Parenting Lessons from a Pet Owner’s Manual
It has been well documented on this site that my daughter loves dogs. She loves dogs so much, that one of her favourite books happens to be a pet owner’s manual. We often read Pugs: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual before bed time. And by read, I mean we flip through the pages and look at pictures of pugs.
During the numerous “readings” of this book, I actually read a page or two. Surprisingly raising a pug dog is not so different from raising a toddler.
Below are a few priceless gems of parenting advice from Pugs: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual. These are actual quotes from the manual, though in some instances I have changed the word “pug” to “baby” or “toddler”.
Most “babies” adjust swimmingly. They enter their new homes with wiggly excitement and great curiosity. Do not be surprised or insulted if your newcomer looks apprehensive. Keep the welcoming party to a minimum, and reassure your new friend by stroking and speaking to her gently.
Baby gates, the sturdy, hinged, swing-open kind, are essential for those rare times when you want to confine your grown, housebroken “baby” to a room in which you are not present.
“Babies” are best left in their crates when you cannot be with them.
“Potty”-training a “baby” is simple. It consists of knowing that your “baby” has to relieve herself before she knows it.
If your “baby” is not “potty”-trained, you will have to take her out-of-doors several times a day to the spot where you want her to eliminate.
Some people bathe their “babies” in the kitchen sink. We find it more comfortable to bathe ours, once they are full-grown, in the bathtub.
If the water feels uncomfortably warm to you, chances are it will to your “baby”. Adjust accordingly until the water is comfortably lukewarm.
Because baths are stimulating for “babies”, take them outside for quick run after toweling them dry.
“Baby” food and treats
“Baby” food is not hard to find. Supermarkets, convenience stores, pet shops, feed-and-seed emporiums, discount-buying clubs, and veterinarians will gladly sell you all you need.
There is no more jolly and attentive audience than “toddlers” contemplating a treat. Their nostrils flare, their bodies quiver from head to tail, their breath comes in fiery snorts, and their eyes threaten to pop out of their precious little heads.
If you want to send a “baby” into terminal euphoria, bring home a sweaty, smoked-and-processed pig’s ear.
“Toddlers” like being outdoors and if at all possible, should be provided with a securely fenced yard in which they can race about when the spirit moves them.
Life with a “baby”
If you have never experienced the continuing joy of watching a “baby” come to terms with the world, and trying to bend the world to its terms, your life is poorer for want of that experience.
“Babies” are all wide soulful eyes, flapping, velvety ears, and panting enthusiasm. They are fetchingly soft, unerringly cute, endearingly klutzy, unfailingly energetic, and damnably stubborn on occasion.
As every parent knows, parenting advice can come from anywhere. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go potty-train my pug and put my daughter outside to do her business.