Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kids and Animals: Pet Therapy

Often times I read about people wondering if they should introduce an animal into their home with a baby/toddler/kidlet.  Or how their furbabies will react to a baby.  I do not have a definite answer as each child, family, and pet is different, but I would like to think that pets would enhance family dynamics.

They certainly have ours.

Many times, Andrew or I can be heard shouting "Amelie, stop chasing your sister!".  Amelie is a cat.  Or "That's it, you are in time out, missy".  Also to the cat or the dog.

Our beautiful only child who will most likely be completely and utterly spoiled for the entirety of her life.

I will tell you that Ellie is our 1st and only child.  She will be an only child.  Yet, her "siblings" provide a source of companionship, support, and motivation that even I, as her mother, can not give.  Such is the special bond between a child and her pet(s).

3 of my babies "playing" nicely together. Amelie, Sophie, Ellie

We have 3 four-legged babies.

Tama is a bit camera shy. . .and Ellie shy.

Tama is my all black kitty with serious cattitude who was found wondering an ACME parking lot in Camden, NJ.  Camden is in the top 5 for most danger cities in the United States.  Tama survived the streets and still has a bit of teenage angst that became very pronounce when I up and moved to Austin, TX.  She tolerates her siblings and shows a vague interest in Ellie.  Actually, Ellie can pull her tail without hissing.

Amelie guarding a newborn Ellie Bear

We rescued Amelie immediately upon returning from our Germany honeymoon.  She is a spunky, talkative (yes, she "talks") kitty who enjoys tormenting Tama.  Chasing her all about the house.  Up the cabinets and cornering her on top of the refrigerator.  Amelie spends a lot of time in time out.  In the guest bathroom.  Where she will unroll the toilet paper and then nestle herself on-top of that unrolled TP.  She is a strange, yet amusing cat.

Just look at how little Baby Bear was!  Oh and those chunky arms.  Rolls!

Now Sophie is another story all together.  First off, she is a puppy.  Yet she thinks she is a cat.  We adopted Sophie when I was 5 months pregnant.  At the time, I was extremely stressed and many people deemed me a bit insane to allow Andrew to get a puppy.  A PUPPY.  Border collies are smart.  Very smart and fast learners.  I was pregnant and becoming even more large, uncomfortable, and well pregnant.  I had to train Sophie while very pregnant.  Talk about stress.  Sophie and Ellie are buddies.  I look back on that time and have come to realize that Andrew had it right.

Many people have asked me if Sophie herds Ellie as borders are known for herding small children.  It is in their nature.  My answer is: no, she herds the vacuum cleaner and the rolling garbage can.

You might have noticed that Sophie's tail, paw, or entire body appear in my Ellie photos.  In the background, there she is, with her bone, ready for Ellie to "throw" it for her.  They try to play fetch.  Sophie licks Ellie's face (eew puppy make-out session) and does not seem to care when Ellie uses Sophie's Pantene Puppy Fur to pull to a stand.  Sophie waits outside Ellie's bedroom door until Toddler Bear is asleep.  Sophie's and Ellie's special bond is most apparent when it is Sophie's dinner time.  I must keep Ellie out of the way or else Sophie Dog backs away to allow Ellie to "eat" her food from the bowl first.  Hello Ellie the alpha!  Do not worry, dear friends, I do not let my child eat dog food (I just let her chew on the dog bone for antibodies and teething).  Although there are worst things she could eat. . . well, maybe not since oat is a filler in dog food.  Evil allergy!

Box = Ellie's walker.  Tail = Amelie "hiding" in the box.
Meow! I bet you can't see me.
What is it with cats where they think they are "hiding" behind a curtain or piece of furniture yet their tail and hindquarters are still hanging out?

I know there is a kitty kitty in here somewhere.

Nothing motivates Ellie more in her therapy, I mean baby bootcamp, oops playtime than Sophie Dog and the Ame cat.  So when people worry about their animals, I want to say "don't be!".  My furbabies are a part of the family.  Ellie was the intruder and they have accepted her.  Ellie learns from them.   We are truly one big, zany family.  I just cannot wait until Ellie is old enough to feed the animals, let the dog outside, and take Sophie for walks.

Welcome to our zoo!


1 comment:

  1. When I visit I can bring along my two kitties to add to your herd. Southwest Airlines lets you carry a pet on board if the carrier fits under the seat.


I love your comments and I read each and every single one of them.