What to do when new baby meets fur baby.
Like many expecting moms, Lindsey Rodbell Palangio has a lot on her mind. This summer she will launch Philanthropet, Inc., a Buckhead-based accessory company that will donate 100 percent of profits to local animal rescue organizations. But her biggest job will be bringing a new baby girl into the world. One of her main concerns is how will her dog, 9-year-old Gouda, warm up to a little bundle of joy? “I’m definitely nervous, but hoping for the best!” Lindsey says. Introducing a baby to a dog and living peacefully is a common worry in this stage of life. The following two Buckhead moms have been there and done that, and are full of great tips for Lindsey and other new moms.
From acting to cheering for the Atlanta Falcons, Margaret Moseley Ussery has many accomplishments, but she is most proud of her 4-monthold daughter, Everly Mae. Margaret was concerned about bringing her new baby home to her pups. “Our rescue-Chihuahua mixes, Kloe and Koqui, frighten easily and are uneasy around children,” Margaret says.
So she and her husband created a game plan for the big day. “Our labor and delivery coach told us we should introduce them by allowing them to do what dogs do when they get acquainted: to sniff and lick,” she says. First, the couple brought in a baby blanket and let the dogs sniff. Then, per their coach, they laid the baby on a blanket on the floor.
“Keep in mind, parents are present and within arm’s reach the entire time. If any teeth are shown, that dog must be immediately swooped up and rehomed. I was weeping the whole time—I blame those pesky pregnancy hormones—I was so worried the dogs would not do well. But, after much sniffing and tail wagging, the pups lost interest and just wanted a treat!”
Now all of Margaret’s babies are living together in harmony. She recalls, “One night, Everly woke up crying and Kloe burst into our room and woke me up by lifting my hand with her head. That’s when I was reminded that dogs love unconditionally.”
Amber Bloomston grew up on a farm with lots of animals, and now she lives in Buckhead with her two children, Strickland, 5, and Camille, 3—and one Chihuahua named Earl.
“For us, the challenges came during the toddler years. Chasing and tail grabbing seemed like a fun game to a toddler! Luckily, the dogs—back then, we had two dogs, but sadly, one has since passed away—were faster and would stay out of the way. I taught the kids to be very gentle with the dogs, and eventually the chasing turned into a game of Throw the Squeaky Toy that everyone enjoyed!” Amber explains.
Her advice for expecting moms is: “Get a sound machine for naptime. My dogs were barkers, and the sound machine helped to drown out the noise. Just remember, any extra work that you have to do is totally worth it; my kids and dog have the sweetest bond. I could not imagine raising kids without a pet by their side.”
Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital sheds some light on what to do before your new baby arrives.
~ Take your pet to the veterinarian for a routine health exam and any necessary vaccinations.
~ If you haven’t already, now is the time to spay or neuter your pet. A pet that has been fixed is calmer and less prone to health problems.
~ Work on any behavior or training issues now. Things like excessive barking or jumping on furniture become much more aggravating when you’re caring for a new baby.
~ Expose your pet to children as much as possible before your due date.
~ Get your pet used to the scents and sounds of babies. Sprinkle baby powder on yourself and play recordings of cooing and crying.
~ And don’t forget, a little extra love can go a long way!
STORY: Candice Rose
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