A 2-day old infant was killed in Pennsylvania after being bitten by the family's 80-pound husky. Doesn't that just absolutely make your heart sink? And if being attacked by the dog wasn't bad enough -- it happened after the baby's mother left him alone so that she could go to the bathroom.
She heard the poor little boy crying while she was in there, and then came out to see blood on her dog's muzzle. Can you imagine a more horrific sight than that? It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it.
And although this was a tragic accident and the mother did not intentionally put the baby in harm's way, it should still serve as an important reminder that babies should not be left alone with dogs -- even if the pet normally seems good natured.
A few months after I had my son, family friends of ours asked if I would mind dog-sitting for them while they went on vacation. I had watched their adorable little Shih-Tzu a number of times before, so I happily agreed. But then I started thinking about the fact that I had a new baby in the house -- and I suddenly became nervous about having the dog around. Don't get me wrong, he was a totally sweet, tiny 8-pound ball of fur that I'd always loved taking care of -- but he'd never been around babies before. And I decided I wasn't willing to take the risk of something going wrong, so I called our friends back and told them I'd changed my mind about watching him.
I consider myself to be an animal lover, but dogs being left alone with babies just makes me incredibly nervous. Regardless of how gentle they might seem, it's important to remember that dogs are in fact, animals, and they can sometimes react to new things in a manner that is totally out of character for them.
I'm not saying that people should get rid of their pets when their babies arrive, but it's very important to gradually introduce a pet to a new member of the family instead of assuming that it will automatically accept the baby into the house without flinching. On top of that, a dog is not a babysitter, and it should never be left alone with an infant, period. Erring on the side of caution with animals is the only way to prevent tragedies like what happened to that poor baby boy from occurring again and breaking the hearts of another family.
What steps did you take to introduce your pet to your new baby?
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