Photo by Katrina Roe

Photo by Katrina Roe

Last week I had one of those days where I was feeling really positive.  It was a Thursday and I usually make an effort to do something nice on Thursdays because it’s the day I look after my niece.  We’d been to a park in the morning, then we all did a bushwalk together and I was feeling pretty proud of myself.  I was ‘Mumma Fun’ that day.  So in the afternoon, I decided to continue the outdoor theme with a bit of backyard camping.  Now I have to confess, we’re the sort of family that only camps about once every three years so the concept of me actually pitching a tent by myself (with 2 two year olds ‘helping’) was probably a bit ambitious, but I decided to give it a go.

To my surprise, I pitched the tent successfully and the girls thought it was great fun.  They were really excited by the whole concept.  But so was our Siberian Husky, Henri who naturally wanted to join in.  Before I could stop him, he walked into the tent and sat down.  For a moment, I panicked slightly.  I thought three people and an oversized Husky all packed into a three-man tent might be asking for trouble, but the girls were having fun so I started to relax a bit.  Then Henri stood up to rearrange himself, and right under his bottom was… you guessed it, doggy doo.  Inside the tent.  So I kicked him out, but not before my niece walked through the dog poo and spread it all over the tent floor.  I actually thought I might cry.  But I pulled myself together and spent the next half an hour cleaning it up with the remains of the weekend paper.  Then just as I was finishing, Birdy tearfully announced that Henri had just licked both their milk cups.  By this time, I was seriously thinking of selling my dog off on ebay.  In fact, if anyone’s interested, they might just talk to me into it.

I’ve always been one of those people who think that it’s great for kids to grow up surrounded by animals, but by the end of the day I was starting to wonder if the kid/dog combination was such a winning concept after all.  When Birdy was a baby, there were times when Henri was the only thing that would calm her down.  But there were also times when he howled in her face and scared the life out of her.  I still think a dog can be a lot of fun, as long as you can cope when they knock your toddler down the stairs or wee all over the sandpit.  But if you think cleaning up your child’s poo takes moral courage, you should try wiping up after a dog!  Eewwkk!

Do you have a dog, cat or some other kind of pet?  Do you have any disaster stories to share?  Have your pets come down in the pecking order since you had a baby or do you still have as much time and affection for your pets as you did before? Did your dog or cat experience any jealousy or anxiety when your family expanded?

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