How much is a pet a part of the family?

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Whilst cats have been a part of my life for seemingly forever, the commitment to a dog was one we made with a lot more thought- more dependency is involved, and for whatever reason, the ‘type’ of dog seemed to be a significant decision in itself. After much thought a cocker spaniel was concluded to be our perfect choice.

Miller, named after the place Him and I met, has been a part of our life for ‘forever’ and has welcomed our babies into the fold.Cocker spaniel looking after babyWhatever misgivings I had, as a child who had a fear of dogs, never existed with Miller, he has always been a part of our family.

Miller has looked after our children, protected them from our cats, welcomed CM’s kitten with trepidation and jealously, but nonetheless has allowed ‘Jewelly’ to become a part of our home and his best playmate.

The reality of life with pets and young children is one of amazement. Before you recognise it your little ones have developed a wide range of caring skills. You are witness to the random acts of kindness which they can offer to a pet far more easily than a sibling. There is an amazing sense of independence as they care for and think of someone else. And more importantly, and true to type, they love to be ‘Miller’s favourite’ too. Pedigree Gravy Bones are an absolute hit, especially as the best trick ever is to ask for Miller’s paw in return for a bone. “Paw” was definitely an early word for all three in speech development stakes.Pedigree Gravy Bones for MillerAs the children grow, so having pets helps with reward chart. We offer the children points, which can be collected on a weekly basis for various reasons- usually slightly dependent on some behaviour we are trying to improve, balanced with some things which are enjoyed. ‘Chores’ involving the pets are definitely the easiest to motivate.

From walking:Dog walking for toddlersTo feeding:Pedigree for a dog's dinnerOthers, we manage to integrate. Like most children, ours do not like the supermarket shop, fortunately there are ways to keep things interesting. Walking around Asda, playing eye-spy for favourite colours, or points for generosity- for thinking of others. The brightness of Pedigree is a winner every time.Shopping for Pedigree in AsdaOf course, there are the times you wonder why you have a pet in addition to three children. When it’s hammering down and blowing a gale, and no-one wants to walk the dog, not even you.

And there was the time, when for some reason every rule going was broken. Miller had done a number 2 in the garden, CM had gone outside, stood in it, decided to bounce on the trampoline with her shoes on, and then walk back to the house when she realised what was on her shoes. No amount of points deducted was going to make me feel any better about the mess which needed to be cleared.

And there are there are the things you never thought you’d never let happen- but you manage to get through it by taking a photo.Cocker spaniel and toddler sleepingThere are many pro’s and con’s of owning pets. I haven’t even mentioned the expense.

But the children are learning about love, they’re learning about looking after someone other than themselves- who really is quite low maintenance all things considered.

And as a family, we get to make even better moments.Toddler and cocker spanielWhich leads us onto the more difficult conversation.

Will Father Christmas be bringing the top present on B’s Christmas List this year?

A puppy.

“Because Miller needs a best friend too.”

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  • Reply
    October 21, 2015 at 19:53

    Aw, this made me cry! I miss my huskies so much – and the photos of snuggling with Miller and happy dog times just touched my heart so deeply. My boys all loved Pedigree Gravy Bones – there’s something very doggery about them! I want to come and visit your puppy now. I have withdrawal and Gav says no dogs. I say he’ll have to go with no dogs until Hero is at [pre]school. This is such a lovely post.

  • Reply
    Aca Baranton
    August 5, 2021 at 09:39

    I am not surprised at all that your children learn to care for the dogs from a young age and your brilliant idea of rewarding them with points for the pet care and other responsible behavior would definitely make them more empathetic and better human beings.

  • Reply
    souvik ghosh
    November 22, 2021 at 19:04

    I do love dogs. But at the moment I have not enough time to take care for a dog. And especially a puppy needs lots of time.

    But I do have great memories of my youth.
    We had a nice and funny dog. And taking care of that dog gave me joy.

    Long walks together were always a nice adventure.

    Kind regards,

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