Pets and children don’t always mix, and as a society we spend a lot of time discussing the safety of children around pets. But what about the poor pet?
Children can be pretty ‘pet-unfriendly’, from leaving the gate open to shoving items where they should not go. There is no doubt that children can pose a danger to pets. They lack a sense of boundaries and the consequences of their actions. They have a fascination with putting objects on (and in) things, especially body parts and they can’t to seem put ANYTHING away or back the way they found it.
Pets and children don’t always mix
Looking back, I am not sure how our beautiful Jack Russell made it through this period. Children love playing with hair ties and elastic bands. I discovered poor Jungle Jack with his ears in ‘bunches’ on more than one occasion. If you have a long haired dog and young children, I would advise the daily hair tie/elastic band dog body check.
Then there was the incident with the bead up the nose, requiring a general anaesthetic for removal. I have discovered poor Jack shivering in a wheelbarrow of water, forgotten as the game moved on. Or tied in the back yard by a piece of baler twine, patiently waiting for someone to notice his absence and release him.
Being from a vet family, the children had endless vet games. What better than to feed poor Jack some real tablets? And then there was the joy of the scissors and a bit of hairdressing.
Protecting pets from children
So, what can we do to protect our pets from these little lunatics?
Firstly, your choice of pup is really important. Jack loved the children and would seek them out to join in their games. He never became stressed by the abuse. He just loved being part of the madness.
Not all dogs are this tolerant. Some breeds are prone to anxiety and don’t enjoy the torture. Surprisingly many cats will adapt well to being man handled by children, or they will just make themselves unavailable for play.
If you already have a dog or cat and you are pregnant, start teaching them to enjoy being hauled and mauled. Use treats and gently tug ears and grab bits of skin, start slowly and build up, so it’s something they can become accustomed to before unleashing a small tormentor on them.
Keep medications and elastic bands out of the reach of small hands and check your pet each day to make sure that they haven’t snuck some contraband. These items will form a tourniquet and can deter blood flow to the area they are applied. It will be very uncomfortable for your pet.
Most importantly, be vigilant! It’s amazing what pets and children can get up to when we are doing the laundry.
The fate of Gentleman Jack
Luckily Jungle Jack managed to survive these ordeals and remained a patient, tolerant and adoring family member until the menaces where all grown up.
Looking back, I thank him for his loving patience. In the madness of working motherhood, he was left to fend for himself which he managed with the decorum of a true gentleman.