Before Little Mr came along I had another baby, a fur baby, his name is Mikey and he’s a West Highland Terrier. We have had Mikey since he was just 6 weeks old and to look at him now, I can’t quite believe that he was small enough to sit in the palm of my hand.
When I was pregnant I was worried how he would react to a newborn in the house, after all he had been our priority for the last seven years and was used to getting all our attention. I was worried that he might get jealous and try and compete with BabyShilts for our attention and ultimately I was worried that my very docile Westie would become aggressive.
As we brought Little Mr home for the first time, Mikey was sitting on top of the sofa watching out the living room window as he often does. He watched us get out the car and bring in the car seat with a very tiny baby in it. As we put the car seat down on the floor, Mikey went up to the car seat and sniffed at it. We watched him intently to see what his reaction was and made a fuss of him to make sure he knew we still loved him.
Over the passing weeks, Mikey became quite protective of Little Mr. He would sit under his crib as if he was on guard and wasn’t fazed by Little Mr’s loud newborn cries for attention. On most occasions as Little Mr began rolling around the floor, Mikey would just move out of the way and find his own peaceful corner.
One morning as Little Mr was on his play mat, the postman pushed some post through the letterbox and it startled Mikey. He jumped off the sofa and ran towards the front door in the hallway, only narrowly missing trampling on Little Mr as I sat in his way. In that instance, I was scared enough to worry that no matter how much Mikey appeared to care for Little Mr, he was still a dog and his instincts were to protect his territory.
Dogs can injure and in the worst case, kill. Even the nice ones.
In recent weeks, there has been a number of tragic incidents where family pets have mauled small babies or children. Just yesterday, in the news there was a shocking story of a family pet dog (the breed of which wasn’t on listed on the Dangerous Dogs Act) who had mauled a six day old newborn baby to death. The full story has yet unknown but a newborn baby has lost its life. It’s terribly upsetting.
It might sound patronising but never ever leave your baby or small child alone with a dog. No matter how docile they are around you or your family, their behaviour can change in a split second and that is all it takes for the worst to happen. Let’s not forget dogs are animals and have animal instincts.
If I need to pop to the toilet or answer the front door, I always separate Little Mr and the dog. I’d never leave a baby alone in the same room as the dog. It’s not worth the risk. We have dog gates on our living room and kitchen doors to ensure we can keep them apart and when Little Mr was younger I made sure that the dog couldn’t jump onto the moses basket or into his rocking chair.
If you could see Little Mr and Mikey together today, they’re friends. Little Mr likes to pat Mikey’s back and Mikey loves the leftovers that come his way as he sits under the highchair at dinner time. I’m pretty sure that Mikey wouldn’t harm Little Mr but I’d never take the risk of finding out.