I was offended the other day when a mother with a totally covered up baby in a stroller said she would not ride with me and my old mascot dog Zoe in the elevator. Zoe didn’t care about the mother or stroller at all, and was on a short leash. She still insisted on taking another elevator.
The only stroller Zoe has ever been interested in carried an elderly Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie). She was a pup then and all she knew was that infants cannot do anything for her, look at her, pet her and give her a Cheerio. Strollers have not been interesting since that day and she’s coming up on 14 years early next year.
I used to take care of a wonderful “ray of sunshine” often when this old yellow Lab’s folks were out of town. He was a surgeon and she was a teacher, seven months pregnant. A “onesie” was out of the question for these smart folks.
I gave them a tape to play for the dog with baby sounds like crying, gurgling et al. They had just moved out of the neighborhood to a larger home and hadn’t met their neighbors yet as I brought their dog back after the move.
After I left they played the tape, leaving it on while they took the dog for her first walk in the neighborhood. Because of a loud tape with gurgly sounds and wailing, their neighbors saw them walking their dog, after leaving the “baby” alone in the house. I’m sure that over the years they’ve fixed that situation, and now have two healthy kiddos. Sadly their dog succumbed to disease and old age, as did mine at the time.
When people pick up a toddler or kindergarten-age child, heck, even a small dog to protect them from my 30 lb. Aussie “mascot” they do them a disservice. A young Swedish boy who lives nearby has shrunk from Zoe for years, hiding behind Mom but occasionally venturing forth to pet her hind end. Last weekend my husband told me the boy took her leash and walked her. I believe that is how one gets kids to get involved and appreciate pets, and dogs to learn how to socialize.
I’ve said for over 13 years that anyone could go into Zoe’s food bowl (if they’re fast enough, she’s a chowhound and usually done in a minute) and she would just look at me and ask “Mom, can I have some more?” That is what a good dog does. Dee