Raising Them to Love Unconditionally

I grew up with pets. My first kitten came into my life as a toddler, and then a slew of hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, rabbits, fish and dogs were a part of my family throughout my childhood, many of my fondest memories with one of them in it. It was the same for my husband, though Justin grew up in the mountains and had the fortunate experience of raising a pig and a goat in addition to a couple of dogs. We were raised to feed, nurture, protect and love our pets as though they were family members, because that’s just what they are.

Welcoming Theo and our cat Charlie into our family was a very exciting and yet also smooth process, something I certainly didn’t expect. As seamlessly as they came into our lives, they live with us and go about their own days on a very comfortable and relaxed basis. They trust that we will care for them and protect them, and the kids know that without having to recognize it with words. Birthdays, holidays, vacations, new schools and schedules all involve our pets, something both they and the kids have come to expect. They get Easter Baskets, Valentines , stuffed stockings and birthday gifts on special occasions because they are our family. With our recent move to a new home in a new town, I was the most concerned about the welfare and comfort of our pets, but it’s been seamless so far-something I can honestly attribute to the daily consistent routine and trust built over time.

BT4A0555 BT4A4596 IMG_2007Intertwining our lives with our children and our pets to run like a well oiled machine means every little bit helps. From feeding the pets when we eat to keeping a consistent nap time and bedtime schedule, with walks in between and a little bit of downtime involving either book reading or a favorite program on TV, we are constantly keeping the messaging simple. Zoe and Beau have loved Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins for a couple of years, primarily because they enjoy the storyline and can relate to the ideas explored within the programming and how they teach the children to love and care for their pets. Starting tomorrow morning, August 14th , Doc has a new job as a Pet Vet and the kids are so eager to see Doc’s new clinic, friends and tools in the upcoming episodes, as it’s something they can relate to and mirror in their own lives with their pets.

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Over the course of the past several years with our pets and as the kids have gotten older, Zoe and Jack have taken on a new level of respect for their animals through care and consistent routines for Theo and Charlie, and even our three little Beta fish. We take weekly walks and trips to the beach because we all love being active, but primarily because Theo enjoys it the most. The Checkup Checklist is one tool that both the kids love and something we can refer to that crosses over from their favorite show and downtime treat into a new model of “chores” that we’re beginning to introduce. All of these consistencies have made the move with us from our old home into our new just a few days ago, and I’m so happy to report that because of that consistency the transition has been smooth for all of us. As a parent, I am so grateful for resources that fit easily into their bonus activity time that also serves to help explain important life tasks like how to care for our pets, in a fun and interactive way. Doc McStuffins on Disney Junior is one of the shows that we all love for that reason, and we are so excited to watch Doc take on her new job as a Pet Vet tomorrow morning at 9am/8c on Disney Junior, on Disney Channel.

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