Guest Blogger Emily Cappo is a writer and blogger at Oh Boy Mom. She is a mom to three boys and one girl dog named Matilda, a sweet and cuddly Labradoodle. Matilda and Emily are also a certified pet therapy team.
Matilda is the 6-year-old furry member of our family who makes us laugh constantly. She is the goofiest one in our household, even though she probably isn’t aware she is being funny.
Every time we take her for a walk, she only wants to walk a certain route. If I try to take a left turn when she wants to go right, she will stubbornly hold her ground and look at me as if I’m crazy to want to go a different way.
Matilda can also sing. Whenever one of my kids plays the piano, Matilda starts with some quick barks, slowly transforming into a prolonged howl. We all crack up. I’m not sure if Matilda’s singing is unique—I’ve seen a video of a dog who sings and plays the piano with his clumsy paws. However, our family considers her to be a gifted pup.
Another one of Matilda’s talents is that she can jump high. She never jumps on people, but if she’s running through our yard, she’ll jump over bushes like she’s running hurdles on a track. We laugh out loud and say she’s got “good vertical,” something my basketball-playing boys strive to achieve on the court.
Matilda seems to bring out the goofiness in all of us. My husband and I pretend to compete to find out who Matilda likes better. I say it’s me, because Matilda follows me everywhere. My husband claims she loves him more, because Matilda literally hugs him. She wraps her long legs around my husband’s waist (or neck, if he’s sitting) and stays that way while he scratches her ears. My brother and I had a similar contest with our Bichon Frise, Barley, when we were kids. We’d put Barley in between us and then we’d tell him to stay, while backing away from him. When we were equidistant apart, we’d both call Barley at the same time and whomever he ran to was the one we claimed he liked best. Although we haven’t subjected Matilda to the same contest, we joke about who she loves more.
Of course, we know that Matilda loves us all equally and we are fortunate to have such a fun and loving pet in our family.
Guest blogger Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for more than 10 years. Danielle also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’s Babble.com. Find her on her blog, Some Puppy To Love, Twitter, or Facebook.
We are a multi-pet family. We have two dogs, three cats, two turtles, a frog and some goldfish. Like our human children, our furry children sometimes have trouble getting along. I have to admit that it is easiest to soothe arguments between my human children because we can talk things through. However, when my geriatric cat, Lily, struts across the living room, a place that my three-year-old Labrador claimed as her private territory, there is no time to talk before Django springs up and runs after the little old lady. Sometimes, I see the potential conflict before it happens and say, “Django, be good.” This nearly never works. Of course, my husband just has to say, “Hey,” and she will stop in her tracks.
In all other ways, Django is the sweetest and most loving dog I have ever had—she just will not relent in her pursuit of our cats. She doesn’t bite them or act in a vicious way, but simply runs after them. Hayley, our aging Chihuahua, used to do the same. In fact, it was she who indoctrinated Django at just eight-weeks-old to treat the cats as nothing more than an eternal game of tag partners. But now as Hayley has slowed down, she doesn’t run after the cats anymore. Perhaps she believes she has taught Django well and doesn’t have to do more than supervise.
The only time my cats and dogs truly get along is when I am preparing their meals. They smell the engaging aroma, and soon enough, everyone inches toward the kitchen while meowing, sniffing and begging at my feet. At dinnertime, there is no dog versus cat game, no frenzied runs across the dining room, no feline swats and no canine growls. Ours is a happy family at mealtime—until last licks take place, and then it’s game-on!
Guest blog by Emily Schneider, a proud mom of two feisty yorkies and a two-year-old living in the Garden State. Emily works in media and public relations for the ASPCA. Find her onTwitter orFacebook.
I’ve heard one too many stories of pet parents saying, “My dog is really friendly; he loves kids,” followed by utter shock and disbelief when their dog nips or bites a child. They wonder, “How could this happen? My dog has never bitten a child before.” In that situation, it’s natural to feel mortified, and all you can do is apologize profusely and scold your dog for behaving poorly.
That was me a few years ago, when my dog had a negative interaction with a child who was fortunately left unharmed, though maybe slightly traumatized and wary of dogs. When I had my son Jaden, I wasn’t confident since we had several close calls when our dog Mikey acted up around kids. My husband was also worried and wondered whether having a dog like Mikey was a good fit for our family. Gulp.
Did you know that 50 percent of children in the U.S. will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday, and that the majority of dog bites are from a dog the child knows? In conjunction with National Dog Bite Prevention Week May 18-24, here are some tips I’ve implemented so my son and dogs can live in harmony:
Keep dog and kid toys separate. It’s easy for your dog to confuse his toy with a child’s toy because they look similar. Separate the two to avoid problems—I keep my son’s toys in his room, and bring out a few toys for the dogs to play with in the living room.
Always supervise playtime. Even if your pets are good with kids, it’s important to keep an eye on your child and pet because accidents happen when you least expect it.
Time flies when you’re changing diapers, cleaning dirty bibs and washing a million pieces of a bottle—all on virtually no sleep. My son is a toddler now, and he’s feeling very independent—now that he can run, drive his toy car, and say, “my toy!” And while my husband and I consulted animal behavior experts to address Mikey’s issues, it’s important as parents—especially if you have both—to be extra mindful when your child is interacting with your pets or other dogs.
Earlier this year, we shared some exciting news: the ASPCA has teamed up with Lil BUB to help special-needs cats around the country with Lil BUB’s BIG Fund for the ASPCA. The Humane Society of Western Montana was one recipient of the Lil BUB grant, and has already put the funds to good use. Director Lora O’Connor shared the following story with us:
Jane, also known as “Mama Jetson,” and her two three-week-old kittens, Judy and Elroy, arrived at the Humane Society of Western Montana just before closing the Saturday before Mother’s Day.
Mama Jetson had been found living in a shed with her kittens, and a Good Samaritan decided to bring her in after noticing that her breathing was labored—so much so that she sometimes resorted to open-mouth breathing. On Monday morning, Mama Jetson underwent X-rays and it was discovered that she had a diaphragmatic hernia, causing her intestines to move and become visible in her thorax (chest cavity).
The vet suspected the injury was due to blunt force trauma. Mama Jetson’s severe pain was causing her difficulty breathing, and was surely making nursing her little babies very uncomfortable. Thanks to the support the Humane Society of Western Montana received from ASPCA’s Lil BUB’s BIG Fund, we were able to get Mama Jetson into surgery Tuesday morning. The grant also gives us the ability to provide formula and other supplies to a wonderful foster home for Mama, Judy and Elroy following the surgery. Despite Mama Jetson’s pain, we are so thankful to the ASPCA for giving her the ability to stay with her babies so close to Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day is just a few days away, and here at the ASPCA, we plan to celebrate moms of all types of kids, furry and otherwise. We appreciate those moms who spend countless hours packing school lunches, coordinating the carpool, helping out with math homework and still find the time to take Fido for a brisk neighborhood stroll every evening.
If you’re still looking for the perfect way to salute the moms in your life this Sunday, May 11, look no further: Please consider making a Mother’s Day Honor Gift to the ASPCA. This Honor Gift is a meaningful way to celebrate moms who love animals. Your donation comes with the customizable e-card pictured above for your recipient, and the e-card is sent immediately after your donation is processed.
We’d like to thank all of the moms who make a difference for animals each and every day. Happy Mother’s Day from the ASPCA!