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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

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Adopting a Pet Before Having Children

You and your spouse would like to be parents some day.  You two have lots of love to give, and you do not want to wait . . . to do without some little one (or not so little one) to love, cuddle, nurture, and protect.  So, you are considering adopting a dog or cat.  Here are some things for you to consider when deciding whether to adopt a dog or cat.

  • There are many homeless pets in need.  Shelters are full of dogs and cats with whom you can share reciprocal, unconditional love.  If you have a safe and loving home, you can reap multifold rewards for opening your hearts and home to one of these precious fuzzy babies.  (Whether pets are young or old, they will always be our babies.)
  • Assuming that you choose your adopted fuzzy first-born well, based on your lifestyle and personalities, bringing a little one (or not so little one) into your family can be richly rewarding in many ways.  Imagine how it feels to come home to a wagging tail . . . attached to someone who can’t wait to see you and is so glad to welcome you home.  Or the fun of playing with your fuzzy first-born and his/her toys.  Or going for walks with Fido (and maybe meeting your new neighbors).  Or spending the evening with purring Felix on your lap.  Or laughing at the antics of your fuzzy first-born as s/he chases his/her tail or meets his/her first spider or cricket.  Or knowing that your precious first-born loves you unconditionally and depends on you for his/her most basic needs.
  • You can hone your parenting skills and observe how your parenting style and your spouse’s parenting style interact.  For example, you may observe who is more lenient, who is more strict, and how that difference makes each spouse feel (i.e., “Why do you get to be the fun parent while I always have to carry the responsibility of parenting?”)  You can compromise, seek resolution, and your patient, loving, fuzzy first-born will be a wonderful teacher.
  • Again assuming that you have chosen your adopted fuzzy first-born well, s/he will be a loving, protective older sibling when your human children are born.  And, just as s/he has taught you and your spouse about parenting, s/he will be a teacher for your human children.  With your guidance, s/he will teach your human children how to love and respect animals, how to understand those whose perspectives and language vary from your own, and much more.

In sum, if you can offer a pet a safe and loving home, then you and your spouse are encouraged to open your hearts and home to a well-chosen fuzzy first-born that will fill your lives with love and laughter like only fuzzy babies can.  When your human children are born, they too will reap the benefits of sharing their lives with their older sibling, the fuzzy first-born.  And, of course, the fuzzy first-born will have been spared euthanasia in an over-crowded shelter and will have spent his/her life well loved in your home.  Adopting enriches the lives of all involved.

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