The Necessity of Play

Everyone said “having a puppy is just like having another child”. While I believed them and expected as much, I still didn’t anticipate exactly how much Theo would change our lives in all ways. We bought him his own bed, food, dishes and cornered off his very own space in our home. When he came home with Zoe and I that very first day, it was clear from the moment I carried him to our car that he was going to be just like a child to me. I held him and worried about his health, happiness and his feelings just as I have my own babies, and none of that changed from then until now. Theo is a family member, and that’s all there is to it.

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Aside from the afternoon ritual of napping with his little boy every day, Theo has made it clear to us that he really appreciates it when we play with him. Beau is much the same way-as I imagine most children and puppies are-they want to be active and entertained as often as possible. He is the happiest when he’s playing fetch or wrestling with Justin or the kids (I am not a wrestler but I will snuggle him for sure). Building time in our day to play with Theo in at least 1 hour increments has become a very important part of our lives, and we can all see and feel how much it benefits him, and us, in return. Through the course of the last nearly two years with Theo, the necessity of play has become clearer to me in so many ways: how deeply it affects Theo’s happiness register, and how it helps the kids to build a plan and stick to caring for Theo in the most fun way possible. The hysterical laughter that ensues any time we get silly with our puppy feels like life itself is being breathed into our veins.

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We are lucky to have such a joyful, loving, caring and empathetic dog in our lives. Being that this was our first puppy, we didn’t realize at the time how our days would change and what our new routines would look like, but we knew once he came home with us that things would be very different than what we were used to. At the time-and until now-Zoe and Beau have been really excited and interested in Doc McStuffins, a program on Disney Junior that explains in just the way smaller children learn, by interesting them and relating to them with loveable characters, magical storylines, and particular words, colors and situations. When Doc becomes a veterinarian in all-new episodes of Doc McStuffins Pet Vet she helps to emphasize how important caring for our pets is in all ways: Health, Happiness and Feelings, and ways in which it’s easy for young kids to get involved, especially in playing with pets.

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Theo has been such an important addition to the lives of my children, my husband and I and the way that our family unit runs. He is often the glue that keeps us together when tantrums and arguments are rampant, as he is a calming and happy presence always. The programming and messaging in Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins Pet Vet has been a really fun way to get my kids involved with Theo’s care on a level that they understand, that to me is priceless. You and your family can watch Doc McStuffins every day on Disney Junior!

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1 Comment

  • I love the look on Theo’s face with your husband because it’s a look I’ve seen many times before. (My dog nephew has that same look.) His eyes are focused on that ball and that ball only, patiently waiting for that command to say it’s okay.

    Thank you for sharing your pictures and words!

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