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  • Niamh

Dogs and Babies Are The Best

It had to happen eventually… today the little dude managed to mosey on over to the dogs bowl and proceeded to put his hands in it, bang it around the place and then eat the sides of it. I’m not appalled, or even surprised. I’m just glad there wasn’t any of the dog’s food in it at the time. Now I know some parents reading that would almost lose their lunch at the thoughts of all the germs.

But me? Well, after the baby had mauled the dogs bowl I just laughed and gingerly tried to pry it out of his hands without inducing another meltdown. You see, for me, a family means having a family pet and my 9 month old baby boy and our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lily are developing the sort of deep bond and enduring friendship that would make even the stoniest faced grown man reach for the tissues. They do everything together and the big belly laughs my 9 month old makes at the dogs antics are the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. But then, I’m a dog person but as it turns out not everyone thinks the same way as me. In fact, I can remember when we had some kids over to our house at Christmas time to see the baby, after they’d petted the dog, their parents brought them to wash their hands pronto.

I read somewhere that having a dog in the family can lower your children’s chances of developing allergies and even obesity. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, given that we’re forever being told the health benefits of one thing this week, only to have it retracted the next. But regardless of any scientific studies, at this point, the dog has already licked his hands and his face. In fact, she generally poises herself at the side of the high chair and leans up on her back legs and licks the baby’s hands after he’s shoved them into his food. It’s a little game they play now. He mushes the food up and leans his hands down and she dutifully licks them. I’m not saying it’s not ideal, but I don’t freak out about it either. I try my best to clean his hands with a wet wipe before he proceeds to put the licked hand back in his bowl for round two, but I’m not always quick enough. So far it’s down him zero harm.

The two of them also play on the floor practically every day. She runs over and licks the side of his face or his ears, which he thinks is the funniest thing he’s ever seen or felt. Again, it doesn’t seem to have done him a jot of harm so far. She’s a small dog and she’s not even 2 yet, and this baby has come into her home, where for a full year she was in effect the baby, yet, she’s accepted him as one of the family and it just amazes me how incredible dogs are. I'm often reminded of a song, I can't remember the name of it but there's a line that talks about the best things in life and it says -

'Old dogs, children and watermelon wine.'

I'd happily swap the watermelon wine for a cold glass of chardonnay (I know I am so 90s!), but the other two are definitely up there with the best things in the world in my book.

But then, I’ve always been a dog lover. Like my little dude, I grew up in a house with dogs. I can remember lying on the floor at maybe 4 or 5 with our black lab cross Pepi and playing with her paws. She seemed huge to me at the time, but I loved her. I probably hung out of her ears, poked her on the eye and tried riding on top of her as if she was my horse and she didn’t bat an eyelid. But that’s dogs for you. They are for the most part, just Zen when it comes to kids. It’s as if they seem to know that kids are kids and at a young age they just don’t have any control over their limbs. They’re not grabbing their ears to hurt them, they are doing it in the same way they’d grab your glasses, your hair or your necklace.

I love the friendship my son and Lily have and I can see the pair of them getting into all sorts of heart-scalding mischief as they literally grow up together. For example, in Lily’s first year of life, this is just a small breakdown of her trial of destruction… I think I better seriously consider locking anything of value away now that they two of them are on the cusp of teaming up into the world’s boldest duo!

She chewed through cable on my laptop and ate it.

She chewed the strap of my Alexander McQueen handbag in half.

She chewed the arm off my Gok Wan glasses.

She chewed the straps off the hubbies crocs.

She’s destroyed the corners of the mat in the living room – it is now fit for the bin.

We got new shutters in the house and on day one, she chewed them.

She’s eaten and swallowed the labels off literally every piece of clothing I own.

She chewed the earbuds on my iPhone.

She’s eaten and swallowed a full ribbon off a box of chocolates

She’s eaten my sketchers.

She’s chewed the couch, the kitchen table legs and even her own bed!

Oh, yes I am in for some fun times ahead!

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