Guest Blog: Introducing a Multispecies Family

Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 3:00pm
Young child looking at cockatiel

Erin is a work-out-of-the-home New Jersey parent, who blogs at Woof Tweet Waah. She tries to find the humor in all situations. For more updates, follow Erin on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

When I wake up in the morning, before my brain can register what day of the week it is, my ears ring with the sounds of:

  • Diva, my 10-year-old, egg-laying cockatiel, tweeting and “dancing” in her cage to the oldies station;
  • Mr. Happy, my 6-year-old rescue dog, who suffers from many forms of anxiety, barking for someone to throw his favorite duck toy; and
  • My 2-year-old toddler, negotiating potty training and screaming that it’s time for her to feed Diva and Mr. Happy.

All of this happens before 6:15 A.M. I’m Erin, and my home resembles Times Square. It is loud, busy, exciting and sometimes smells like an overturned garbage truck on a hot day. Are my husband, Matt, and I off our rockers for embracing this lifestyle? Probably. We do have a daily pill sorter for our dog, after all. As my answers to frequently asked questions explain below, we can’t imagine living our lives any other way. 

Q: Doesn’t having a small child and multiple pets make you crazy? 

A: Craziness is all relative. There are plenty of things in the world that are crazier than having both small children and pets—would you cancel a trip to the park for your child or pet to burn off some energy due to a slight chance of rain?  I don’t think so.

Q: You have a lot of living things to keep happy. How do you get it all done?

A: Delegation! My pets and toddler often entertain each other. Think of all the fun, interactive games you can play as an interspecies family, such as an updated version of a classic game called, “Clue: What Did I Just Step In?” Watch the whole family gather at scene of the crime to uncover the mystery. Keep in mind, the one family member or pet who is hiding during this game is mostly likely the prime suspect.

Q: If you could do it all again, would you?

A: You bet! Rewind to 2004, when Matt and I brought home our bird, Diva. Even if I knew then what I know now—the mess, the noise and the smells – I would still make the same decision. They’ve all taught me important life lessons ranging from remembering to smile and dance to being sure to give unconditionally. 

When we first adopted Mr. Happy, a trainer said he had no hope of getting over his fear of dogs. Guess what? You can teach an old dog new tricks.  To me, a beautiful image is not a sunset—it is seeing your dog walk right next to another dog after going through weeks of specialized training. 

I’m excited to team-up with ASPCA Parents to share the wonders of pet ownership and raising young children. Stay tuned for next month’s post, when I share what’s worse than having a horse’s head in your bed.  Don’t worry—no animals were harmed in the process!

Guest Blog: Introducing a Multispecies Family

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