A beautiful guest post that I fell in love with as a farm girl in the city, who is missing the unaffected companionship of animals…
Being a single working mother of a four year old and an eight year old is not an easy task, especially when they are two hyperactive boys. I’ve never expected my life to be the way it turned out to be, but the only option I had was to accept my situation and make the best of it. My boys are golden, but they can be a handful. I am still in awe of all the energy they have, given that they go to school, have their sports activities and play outside in our back yard a lot.
It is also a normal thing for two boys to compete, have fights and get a little destructive and cause some havoc. Since I am a school teacher, I have always tried to apply my educational approach, talk things over and have them learn how to cooperate. It was a long and exhausting endeavour with meagre results.
Then one day, my cousin, who is also a mom of two boys, noticing my struggle, suggested I got them a dog. At first I was surprised, wouldn’t that only add to my energy expense and make it even more difficult? She explained to me that I should teach the boys how to be responsible for another living being and that would change everything. So I talked to the boys, they were thrilled about the idea and we got a German Shepherd pup. And indeed, everything has changed.
I explained to them that this would be their dog, and that they would have to take care of him, feed him, take him out for walks, clean his doghouse, and make sure he is healthy. The very act of trusting them with such a big responsibility changed their behaviour – they were proud of themselves for being treated like trustworthy individuals and they started behaving like ones.
The fights lessened and became few and far between because they now had to be a team – they had a big dog to take care of and if they wanted to keep him around, they had to make a considerable team effort to stick to regular routines and they had to brainstorm together to solve unexpected problems. It was not always perfect but they tried their best. Once the dog caught flees and the older one immediately went online and found an effective solution: bravecto a chewable flea treatment, but it took a while for it to be delivered and we had to deal with fleas in the house which made me wish there was a bravecto for humans too, but we managed to get rid of them.
Having a dog also kept them healthy. They had a perfect outlet for all their energy having to walk and even run the dog for an hour a day, they played catch with him in the park and by the river, we went for long walks out in the woods at the weekends and our German Shepherd kept us all fit and moving. Caring for a pet is definitely a better way to spend time than in front of the computer and TV.
I have also noticed that the boys’ level of compassion, love and patience has significantly increased after getting our dog and that they have generally become friendlier, more cheerful and more satisfied with their lives.
I have never regretted getting that dog, it’s saved me from burning out and it’s added to the quality of our family life.
Emma is a teacher, constantly improving her skills both as a teacher and as a parent. She is passionate about writing and learning new things that can help you to lead a quality life. She is a regular contributor to High Style Life. You can follow her on Twitter @EmmahLawson