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Old 08-09-2005, 05:04 AM   #16
Sanveann
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

Oh, Christy, I am so sorry -- that is terrible!

I have a friend on another board (Meg, the creator of the notorious www.peeonastick.com, LOL!) who once paid $60 to have her suffering hamster put to sleep. I thought that was so sweet!
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Old 08-11-2005, 01:40 AM   #17
Julia R
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

I had pets all my life as a child- cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, chickens, etc... As an adult though I have lived in apts where we couldn't have any, until now. We just got a kitten about a week ago. After watching my parents cats with my kids and their attitudes (they aren't used to having kids around and are like intolerant old fart mean cats), I decided that we'd rather get a kitten with the hopes that the cat and the kids will grow together, and accept one another. I am also a firm believer that once you get a pet they become a part of your family. I don't want to take in a pet that we won't be able to handle and keep passing it from one family to another. DH wanted to get a dog rather than a cat. But I also believe (OK not everyone will agree with me) that certain breeds are more dependable around kids than others. I would want a Golden Retriever because I love their disposition, but DH wants breeds that I am not ok with having around my young children. Plus, I don't have time and energy to keep up with a puppy right now. So given the needs of the cat vs. the needs of a dog, we went for the cat. You would think we got the cat just for DH He comes home from work and asks where is his cat? It's so sweet to watch the 15 month old baby just sit and watch the kitty in its bed. We are having to watch carefully with both the baby and the 3 yo, to make sure that they are gentle enough. The cat has been squeezed a little more than he'd like and petted a little hard, but overall the girls are doing great with trying their best and learning how to handle him, and the kitty is doing great with putting up with the kids. The kids are always supervised also. Just like having another human member of the family, everyone has to make adjustments. Getting a pet can be a huge change and often people don't know what they're getting into. And having kids and pets together sort of increases the responsibility exponentially. You have to take a lot of care that the pet is good with the kids and that the kids are good with the pets. You have to give the same consideration with other pets already in the family. I think kids and pets can be a great combination. I don't personally think waiting until children are school aged is a great limitation for every family. If children grow from babies around animals, accepting them, respecting them, and always tought how to handle them, I think it just comes natural as they get older. I think it's better to decide if the parents are ready and prepared to make sure that everyone is tought to get along and to be there to physically see it through. Also, it is possible for a child to be the one who always does the caretaking of the pet, while the parent oversees and makes sure it is done correctly.
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Old 08-11-2005, 05:12 AM   #18
Joanne
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

Quote:
I don't personally think waiting until children are school aged is a great limitation for every family. If children grow from babies around animals, accepting them, respecting them, and always tought how to handle them, I think it just comes natural as they get older. I think it's better to decide if the parents are ready and prepared to make sure that everyone is tought to get along and to be there to physically see it through.
I hear what you are saying. I don't think that every family should wait. However, my experience is that some children (when they are young) can not employ the necessary self control around pets that make it fair to include an animal in the family. It's inaccurate that "being around pets", even in the company of responsible adults, is going to create a suitable atmosphere for a family.

With some (a significant percentage) kids, having pets when the child is very young is like a constant birthday party - for someone else. It's all noise, activity, excitement, and lots of complicated social rules. They get so wound up and they act out. Some kids, around pets, stay at that level of intensity and can't control themselves, even with consistent coaching.

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Old 08-11-2005, 08:06 PM   #19
Julia R
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

Quote:
With some (a significant percentage) kids, having pets when the child is very young is like a constant birthday party - for someone else. It's all noise, activity, excitement, and lots of complicated social rules. They get so wound up and they act out. Some kids, around pets, stay at that level of intensity and can't control themselves, even with consistent coaching.
I haven't experienced that myslef. I have known many children to live peacefully with animals and some to be chaotic. Sometimes the pet is not used to kids and doesn't tolerate them (why we chose not to get an adult) and some where the parents just leave the pet and the kid alone to their own devices. And then I've known some teen boys to be mean to animals, but I think that's a different issue all together. I'm not saying it's automatic, but I do think it's possible and of course takes a lot of dedication in the parents. Once the pets have been around a while and the novelty and newness is worn off, then they accept the animals presence. I have to say here that I notice a huge difference in the way all people act towards animals depending on if their life experience has been in the city maybe without any animals, or if they have spent at least some of it in the country and with and around animals. Families who are geared around animals, agriculture, farming, etc... seem to have a whole different approach to animals in their lives than some families who are getting pet for the first time. For some, living with animals is a way of life, for others it's a burden or responsibility. I think it depends entirely on how it is approached and how important it is to the parents to have animals around them. In general, I think dedicated animal lovers approach the child-animal relationship with the care needed to raise kid tolerant animals and animal loving kids.
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Old 08-11-2005, 08:29 PM   #20
Sanveann
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

Quote:
do think it's possible and of course takes a lot of dedication in the parents. Once the pets have been around a while and the novelty and newness is worn off, then they accept the animals presence.
I think this is very true!

Our next-door neighbors have two small dogs and a 2-year-old boy. When he sees OUR dog, he just goes nuts and wants to grab and pet and squeeze her ... but he isn't like that with his OWN dogs! I think it is just the "newness" of another pet.

That said, I don't think that families with children under 6 or so should generally adopt very small kittens (15 weeks or younger) or small-breed puppies. There are certainly exceptions -- I have known many gentle, trustworth children under that age -- but as a whole, I think most of them just don't understand how badly they could accidentally injure a pet.
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Old 08-11-2005, 09:13 PM   #21
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That said, I don't think that families with children under 6 or so should generally adopt very small kittens (15 weeks or younger) or small-breed puppies. There are certainly exceptions -- I have known many gentle, trustworth children under that age -- but as a whole, I think most of them just don't understand how badly they could accidentally injure a pet.
This is true also, and definitely needs given consideration. We had a neighbor girl once who had such an "accident" with her new little kitty. We have it here so that our kids are only able to play with the kitten when I am with them. They can't just get a hold of it whenever. This is good for the kitten right now. Since I am right there when they are holding and petting him, I am able to intercede and make sure that they are gentle enough. They are getting to where they can run around and play with him while I am just in sight in the area. I can give reminders and jump up to quickly rescue if needed. The good thing is that the baby is a very gentle person, she's not as rough with him as other babies might be, but still has limited motor ability to fully control how hard she squeezes or pats. He's faster and able to get away from her too. I am concearned and careful about scratching (eyes ), but I think the baby will learn quickly and very soon she'll have the kitty thing figured out. She is doing very well and probably loves the kitty more than any of us. Soon the kitty will be older and not quite so fragile. I won't worry about him so much then, but right now he is protected.
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Old 08-12-2005, 05:52 AM   #22
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

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I think it depends entirely on how it is approached and how important it is to the parents to have animals around them. In general, I think dedicated animal lovers approach the child-animal relationship with the care needed to raise kid tolerant animals and animal loving kids.
Julia, the reason we've made this topic a "sticky" is because we *have* experienced many occasions where conscientious pet ownership and small children weren't a good mix. I'm not arguing with your personal experience, and I'm glad for your situation. But the reality is that very young children and pets are often not a good mix, even with supervision, coaching and consistency.

For many families, the best decision is to wait a few years.
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Old 08-12-2005, 04:47 PM   #23
Sanveann
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

For many families, getting an older (like 6-month-old) kitten is a good solution, or getting a slightly larger breed of dog. However, that doesn't really solve the problem of a pet hurting a child! I think that most cats will simply avoid kids it they're annoying them ... though I'm sure that there are plenty of cats who would scratch or bite a child who was being VERY rough. And you can also be sure to select a tolerant dog ... a lab, for example, will put up with a lot more from children than most terriers will.
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Old 08-12-2005, 06:00 PM   #24
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I totally agree with you about the breed thing. I have been in a lot of disagreements with people (DH included) who insist that some breeds aren't more of a risk with kids. Different breeds were breed for different purposes, and so their inherrant behavior is different. There are dogs that don't fit the generalization, but that's not a risk I'm willing to take with my kids. But, I guess if you did have a dog of one of those breeds, you would just need to take extra precautions. 6 months would probably be a really good age from a kitty. And there are lots of precautions being taken with this little kitten (who was rescued from being put down- that's why he's so little and in our family now.) I know it's not a good choice for everyone, but for some it works out fine. I don't think it's quite right to say that it's a poor choice if you're willing to do what's necessary and see it through.

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Old 08-12-2005, 06:38 PM   #25
Sanveann
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julia R
I totally agree with you about the breed thing. I have been in a lot of disagreements with people (DH included) who insist that some breeds are more of a risk with kids. Different breeds were breed for different purposes, and so their inherrant behavior is different. There are dogs that don't fit the generalization, but that's not a risk I'm willing to take with my kids. But, I guess if you did have a dog of one of those breeds, you would just need to take extra precautions. 6 months would probably be a really good age from a kitty. And there are lots of precautions being taken with this little kitten (who was rescued from being put down- that's why he's so little and in our family now.) I know it's not a good choice for everyone, but for some it works out fine. I don't think it's quite right to say that it's a poor choice if you're willing to do what's necessary and see it through.
Absolutely ... for example, terriers, who were bred to hunt and kill vermin, are generally going to be very energetic and feisty -- and therefore very unlikely to put up with kids' antics. I think the sporting breeds (usually known as "gundogs" -- labs, goldens, etc.) are often the best because they were bred to work closely with humans. Scenthounds (beagles, etc.) also tend to be good with families, too, though they tend to follow their noses!

I also don't prefer that families get a very dominant breed unless they know how to properly teach their dog that it is below ALL the family members, including the little ones. I am convinced that the vast majority of dog attacks where "he just snapped!" are because the dog was allowed to rule the roost and then one day decided to put a person in his/her "place."

Most toy breeds are also not suitable, either ... they are so fragile and so appealing to children that they can easily be squeezed too hard or dropped, or get injured and bite to try to defend themselves. But shih tzus, bichons and Cavalier King Charles are all a little bit on the bigger side and are very easygoing, so they might work with some families.
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:41 PM   #26
AKCristyMJ
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

Oh my, I never thought bout any of the breed aspects.
I grew up from birth on with lotsa cats.
And from about 2yrs old and on we had dogs like Cocker Spaniels, poodles, and Collie's.

I though am a big fan of German Shepherd.

Can you all recommend a good family dog breed-obviously for a family of kids age 6+????
Whatta bout a friendly mutt from the Pound??
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Old 08-13-2005, 06:22 AM   #27
Sanveann
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

A dog from the pound can absolutely be a great family pet! One thing I recommend is looking at www.petfinder.com and finding foster-based rescues in your area, where the dogs live with families in their homes. The foster homes usually know more than a shelter or pound volunteer will about the dog's personality and how it reacts in certain situations. Many foster families even have kids of their own, so they can tell you how the dog is with them.

What you will find at the pound varies by region, but in my area, you will find a lot of shepherd, lab, pit bull and beagle mixes. I personally think any of the above can be wonderful.

Shepherd mixes are obviously going to be the biggest and hairiest! Some can be VERY large and very high energy. We fostered one BEAUTIFUL one who was about 100 pounds, and we just couldn't walk the poor guy enough to work off all his energy!

Lab mixes will be on the larger side usually, as well, and they can be pretty energetic as well. I find that big dogs are usually very good with small children, but the downside is that they can accidentally knock them over, especially if they tend to jump!

Of course, many people have vastly differing opinions on pit bulls. My personal opinion after working with a large number in rescue for the past eight or nine years is that they are a very loyal, loving breed that has the misfortune to appeal to some very evil people in our society. They are usually extremely tolerant with children. (Check out these adorable photos! http://pitbulls.iwarp.com/photo.html ) BUT they can tend to be dominant, particularly the males, and they can be aggressive toward other dogs. For those reasons, I would recommend them only for experienced dog owners and/or people with dominant personalities.

As for beagle mixes, IMHO, they are usually very good family dogs -- a nice size, good with children and very friendly. The downsides is that they MUST have a fenced yard, or they will wander after every interesting scent, and they can tend to howl and dig. We fostered a sweet little beagle mix named Betsy a few years ago ... she tore our back yard up trying to find this mole (who had already torn our back yard up!) She eventually cornered it, but DH didn't have the heart to kill it ... which I thought was sweet

I don't know HOW big a dog you are looking for, but if you don't mind a very large one, what about a Great Dane? My friend does Dane rescue, and I find that they are VERY friendly, tolerant dogs who aren't particularly active. Plus, they are extremely gentle but definitely have a deep, intimidating bark -- no one is ever going to break into their house, for sure! The downside is that the biggest one, Blanco, can walk right up to the stove and -- without standing up at all -- steal a chicken right off the stove (we saw him do it!)
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Old 08-22-2005, 06:00 AM   #28
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

Thanks for this. This is one of the reasons we are waiting to have any pets (other than our fish!) until the our youngest is 4 or 5. It is SO much responsibility and work as well. It sort of makes it more fun, too. Waiting for something you want can be a good thing.
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Old 09-02-2005, 08:23 PM   #29
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

I was on vacation and looking up horse-riding stables and came across this unusual ranch. I am intrigued and cautiously wary at the same time. If you have a moment, take a look around the site and let me know what you think?

http://www.horscery.org/
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Old 09-02-2005, 09:44 PM   #30
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Default Re: Pets, Kids and Families

Considering horsemanship alone, it seems like they have a pretty good approach. I kind of get a bad feeling from the spiritual tones in their program and philosophy though.

Quote:
What is HorsceryTM?



Take the power and discipline of the martial arts,
the deep wonder of interspecies communication,
the spontaneous freedom of improvisational theater,
the healing magic of a shamanic journey
and the warm laughter of humans savoring hope ...
Weave together and bind with
the intoxicating, heartbreaking smell of a horse,
the luminous abyss of a horse’s eye,
and the bone, heart, mind shattering force of a single horse’s kick
and that, all that, is Horscery.

HorsceryTM teaches us about ourselves in relationship.
I am kind of leery of things described as being
Quote:
the healing magic of a shamanic journey
. I think there is a strong need for caution when it comes to these things. I can give you a bunch of bible references about conflicts of interest between the bible and the kind of mysticism talked about here if you need them. And that's because I have had to really dig into them on account of my own experiences. You can find really great horsemanship programs out there that have the philosophy of getting the horse to trust you and to want to work for you. It's been a few years since I have checked this out, but you might even look into John Lyons. I know his courses have really expanded in the last few years. I imagine there has to be something directed towards kids.
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