Behavior Department: Making Babies? First, Make Baby-Ready Pets
Shelters help prepare pet-loving expectant parents
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying it first: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
This particular “father” probably wasn’t thinking about pet owners prepping for the arrival of a newborn child, but he might as well have been.
To successfully bring a child into a house with pets, it’s crucial for expectant parents to plan ahead and help their pets adjust to new routines well before the baby gets there. Otherwise, the results can be less-than-ideal or even tragic: Parents, overwhelmed by their new responsibilities or fearing for their child’s safety, might surrender their pets—or worse yet, a pet might injure or even kill an infant.
It was just such a tragic incident in Rhode Island in 2005—in which a family dog killed a 5-day-old baby—that inspired Jane Deming, then the education director for the Providence Animal Rescue League, to start a program to help new parents keep the peace between their furry “kids” and the hairless one coming home from the hospital.