Sunday, March 23, 2008

DCMM: Secondary Uses For Pets

Anyone with a dog knows that they are wonderful creatures, full of love and devotion.

Anyone with a dog and a kid knows that dogs are wonderful creatures, full of the ability to pick up stray Cheerios from under high chairs and lick tiny hands clean of food.

As a person parent and a pet parent I have found numerous ways that our little furry, feathered, or scaled friends can live symbiotic lives with us. Here are some ways I use my two cats and a dog to further enrich my life:

I use my dog as a doorbell. If I'm waiting for someone to come over, I don't bother looking out the window. I don't strain my ears waiting to hear someone knock, and I surely don't worry if I'm in a part of my house from which I can't hear my doorbell. I just put my dog outside and listen for the quality of her barking. Short bursts of barking means that someone is walking by my house. Sustained, furious barking means that my playdate has arrived!

And after the playdate leaves, I just send the dog down to the basement to do cracker cleanup. Not only is she more prompt at cleaning up crumbs, she is also more thorough, what with her motivation to lick in tiny crevices and what not.

Both my dog and my cats remind me that I should mop my kitchen floor on a regular basis. They do this by leaving gentle "reminders" in the form of muddy paw prints and cat barf.

My cats teach my children about gentle touch and how you're likely to suffocate an animal if you lie on top of her for too long. They learn this lesson in short bursts of, "Get off the cat right now!!" and, "When she makes that noise it means she wants you to let go of her."

My pets teach my children responsibility. They learn that the dog needs to go out and then come back in. They've learned this because my husband and I are extremely lazy and will frequently tell one of our children, "Hey, go let the dog in."

My kids also learn delegating from this as well. My oldest has been known to pass the buck down the chain of command to my middle child, who will then trudge off to let the dog in.

Of course, we all know that the best way that pets enrich our lives is by being our companions and by granting us their unconditional love and attention. Although every once in a while I ruminate on how strange it is that we have decided to share our home with fuzzy creatures of another species, it only takes a good petting session to remind me that it was a good decision.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Visit Jean and her pets at Stimeyland.

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