem in our area, but after uneventful weeks of free ranging our hens, I clearly had became too lax.  

Once everyone was safe in the coop that night, my husband did a count of the girls only to learn that we were down two – two of my beloved Buff Orpington’s.  And I have to admit I cried.  I felt like I had let my flock down and I was determined to find a way to keep them safe.  

A dog?!  

My husband was adamant against getting a dog until I found a specific livestock guardian breed, the Anatolian Shepherd.  It’s a very large breed, great with kids, sturdy enough to live in cold climates and gorgeous.  SOLD!

Now I am happy to say after driving over fours hours one way, we are now owners (well parents) to our new baby boy, Magnus.  He’s only ten weeks old and a monster already.  The next year will be about training him to behave properly (as all good parents should do) and set him up to watch our chicken flock.  But the past few days has taught me something else, that having a puppy is very similar to having a baby.  

So here are my reasons why you should wait to get a puppy after you’ve had a kid or two.

  1. Poop clean up – who needs gloves anymore?  Well, maybe not really but after dirty diapers for over two years per child, you’re an old hat at poop duty.
  2. Whining.  I’ve honed the skill of toning out whining children for the past three years, so what’s a puppy?
  3. You already refer to yourself as “mommy.”  And since your children are likely to always be around, you won’t sound too crazy in public when you’re talking to your dog, “come to mommy!”
  4. After potty training one child, you can appreciate the excitement of pooping and peeing where you are supposed to, i.e. the  yard for puppy or toilet for child.  Who thought bodily functions were so thrilling?  
  5. If your child wakes up at a reasonable hour, like after 6:00 am, I would highly reconsider a puppy.  Breakfast before 5 in the morning is not as awesome as it sounds.  Wait, that doesn’t sound awesome?!
  6. It is likely that you’ve also mastered the skill of identifying real crying (something’s wrong) from fake crying (attention please!) with your kids.  And puppy’s seem to be the same.  “Whimper whimper.  I don’t like my crate” versus “Pee!  It’s coming! Get me out of here!”  
  7. Time to rest.  Both tired kids and puppies get cranky and are super fussy and you guessed it, whine.  Knowing when it’s time for a nap is key and keeps everybody happy, and most importantly, mommy sane.  
  8. You understand the value of praise.  If you want your puppy to grasp a new skill, giving them high praise enforces their desire to want to do it again and see you happy.  Toddlers are the same way, “Mommy, look! I put my shoes on by myself!”  Which of course is a great accomplishment that your enthusiastic response will encourage independent shoe putting on all the time.  
  9. Dirty laundry accumulates very fast with kids.  Between jammies, multiples outfits each day, towels and bedding, you are likely to be doing two loads a day.  What’s a couple extra doggie towels?  
  10. Like a teething and exploring baby, doggie’s also bite and mouth to learn about their new world.  You probably remember how your infant put everything into his or her mouth right?  Well, puppies also love to chew, nip and put anything that will fit into their mouths.

And it goes without saying, you will love your new family member and want squeeze them ‘til they pop or eat their faces just like your own children (if you’ve seen my son’s cheeks, you’d want to eat them too!).  

There you have it – why I think having a puppy after a baby is likely to help you cope with the many adventures of parenthood.

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