By KATHY WILSON
First I need to give you some backstory. Four months ago my divine, sweet, beautiful and extraordinarily lazy chocolate Labrador was hit by a car and killed almost instantly.
In our family’s grief I fell victim to the coping mechanism known as “late night internet searches on rescue puppy sites.”
The short version of the next part of the story is (… and trust me, I’m sparing you hours of tears and trauma here) we became the owners of a rescue puppy. One who had been one of a litter of eight – only 4 of whom had survived.
We had a hole in our hearts I reasoned. This puppy clearly needed a home. A good match I thought….
Except that this puppy was not a small rescue puppy. Oh no. That would have been too easy.
Our rescue puppy is a Rhodesian Ridgeback/boxer/mastiff cross. Her photo on the website showed her all floppy ears and scared eyes
My son and I went out to “check her out” one day and took one look at her wormy, malnourished body and knew we weren’t coming home alone.
I don’t know how much you know about dogs but it turns out that Ridgeback dogs are enormous. Boxers are delightful but energetic and the only story I’ve ever heard about a mastiff was one that could pop a fully inflated football in its jaws…
So she’s maybe going to be big. ( I know I know….seriously you can’t tell me anything I haven’t already told myself.)
Despite (or maybe because of) her early malnourishment, Ellie is doubling in size ever 3 weeks or so. The stunted puppy we brought home has turned into a healthy monster that eats everything going.
So….. I hear you wondering. Nice story but what has this all got to do with parenting???
With Ellie’s arrival, I was suddenly faced with the task of teaching self control and manners to an animal that may grow up to be larger than a small pony.
In panic, I spent hours researching how to train dogs and then implementing the different strategies. The happy news is that it is working (mostly) but it has recently dawned on me that it has also changed the way I parent.
Let me be clear. I don’t treat my dog like my kids or my kids like my dog but it turns out there are some amazing similarities between the two.
Here’s 5 things I have learned from the experience