Dog lovers of the world, unite!


MilkBone It's Good to GiveI’ve seen first hand the joy that pets can give to people who really need it, which is why we’re so honored to be part of the It’s Good to Give series sponsored by Milk-Bone, which helps support the Canine Assistants Program.

Since I was never allowed to
have any pets growing up beside a couple of lame hamsters (insert much
hand wringing and wailing for my entire childhood), I was thrilled that
my kids would have our dog Indy to grow up with.

While knock wood, my kids are healthy and don’t need a dog the way the kids in the program do, I’ve still seen the immense benefits to them. Or really, to all of us.

I was fortunate that my dog immediately accepted my kids are part of the pack and I have to admit that watching my first “kid” interact with my actual kids was heartwarming.  Sure, we had the errant teething toy turned dog toy mishaps. (Okay, sometimes it was more than a teething toy).  But especially having a spouse who travels, the companionship, the extra set of eyes, and the after dinner clean-up help was always worth putting up with the perfectly timed barking fest during naptime.

Milk Bone It's Good to GiveMost of all, I’m so pleased discovering how beautifully a dog can teach my kids responsibility. There are the simple tasks, like filling up the food bowl or letting our dog out in the mornings, that even my three-year-old can do and whine about (ha!). Even my 17-month-old now knows how to wipe up her own pee accidents because she’s seen me take care of our dog’s handiwork more times than I’d like to remember. And it’s taught my  five year-old, who continues to beg for a kitten, that there’s a lot of work that goes into taking care of someone else, even a tiny little furball cat.

But then there are the less obvious but still invaluable life lessons our dog is teaching us, like the importance of caring for another family member. And that no matter how little you are, you can still do your part and contribute to the household.

Even if that means sometimes sneaking the dog your veggies. -Kristen


Please check out our sponsor Milk-Bone’s Canine Assistants program which helps people with disabilities. You can even get involved by sharing photos of your own doggie on the Milk-Bone Flickr stream.

Congratulations to Emily M and her sweet little Cairn terrier, lucky winners of the huge goodie pack from Fuzzy Nation!
[photo - Kristen's daughter Quinlan with Indy]

Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.

32 Comments

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Marci

    When I married my hubby he already had two wonderful dogs Candy (Black Lab) and Ike (German Shepard).

    Then came our two children who the dogs have adopted as their own. It’s funny to see them all playing and interacting toegther.

    Sadly our dogs (now 13 and 14) are getting very old and I’m afraid won’t be with us many more years. Our daughters are going to be devasted when they go. These dogs are their everyday playmates and have been such a wonderful asset to our family.

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Kristie

    Our dog can always seem to make us laugh-sometimes we think we should have named him ‘Goofy’ instead of ‘Bear’ :-)

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    lise

    Our “firstborn”, Monty who’s an English bulldog taught us not to sweat over stuff before we had our daughter. We went through teething, an ear infection, etc. with him first and it really prepared us in some profound way by the time our daughter went through it as well. lol. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    SANDY

    Our dogs are just like our babies, and we love them. I have protected them thru alot of crap they have had to endure and although they are old, they deserve respect because they have snuggled, and protected me whenI needed them too. Not getting into detail but they have taught me alot about surviving and making it thru

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Cindi

    Hello! My husband and I had two dogs when we got married. Then, our wonderful children came along and the dogs were older. Kayleigh lived to be almost 19, Beethoven is 18 and now we have our
    rescue Daisy Beagle!!!!! There were several animals rescued in Missouri from deplorable conditions and when some of the pups were available for adoption, my husband and our two children drove almost two hours to get to this home where the rescued puppies were cared for. They picked out
    Daisy, immediately. We were told she had bronchitis and were given medicine. She was so sick that we eventually ended driving her to a Veterinary School Clinic because the Vets in our town couldn’t help her! She wasn’t given much hope!
    Now, Daisy is wonderful and will turn 2 in July.
    My children finally have the experience of choosing and owning a puppy that needed a home.
    Also, she is a “miracle” dog. Thanks, Cindi

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Melanie

    So many people said we would love our dogs as much after our daughter arrived, almost a year ago now, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth for me. Sure, there are all those trials described in the article, but who was up with me for every feeding during the night (not my husband)? Who made me laugh during those first sleepless six weeks and a bout of PPD? Who pushes open the nursery door and curls up in the rocking chair to keep an eye on the baby? Who cleans up all the dropped puffs before they are ground into the carpet? My dear furbabies, that’s who!

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Emily

    My firstborn is a 10-year-old Cairn Terrier! I had him before I was married and my husband says that he never knew he wanted a Cairn, but now we couldn’t imagine life without him. He sleeps in the bed with us, loves going on his “big boy walks,” and is just a constant source of entertainment. Even my 6-month-old son adores him and laughs at his constant doggie wiggles. He’s a good old dog!

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    courtney

    Our dog Archie, was adopted from the local “kill shelter” about a year ago. From the day we brought him home, he bonded with our 1 yr old twin girls and has been their best friend, guardian and occasional pillow ever since. He is the most gentle dog in the world and was a huge motivation to my girls when they were learning to crawl, cruise and walk. One of their first words was “A-Chee” (Archie). LOL

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Liz

    Our sweet chocolate lab Maddox was such a comfort to my husband and me during my pregnancy when we got some ambigous and potentially very concerning test results. When nothing else could make us smile, his sloppy kisses and wet-nosed cuddles gave us hope that somehow, things would be okay. Happily, our son was born healthy as could be and is getting to enjoy growing up alongside a fun-loving puppy dog.

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Micaela

    I was struggling with a monster-sized depression, and had put on lots of unhealthy extra weight. Having to take my dog out and exercise her has made me get the exercise I needed to be healthier mentally and physically. She’s such a sweet girl that all the kids at my son’s bus stop and soccer games love coming over to pet her. My 5yo often naps on the sofa with her and this is no small feat since she’s a big Coonhound!

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Rosa

    My third child, a 96lb almost 11 month old lab, Trex, is my very first indoor dog. The family dogs when I was growing up were always outdoor. I never realized how much they really need to be a part of the pack. My 6 and 4 year olds call Trex their little brother since we won’t be having any more children. I’m amazed at how smart he is and how he can communicate with us. He’s so funny to watch sometimes.

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Jamie

    I have always had a dog in my life as long as I can remember. We currently have an Akita named Rock, he is very sweet and handsome. I never really worried about how he would react when we had our son 3 yrs ago. He was a little apprehensive in the beginning, but now they are buddies. He lets my son “ride” on him and snuggle with him (to a point of course!). We are currently expecting another child and am sure he will adapt easily.

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Jennifer

    My husband and I started our family with a cat, then came a baby and after that our dog. He has brought more joy to our home than we thought possible. Ever since the day that he picked us, he has been a pleasure to have around. He has never nipped or growled at me, my husband or my son. Now every day my 4 year old talks about his Maxie and how nice he is and how he wants to give him hugs.

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Michelle

    Before I had a family, my dog was a constant source of unconditional love. Now our family has two dogs and they are entertainment for our two year old. I didn’t grow up with pets and was always afraid of animals. Seeing our daughter’s love for all animals makes all of the accidents, dog hair and strange smells worth it!

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    pam

    Our son is adopted and so are our dogs. Having the dogs helps us to teach ourson and his friends about adoption. We explained to him how these animals needed homes (or mommies and daddies) just like him.

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Jennie

    Our 2 dogs have taught our daughter so many lessons already. Our French Bulldog has a little less patience for her than the lab does, so she has had to learn about personal space and listening to others from him. Our Lab has taught her how to just be silly, and how to appreciate a good hug too. He is just always happy to be around her, and she is happy to be around him too! We’re looking forward to seeing how the dogs react when we bring home twins this Summer.

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Alexandria

    My two bulldogs have made a huge impact on our family. My husband and I got them two years ago after our first born passed away 13 days after being born. I had a huge urge to nuture, but knew I wasn’t ready to try for another baby. I have always wanted bulldogs and it prompted me to do so. They emotionally supported me through my grief. I don’t think I would be able to deal as well as I did without them. Now I am pregnant again and very excited. I have no doubt that my pups will be gentle with our little newcomer.

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Michelle Rosborough

    Snoop is like family. When we are home we have to keep the back door open so he can see us. Otherwise he cries. If it were not for his walks I would not get any exercise. LOL

  • Reply April 5, 2010

    Heather

    Our 15 year old dog, Shelby, has been part of our life since my husband and I were first married. She’s adjusted to 3 little girls being born into our family and being loved on, to extremes sometimes, but has never once declined to be adored. September 15, 2009 we almost lost her. She collapsed in our kitchen and my husband and I rushed her to the vet where they discovered a huge tumor (2.5 pounds) in her abdomen. We made the decision to try to operate and it was surprisingly a great success (even the vet didn’t think she’d make it through the pre-op.) She’s still with us today, and we know every day we have with her is bonus. Her stubborn attitude is what brought her into our life and has kept her here with us. She has taught us to enjoy every day – and we are forever grateful.

  • Reply April 6, 2010

    Jenn G

    My 3year old mastiff Nero is my daughters best friend. Every morning he trots into her room and sticks his massive head next to her crib so she can say “Hi Pup” and start her day. She climbs all over him and he ‘plays’ peekaboo with her allowing her to hide behind a piece of furniture and barking when she jumps out to scare him. I can’t imagine him not being around.

  • Reply April 6, 2010

    Idaho Jill

    Our dogs have impacted our life in every way possible. My husband and I met in 94 and moved in together 6 months later – 6 months later we got Vegas from the pound. He is a jack russell mix & is still going strong at almost 16 years old. He has just always been there. We got another jack russell mix in 2000, and he is also still going strong. They accepted our now 3 year old daughter, and we are a happy family. They just make life a little more entertaining and a little more fun. We have always had dogs, even growing up, so I just can’t imagine them not begin with us…

  • Reply April 6, 2010

    anne

    Our two dogs give us so much love and constantly reinforce how wonderful it feels to have these special companions. They are always a joy to be with and make our family happy, positive and the outings even more enjoyable. One is a dog that we resuced and is so good natured and loveable and sweet. The Maltese is a sweetheart and follows us everywhere. Dogs make our life a joy.

  • Reply April 6, 2010

    laura schlue

    My dog Lucy is my sweet little star. She loves our new baby boy like a mom and will come and get us when he wakes up in his crib like “come on don’t you hear him!”
    she lost her dog buddy, Idaho, at Christmas and has been down lately but cheers up around “her” little boy. she never chews on his toys, even though she will gut hers in a second. She never eats the food he drops, until I let her, even though she scarfs down hers with out chewing. She is the light of our day when we are all screaming and frustrated and crying. I just love her!

  • Reply April 6, 2010

    dbass

    it is such a joy to see my 4 year old giving my boxer a huge hug… and to see my 9 month old following his every move.

  • Reply April 6, 2010

    Kellie Eckhardt

    Our family has 2 Dobermans who we love in our home. Not only do they protect us, they provide play and reason to exercise for us.

  • Reply April 6, 2010

    Amy H

    The first dog my husband and I had took care of me when I had a miscariage. He stood by my side and seemed to feel my pain. Our current dog watches over our toddler and even tolerates our toddler when he when wants to give him endless hugs.

  • Reply April 7, 2010

    Lisa

    My dogs have taught our family how to be more patient and loving. They are also excellent watchdogs!

  • Reply April 7, 2010

    julie

    Our oldest dog, Kato, was the first female in my husband’s life. At 16, she’s seen first me, then a second dog, then my son, then my daughter come into the family and she’s welcomed each of us in turn – not always easily, but eventually. Whenever a child sleeps with a closed door, she’ll spend the night guarding it.

    Our second dog, Trouble (13), is such a mother hen that she used to watch over the cribs and howled at the sky each time one of the babies started crying.

    In a million years, we never thought the dogs would still be around when we had kids, but in the end, we’re so glad that they got to experience our family as a complete unit. Especially since they’ve eliminated the need for a vacuum cleaner…

  • Reply April 7, 2010

    Cyndi

    My dogs were my kids before I had kids, and I am very fortunate that my furry kids took my human kids since the day that I brought them home. We are just one big cuddly family.

  • Reply April 7, 2010

    Samantha

    Our yellow lab “Crash” is a crazy, wonderful, trying, destructive bundle of joy. He teaches our girls how to be kind to animals, how to share, AND how to defend themselves when 100 pounds of pure chaos runs toward them at full speed. I also tell myself that all the water they’ve consumed from his bowl, the face clean-up at meal times, and all the slobbery kisses will eventually make them healthier.

  • Reply April 7, 2010

    Charlene Williams

    My husband Joe and I adopted our adorable Yellow Lab mix from the local SPCA a few months after we started dating in 2006. She was absolutely thrilled when we married 2 years later and made an “honest dog” out of her. Sophie has by far been the greatest addition to our family we could have ever imagined. She’s the most gentle, cuddly, affectionate dog I’ve ever met. We often find ourselves talking “through” her when we want to tell one another we’re not particularly fond of the others actions – i.e. “Dad, you’re not doing it right”, etc.. We laugh for hours about the silly things that “Sophie” says. When I became pregnant just days after we started trying in November, a lot of our friends immediately said things like “Boy, I hope Sophie doesn’t get too jealous of the baby” or “Do you think you’ll keep Sophie even after the baby?” My husband and I were completely puzzled that anyone could even question our love for our “first born”. We joke with them and say if it just doesn’t seem to be working between the two of them, we guess we’ll have to figure out something to do with the baby :) Sophie has been by my side through this pregnancy, eager to nap and cuddle when I’m tired, which to her pleasure, is quite frequently! She knows when I’m not feeling well and knows exactly how to make me smile. There is no doubt in my mind that when the baby arrives in August she will make the best big sister any child could ever ask for!

  • Reply April 7, 2010

    trixx

    My dogs have taught my daughter to love animals which is so important! We’re an animals-loving family!

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