- Posted by Gilleen Witkowski
- On August 29, 2017
- 0 Comments
- balance, city living, dog ownership, dog-walking, dogs, downtown living, kids, lifestyle, moms, parenting, pet care, Toronto, Toronto dog walkers
In most cities in North America, dogs are family. People are moving more into cities and their pets are coming with them. And young people are bringing dogs into their lives before kids.
Young urban types tend to put a lot of careful thought into getting a dog. I spoke to two people who took the first step of a dog before kids.
“Typical to a lot of couples, shortly after we got married we decided to get a dog. It was a trial run in a sense,” says Sarah Burke, an executive in the Toronto supply chain industry. She and her husband moved to the Bathurst and King area from Chicago, and were happy to see that downtown Toronto is just as dog-friendly as their hometown.
Sarah’s dog Lucy, right, with her friends Darcy and Poppy
“It was our first introduction to what responsibility for another creature looks and feels like,” says Sarah of their decision to get a dog before having a baby. Indeed, between budgeting for food and toys, vet care, dog walking, and organizing the family’s schedule to include dog care, a new dog can definitely feel like a child.
Then, their daughter Sienna was on the way. “We were concerned because Lucy was always scared of little kids – she would run away from them. But she took to Sienna really well, curious at first. She acted kind of like an only child. If we picked up the baby she would then lie in the same spot – she struggled to get equal attention for a while,” Sarah laughs.
Lucy and Sienna
It was hard in the newborn stage, as taking care of the dog can feel like a chore, adds Sarah. But now, with the baby over a year old, things are returning to normal. “Weekends are similar to when we didn’t have Sienna – we would go to a park, Lucy would run. And now that Sienna can run, we let them both loose and wear them out. They’re like siblings now.”
I also spoke with Tamara Staranchuk, a communications professional with two kids and their older dog Ozzie. Her best advice is to learn to read your dog, and learn the signs of anxiety, which helps keep everyone safe.
Ozzie, a sweet, mild-mannered dog, was calm around the kids when they were newborns, but started to get uncomfortable with the energy level in the house as the kids got older. He has learned to leave when he feels like his space is getting squeezed.
Ozzie being a very good boy and getting a treat from his dog walker Justin
“When they started walking and crawling, it made Ozzie anxious because he didn’t know what to do,” says Tamara. She and her husband invested in a few training sessions, and now he knows to jump off the couch when he needs space, for example.
Tamara suggests letting go of any expectations of the kids or dog. When the kids get older, they will be able to better understand their dog’s need for space.
Every situation is different, but with some patience and outside help, your family can grow and create memories with your dog and children together.
Walk My Dog Toronto offers dog walking services and in-home pet care services in downtown Toronto. With easy online booking, we walk your dog while you are busy or at work. We give your dog love, socialization, and exercise, and we keep in touch with you every step of the way with our walk tracker.