I often see conversations occurring when women are pregnant about whether they’re keeping their pets, especially dogs.
Many feel that if you have a baby it is completely inappropriate to have a dog in the same house, especially one that might come into contact with the baby. Dogs are dirty, they bring dirt into the house, roll in muck then rub against furniture, get fleas, lick themselves then lick the baby and lick the babies things, etc, and therefore should never be allowed to be near a baby. Many feel that once you’re expecting a baby that child should be the priority and no matter how much you’re attached to your dog, no animal should be worth more than your child’s health and well being.
I’m not in that camp. I work on the principle that exposing your child to a moderate level of bacteria and germs strengthens the immune system. Keeping animals away from your child because of the germs means that when they are exposed to animals at some point in their lives they’re going to be unable to cope with it both in an immunity to allergens way but also in an emotional way; allowing animals to come into contact with your child will help prevent them being frightened of animals, as well as teaching them about how to treat them. Plus my little dog Lucy has been with me since I was 17 and there is no way I am going to turn her out because my baby has come along. She’s family. No, she’s not more important than Rose and if I had to choose then obviously she would lose, but I don’t have to choose and her life and her happiness matter.
That said, I would never leave my dog alone with Miss Rose, I love her, she is gentle and well trained, but she’s still a dog and I wouldn’t want to take any risks. I strongly believe that there is a happy medium. I wouldn’t throw my baby into a pile of dog poo, but I will let dogs sniff her and touch her. From day one I’ve introduced her to my dog, my friend’s dogs and cats, and she’s been sniffed and licked repeatedly.
Keeping your child away from germs, be they animal or general, is great in principle but study after study has shown that you’re more likely to develop allergies and asthma if you’re not exposed to allergens in your early years. Your immune system is not strengthened so when you are exposed which will ultimately happen unless you spend your entire life in a bubble, you cannot cope and your body shuts down. My mother always said you have to eat a peck of dirt before you die, and whilst I have no idea what a peck is, I’m going to say I agree with her, and I think my little dog is very pleased about that.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!