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Toddlers and Puppies: So Much Alike

It was a little over a year ago when we lost our almost thirteen year old gigantic mutt named Bear, who was one of gentlest, mellowest dogs I've ever met. Being an animal lover and a firm believer in giving shelter pets new homes, I pestered my husband until he agreed that we could get another dog. Though I mourned the loss of my dear old friend and first "baby" I felt that we had an open spot to offer another dog that was in need of a home. I was leaning toward getting an older dog since they aren't adopted as quickly as puppies so I took home a small dog named Rosco from the Humane Society. We only had Rosco for a few hours when I realized that he was far too intense with our cats and growling at me when I was getting near his bone. I felt horrible but I had to take him back to the shelter. I couldn't have a dog that guarded treats around my children A few days later I saw another possible dog on the Humane Society's website--a small reddish terrier mix called "Lass." She was four months old...a bit younger than I had hoped for but after Rosco, I wondered if maybe a younger dog would be a better fit for our family. And she was so darn cute. I took our two girls to the shelter to meet her and little Lass immediately jumped in my lap and wouldn't leave. I was sold. As I filled out the paperwork to adopt her, I noticed Rosco was being adopted by an older woman and I felt so relieved. I knew he would be fine in a quieter house with no young children to pester him. The girls and I quickly decided on the name Clover for our new family member. The Red Clover is the Vermont State Flower (I grew up there) so I liked the idea of my dog being a little red Clover herself. During the next few weeks while Clover settled in, she and Cooper, who was just two and a half at the time, had to learn to co-habitate.  I had no idea how much alike they would turn out to be! Cooper seemed to think that he was a puppy and Clover seemed to think he was too. Or did she think she was a human? It was hard to tell. The two would romp around and while it was cute, it also made me nervous. Cooper was often rough and would head butt and charge the little dog. Since Clover carried stuffed toys in her mouth, Cooper started to do so as well. I had to break up many a game of tug o' war while each held one end of a toy in their teeth. The last thing I needed was for Cooper to get accidentally bitten.


Cooper also started to do things like dive to the floor if a scrap of food fell. Then he'd eat it only using his mouth. I'd catch him with his tongue out lapping water out of the dog bowl and the funniest thing of all--as we were walking Clover and she stopped to poop, Cooper stopped too and squatted. With a big grin he looked at me and said proudly "I pooping on sidewalk!" He was only pretending of course but I cracked up. From the potty accidents on the floor, to the biting, the selective listening and even the toys in the pet store that get both Clover and Cooper excited for a game of fetch--puppies and toddlers are comically similar. And of course, neither species is trustworthy at such a young age so while they are awfully cute together, we make sure to always supervise their interactions. Does your baby love your pet?
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