Choosing Pets Over Babies

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I was Googling the following phrases the other night: “babies over animals,” “babies over pets,” and “pets and babies.” And none of these phrases really brought up the results I was looking for. What I found in cursory searches were ridiculously cute pictures of babies and pets, articles about young women choosing dogs over babies, dating posts about choosing between a dog and a man, Buzzfeed’s grand list of  “Why Kids and Animals Should Never Mix” and a “Baby puke all over dog” video (will not link to that!). Nope, not what I was looking for.

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What I am looking for is help, help with managing a household full of “kids” I love, but ones who can’t help but pee and poop on my day, every day. That is my world right now. Have you had a day/month like that, parents/pet owners? Has it ever gotten so bad that you’ve had to give up your pet in order to have a better life with your child? Here’s the lowdown: We have a toddler who we’re raising with a bunch of animals (8-month-old dog, 3-year-old cat and 4-year-old parakeet) — and it is starting to feel like too much. When my daughter isn’t creating a nasty mess somewhere in the house, one of our pets is. It’s like they had a secret meeting when we weren’t looking and decided to launch a weeklong campaign against using their respective bathrooms to drive my husband and me crazy. Most definitely, the cat, Cricket, who we adopted off the mean streets of North Hollywood (not the trendy part), is behind this. But I’ve done this before, before having a baby — with another set of animals who lived with us in serious bliss for a decade. Actually, our first dog, Pogi, came to us when my nephew was around 1 or so and Pogi was 2, and my parents and sister (she was staying with them at the time) decided it was too much to care for both, so he moved in with us. Birdie, the parakeet, we also adopted from my parents when they started traveling too much. The cat, Sammy, we actually adopted from a rescue because two animals just weren’t enough for me (we also had a couple of tanks of fish, finches and even ducks, too, with us somewhere in that span of 10 years). I am through and through an animal lover, which is also why I chose pets over having a baby for a very long time. Sadly, my loveable trio passed away one after another leading up to my daughter’s birth. It’s as if they knew I needed time to focus on just me . . . and then her. Now I need to be able to figure out a way to care for a kid and animals and myself all at once. Is it possible? It’s been really tough these last weeks. But I’m going to do my best with my kids, furry or otherwise. I haven’t given up an animal yet. Okay, one kitten in college that went to a better home, trust me. Obedience school for the dog, quality time with the cat, free fly days with the parakeet (while the other animals are behind locked doors) and my daughter being involved in all of these are what my plans are now. But I’d welcome your advice, too. Wish me luck! How do I raise my animals with a kid? How do I raise a kid with animals? See more animal-related posts here! animaltalkmeow

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