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March 28, 2011



It's our responsibility to provide a good quality of life for our pets. They depend on us for basic needs, and they need some intellectual stimulation. You don't have to spend much time at it. Do you have time for at least a 20-minute walk and/or 10 minutes of ball throwing every day? Kids can do these things, too. Let them be where the family is. Provide chew toys. Pet them when you leave, greet them enthusiastically when you get home. Interact with them while feeding (provide high quality food) and brushing teeth (only takes 1 minute!) At night, you can look back on a day when you've done right by your pets and you'll feel good!


I'm a new mom or should I say a new mom to a human. My son is going to three months in a week and it has been hard to balance giving my cat, Stella and my son the attention they need. I find though that if I give a little affection to Stella through out the day she is happy. I'll come to the house on my lunch break and as I eat lunch and watch the end of the movie I missed last night because I was just too exhausted to finish it I can pet Stella and give her the attention she needs. I also get up early in the mornings so we always have about 10-15 minutes of me and cat time she seems to be enjoying it. I also make sure to let my son interact with Stella since she is not use to kids. He giggles now when her tail is tickled in his face. It seems to be making her happy and that's all I can ask for.

Dena Stapleton

I have 4 dogs, 2 cats and 2 children, plus a great husband. OK, I would always tend to the family and make sure they were all taken care of but here and there I would pat each dog on the head to show some attention throughout the day during activities. Then each night after the kids were down for the night I would spend about 5 minutes with each dog to show they one-on-one attention. I would pet the one that loved that rub the belly of the one that loved that, play tug-o-war with the one that preferred that and snuggle up on the couch with the little one that preferred that. This way each one gets attention and the kids are taken care of. Sometimes while my husband was providing bath time I would pull out some treats for the dogs and give them some to give them and extra time with me.

Marjorie Toohey

Pet Guilt-
I try to make special time for the dogs and cats. Had dad watch the baby and I will take the dogs on a walk or brush them so that they get their own special time. They aren't getting as much attention as they used to but it gives them time away from baby. Dad will play catch or play with them while I am with baby.

The dogs are also fine with the stroller so when it is warm enough baby and I take the dogs on a walk around the neighborhood.

Christina K.

I am a mother to 3 children who are all under the age of seven. I am also a mother to a cat, an adult dog and a puppy. As you can probably tell, our house is crazy all the time. As the weather has been getting warmer, we've started going on a "family walk" to the park each night. We put shoes on the kids and leashes on the dogs and we make the 15 minute walk to the park. While the kids play on the playground, the dogs enjoy watching them and resting from the walk. After the kids play for about a half hour, we all walk home. It's a fantastic activity that covers so many family needs. The dogs get attention, the kids get attention since the walk give us 30 minutes to talk about our day. My husband and I get to spend time together talking while the kids play on the playground and everyone gets great exercise!

Sherry K. Bailey

My guilt with my little dog Zoey is when I am sick I do not take her outside when I should. Also when I get home from work every day Zoey insists on doing the happy dance and jumps up on me. When she jumps up on me I scold her. I guess I just need to get down at her level.


We usually manage our task with our dog very well but at times when our schedules get very hectic we have to also change his schedule. This has caused some issues in the past because he is already use to his routine BUT most times we can not prevent these things to happen.....so he everyone experiences a challenging week when this happens.


As a woman of a 'certain age', guilt is something I have learned to face and examine. As with guilt raising children; regrets, wishing you could go back and do things differently, it is the same with my 'animal children'. I have been an animal lover all of my life. However, the older that I become, the love becomes wiser and easier to give. Just as with all the advice and theories on raising children the correct way, so it is with pets.

However, I think the biggest issue I have to deal with now is my beloved Murray. He is a part Chow, part Retriever mix. He has been the sweetest dog that has graced us with his presence. At fourteen though, he can now barely walk despite the pain medication. The guilt I live with is do I 'put him down' or do I live it out with him? So far, I have obviously been living it out with him and caring for him as if he were my own aged father. He still smiles and he still loves his food.

I value my little friends that I have and have had. They have been more faithful to me than any human. I wish I had more wisdom to share, but I think the main piece of advice I will give is to love them, NEVER hit them, and always use a soft voice tone.


Hi Animal lovers,
My husband and I struggled for months, while I was pregnant, planning and strategizing how to prevent our English Bulldog from feeling left out once the baby arrived, because up until that time he was just that...our Baby!
The plan was that whenever I was holding the baby, my husband would be holding the dog, maybe not literally, but playing with him, petting him, loving on him! As it turned out that means my husband would spend time with the dog while I spent time with the baby (since in the beginning it was mommy she needed) and the result of that is that my husband is not the dog's favorite parent. I am a little jealous now (since I used to be his favorite, he was such a mama's boy) but the truth is, as long as he is happy and feels loved I am ok with it.
I guess the bottom line, one of you plays with the dog while the other takes care of the baby...gets more complicated when there are multiple children, or animals.
Good Luck!


I found a place for my dog to go during the day so she can romp and play with other dogs. She is very social and high energy, so it worked out great! It is a little pricey for this "doggie day care", but worth it for our sweet girl.


I've found it helpful to work affection and play time for the pets (especially the dogs) into play time with my daughter. As soon as she was crawling, she was headed for them, and teaching her to be gentle became a great opportunity to shape her interest in them and to give them the attention they needed. I also find that after putting her to bed, a little quiet time sitting on the floor petting the dogs is a nice way for us all to unwind (better than watching tv!).

I also think it's important to learn more about how to provide what really creates a healthy, happy life for our pets. Just as I intend to keep thinking and learning about how to be the most effective parent I can, I want to keep learning about how to take good care of my pets. Rather than being motivated by guilt or defensiveness, if we keep thinking of ways to be proactive and keep learning about what makes THEM happy and healthy (which isn't necessarily the same as what makes US happy), life is a lot easier for us all. For example, someone mentioned greeting dogs enthusiastically after we return home, but I read once how that can create a stressful kind of excitement in dogs and reinforce the idea that it was "bad" and you weren't safe while you were away from home. I've found that learning how to provide a calm, stable environment in which my dogs can still have engaging, loving play time, exercise, nutrition, discipline, and affection makes a healthier, happier home for the whole family.


We try to do a family walk around the neighborhood with our dogs when the weathers nice. I'm also trying to brush them any day the weathers nicenenough for us to all go outside and let mysonplay inthedirt while I brush/pet the dogs. And we try to give the cat a few pettins throughout the day when we see her. Seems to help make up for not being able to give them any more.


I have two boys ages 2 and 4 and two German shepherds. I make time for everyone by going on a walk all together in the mornings. If we have to buy dog food, our dogs go with us. Every morning when I get up I make sure that I feed the dogs and refill their water bowl. Having a schedule really helps when it comes to feeding/walking, that way no one feels neglected. In the evenings we all go outside and play fetch. I try to give everyone as much attention as possible. Even if its just for 5 minutes.

Nicole, dachshund lover

My son has the habit of sleeping next to our dog. He would cry if the dog is not on his side. They're cute together but it seems like my son got so attached to the dog.

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