I recently had a request to write about what it is like having pets after baby (A.B.). I have three dogs, 2 cats, a fish and a 17-month old. Therefore, I feel fully equipped to write this post. I, like many other “fur mamas”, loved my “fur babies”. I took my dogs to the dog park weekly, fed them only the best foods (each having a different diet), monthly baths, and we practically lived at the vet’s office. Then the real baby came. It would be an understatement to say things changed.
Before baby (B.B.), my dogs and I would lie on the couch together cuddling for hours, we would go on long walks (most of the time taking them separately so they’d have my undivided attention), and we would play catch outside with the big tennis balls. These days I keep the couch cushions up so they don’t get on the furniture, there are no more walks, and the tennis balls are decaying in the back yard. My “fur babies” now eat one kind of food, I bathe them every other month, and we go to the vet when one of them has broken something. As for the cats, they live life exactly the same. They own the house, spilling their water all over the place and calling out for food like a dying animal at all hours of the night. The only thing that has changed is I want to physically harm them when they drag the water bowl from one end of the house to the other on the day I have mustered the energy to do the floors.
One redeeming quality about my “fur babies” is they get along great with real baby which was quite a relief. They have all become quick friends and also useful as vacuum cleaners at dinner time and friends during mommy time.
But I am supposed to be writing you to give you information from a therapist’s point of view to use in your every day life. So this is it, listen closely…do not, I REPEAT, do not get yourself a “fur baby” unless: you have a 5,000 square foot house or more with a fenced yard and a room dedicated to “fur babies”; you have at least $5,000 in an account that is labeled “fur baby” money to throw away when said “fur baby” eats a sock, hair tie, bread dough they can’t pass, or has torn its ACL, or needs a tooth pulled, or…. you get the idea; you are not planning to have real babies in the next 10-12 years; you have a house keeper or at least a dog walker.
Ok, this may seem harsh, but all those fellow “fur mamas” that are now baby mamas feel me.
Natalie Nesbitt, MS, LPC, loves working with couples! Helping them find the passion in their relationship; remove blocks that are keeping them from being their best; learning to have a marriage they have only dreamed. Providing personalized couples therapy and life counseling at her private psychotherapy practice in Paoli, Pennsylvania, conveniently located on the Main Line. She has helped countless couples save their marriages and/or relationships and come back from the deepest of betrayals.