When my four-legged fur baby Mellie turned 16 despite bad knees, dry skin and poor eyesight, she was still a puppy in many ways. She was my daughter’s best friend and faithful sleeping companion and never failed to engage my son in a game of “let’s tug at your socks until they’re no longer covering your toes.”
She was our family’s little mascot, a black-and-white fur creature who taught my kids that love comes in many shapes and forms, and that a sweet lick on the face, vigorous tail wag and little buddy who is always up for a game of catch were worth the small price of having to hand-feed her and pick up her poop.
I am the first person to admit that providing your kids with an opportunity to grow up with a four-legged friend is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Having to care for a dog, or any pet for that matter, instills them with sense of compassion that will shape the way they treat and see others less vulnerable than them.
Providing your kids and pets opportunities to play and enjoy each other’s company will strengthen the bonds between them. In the process of play, your kids will learn to value their canine counterparts. Keep reading for wonderful activities that will engage your kids and their pooch.
Also I’m convinced Mellie was put on Earth to teach my kids that the world does not revolve around them, rather it revolves around Mellie.
STAGE A DOG PARTY
According to Arden Moore, author of “Dog Parties: How to Party with Your Pup,” a great way to help your child and pooch develop a bond at an early age is to let your child plan a party for their best furry friend.
A backyard party for eight dogs with a dog-friendly cake, invitations, small take-home gifts, prizes and decorations can range from $40 to $100.
Your kids will go gaga Creating invitations, making doggy treats before the party like Marvelous Mutt Meatballs (edible for dogs and people) and playing games like: Snoopy Says; the canine version of Simon Says. The rules are simple: people-dog teams must comply with your command whenever you say, “Snoopy says.” So when you say, “Snoopy says sit your dog,” people must get their dogs to sit. But if you simply say, “Sit your dog,” people who do so are eliminated from the competition.
The Parent perks: At dog parties, kids get to interact with friendly dogs in a supervised setting and help families live in a moment where dogs take center stage.
Drawbacks Be careful who you invite. Only dogs who are up to date on their vaccinations and well-mannered should be invited.
Overall: Dogs are born party animals. They like to romp, chase, wrestle, be included in activities and meet and greet. Dog parties provide an opportunity to initiate play with a purpose and to sneak in reinforcement of good manners.
Information For more ways to host a dog party, check out http://fourleggedlife.com/