5 years ago we purchased our first house and settled in to being new homeowners. After a few months, I started to want a dog. It seemed that our whole neighborhood was full of dogs, including our neighbors on either side of us. We would always see people walking down our street and stopping to chat with one another while their dogs waited by their side. It seems that dogs are an instant icebreaker and make you feel like you belong to a community!
My husband has never been a fan of dogs so I knew that it would take some convincing, but after mentioning it only a few times he was excited to start the search with me. We spent an entire Saturday searching shelters throughout St. Louis and mid-afternoon we came across a small yellow Lab who was about 4 months old. While we instantly loved her, there were a few more places to check out. The whole time we were checking out a few other shelters, we couldn’t get her out of our mind! We hurried back to the shelter and she was luckily still there. She came home with us that very night and Zoey has been with us ever since!
Zoey was really our first baby and I believe that she taught us a lot about being parents. She was this little 4 month old puppy, taken away from her mother and siblings, completely dependent on my husband and I! We had to feed her, bathe her, entertain her and of course, potty train her! Just like a child, she loved us back but of course gave us a little trouble too!
When we found out that I was pregnant with Hayden, we were concerned on how Zoey would accept it. She’s such a loving dog and has been nothing but great with both adults and children so I didn’t have any concern there. I was worried how she would feel about a new little human coming into the home and taking all of our attention! Before Hayden was born, I found a recording of a crying baby and would play it so she would get used to hearing a babies cry. Before Hayden and I came home from the hospital, my husband brought home one of Hayden’s blankets before we came home so she could sniff it and see what Hayden smelled like.
Since Hayden was born, Zoey has been nothing but his number one protector and best friend. As a baby, whenever Hayden would start to cry, Zoey would be quick to alert us. She loved to watch him nap in his swing and would always sit below him or outside his bedroom door. Now that Hayden is older, he loves running around the house and playing soccer in the backyard. Zoey gets a kick out of watching Hayden play on “her turf” and Hayden loves running after her!
When it came time to potty training Hayden, my husband and I commented so many times that it was like when we potty trained Zoey! We would set our alarm to let Zoey outside and we would do the same with Hayden (to bring him to the bathroom, not outside!). We used treats with Zoey each time she would go potty outside and every time that Hayden would go potty, he would get a sticker or a small toy!
Since Hayden is in preschool, they have been talking a lot about chores and helping out at home. We decided that Zoey would be perfect to help Hayden learn about responsibility. He’s responsible for letting her our of her crate in the morning and putting her back in if we leave for the day. Next to Zoey’s bowl is her dog food, so Hayden scoops her food into the bowl for her meals. Hayden loves having that sense of responsibility and being able to help around the house.
IAMS provides ideal nutrition for puppies and other pets, the benefit of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is so important for our entire family— Zoey included! We make sure that Zoey gets the best care and that includes the food that she eats. As a family, we make sure to take walks throughout the neighborhood so we are all getting exercise, while Zoey gets to see some of her friends!
Our family is so much more fulfilled with having Zoey in our life. She adds so much to each of us and I’m so glad that Hayden gets the experience of growing up with a dog!
I’d love to hear more about your pets! How do you keep them happy and healthy?
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of IAMS. The opinions and text are all mine.