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Stories

Pets & Babies Do Mix

I was traveling in a local train in Mumbai the other day. I got a call on my cell regarding some IDA India work. I must have spoken a little loudly because the gentleman sitting next to me began to enquire about IDA India the moment I finished my call. I explained to him what IDA India does and he seemed very interested in our work.

As we talked further he confessed that he had a friend who just recently had a baby. This friend also had a 3 year old Labrador which he wanted to give up due to the new baby. This gentleman asked me if IDA could help find a new home for the dog. I was a little taken aback and my first instinct was to tell him that his friend was a moron who should know better than that. But then when I calmly thought about it I realized it was just a matter of either economics (the friend could not afford a dog and a baby) or simple lack of information (fear about the dog and the baby).

I advised this gentleman to convince his friend to try and keep the pet because the advantages are very beneficial for the baby as well as the family. Many of these have been well documented over the years.

  • Having a pet around gives the child a companion and also teaches him to share especially if it's a single child.
  • Pets are naturally playful and can keep the child entertained for hours thus giving the parents a break.
  • Research shows that children that have pets in the family grow up more well adjusted, less selfish and kinder human beings.
  • Surprisingly pets help the child in learning. As the child speaks to the pet continuously his verbal and communication skills improve.
  • Finally and most important, pets are pure positive love, they will give the child love and positive energy. They will never put them down, make a harsh remark, be judgmental or scold them for overturning their bowls. They know only how to love.

There however are some precautions parents must take when a new baby and a pet are in the home

  • NEVER EVER leave the baby and the pet alone by themselves
  • Do not let the pet too much access to the child especially when the baby is small. You can increase their time together as the baby grows up and becomes stronger.
  • Do not let the baby and the pet nap together. The pet can accidentally smother the baby in their sleep. The child's nap area must always be isolated from the pet.
  • Watch out for rough playful behavior from the pet especially if the baby tends to excite the pet. Always make sure the interactions are calm and peaceful.
  • Brush and groom the pet regularly so that there is not much fur flying around the house. If the pet is shedding keep it away from the child till the shedding stops.

Some basic precautions, good old common sense and love can make having a baby and pet in the same home a fun, exciting and positive experience.

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