“If he’s looking to get rid of the dog, I think we could do it.”
This I said to my husband when he informed me that a co-worker was complaining about their poodle-mix they recently acquired, and asked if Mike wanted it. So my dear husband, who had always wanted a puppy, came home a bit excited and we discussed it. We decided that it would be possible to take on a dog now, even though I wanted to start having kids first, and that was something we definitely were not ready for at that time.
As it turns out, said co-worker was joking, but the cards were on the table, and we decided to go ahead and get a dog. Mike was so excited about the mere prospect of a dog that I didn’t have the heart to turn him down. Long story short, we had a puppy within the year.
Topher is a black Goldendoodle, that is, half Golden Retriever, half Poodle, a mix that would be kind to Mike’s animal dander allergy, and excellent with people and kids. His name is short for Christopher, and since I didn’t want to name any of our boys that, we gave it to a dog! We did our research before purchasing him from a very nice breeder (We may rescue someday, but since this was our first dog, and Mike’s first true puppy EVER, we didn’t want to take any chances), and read books by both Caesar Milan and the Monks of New Skete. Those monks man, they were EXCELLENT. How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend is an unsurpassed dog book, and I insist that anyone considering getting a dog read it.
Anyways, using our knowledge from those books, we trained Topher, though his temperament was such that training was not difficult at all. He’s a very smart dog that just wants to please you.
The kids love him, and he’s so good around them that even they can take him on walks no problem. He’s very gentle, despite being only 2 years old and still being a bit of a puppy. He’s a snuggler, as seen in the picture above (he crawled up on the couch and put his head down on my lap without being asked), especially so if you’re not feeling good.
At first I was skeptical about having a dog before kids, but there are a couple of reasons this worked out fantastically for us. First of all, anything that goes on the floor food-wise, I never have to clean up! Basically it’s his job to clean up after the kids are finished with lunch, snacks, etc. And since we’re following the Baby Led Weaning approach, having a dog who’s not picky about food is perfect!
Also, he’s got that doggy intuition that I’ve come to rely on a bit. Based on his attitude, I can decide if I need to be worried about a storm, the people outside, or my family’s (or my own) well-being. For example, when Mike was desperately sick with the stomach flu (it eventually landed him in the hospital), it was Topher that ran to tell me he was vomiting. The look on his face was priceless. I heard something funny from the other room, then I see my poor dog running up to me, his eyes bugging out of his head, saying, “Come help! Something’s happening and I don’t know what to do!”
That intuition told me (though a bit in hindsight) that I would be going into labor soon. Two days before my labor started, Topher started poking my pregnant belly pretty hard with his nose, then sitting back and giving me a significant ‘look.’ I laughed it off at the time, because what are the odds, right? Though if I thought about it, I realized that’s not how he asks for attention or to go outside or something. I was still a week or so from my due date, and it being my first, there was surely no way I would deliver on time, much less early. I remember joking about it to my friend via text, even. Sure enough, two days after the doggy bumps began, my water broke! And what’s really funny is that I wasn’t even really in labor – I believe my water broke prematurely, since I had such a long, drawn out labor (another story for another time!), but Topher was able to predict that, I believe.
Basically, he’s a great dog, and I’m so glad we have him. You’re going to hear more about him, now that I’ve introduced you. He and Finn are going to be best buds, and if we didn’t get Topher before we started having kids, I can’t say WHEN we would get a dog, since having a puppy AND a baby would be madness. But having a baby and a dog that ADORES kids is fantastic.
Do you have a good dog? What kind is it? How do you and your kids get along?
P.S. – HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!