Before Olly came along I had another baby, a fur baby, his name was Mikey and was a West Highland Terrier. We had Mikey since he was just 6 weeks old and to think back, 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 the baby for our attention and ultimately I was worried that my very docile Westie would become aggressive.
As we brought Olly 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 Olly. He would sit under his crib as if he was on guard and wasn’t fazed by Olly’s loud newborn cries for attention. On most occasions as Olly began rolling around the floor, Mikey would just move out of the way and find his own peaceful corner.
One morning as Olly 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 Olly 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 Olly, 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.
West Highland Terriers are lovely breeds as are Cocker Spaniels and Bichon Frise, although need a lot of nurturing unlike the Goldendoodle.
If I need to pop to the toilet or answer the front door, I always separate Olly 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 Olly was younger I made sure that the dog couldn’t jump onto the moses basket or into his rocking chair.
If you could see Olly and Mikey together today, they’re friends. Olly 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 him but I’d never take the risk of finding out.