We call her our family dog but actually Charlotte or Lotte as she is affectionally called was the puppy that my husband and I needed when we decided to have kids, and were struggling mentally because it wasn’t happening as fast as we would have liked.
Lotte is 14 years young now and is and will always be our “FURST Baby”.
So, our kids have never known life without Charlotte and as we have recently had a few scares (she is on as much medication as the average 100 year old), and many tear filled discussions about the circle of life with the kids, I have begun to reflect what Charlotte has added to our children’s lives.
So, here are 5 little life lessons from Lotte:
Lesson 1 – Unconditional Love
I hear people say this about animals all the time, but I know it to be so true. She waits patiently at the door every day for us to arrive home, she wags her tail every time she see’s the kids and she seems to know when you are feeling sick or a little sad and intrinsically jump up to have a cuddle with you. No matter what kind of day you have had, those sad little eyes will melt your heart and show you how much she loves being part of our family.
Lesson 2 – Responsibility
Caring for more than just yourself is a big deal when you are a kid. Our trio share some of the responsibilities for Lotte like walking her, picking up after her, filling her water bowl and for the most part feeding her. Caring for someone/something else, especially now, due to her age, she requires extra effort and thought is so heart-warming to watch.
Lesson 3 – Circle of Life
As mentioned before, many conversations have been had about Lotte, her age and making sure she is comfortable and happy. This has been an interesting journey because dogs can’t talk and everyone has different views on this matter. It has been very emotional at times, particularly for our daughter who is the closest to Charlotte of the three, but it serves to reinforce the importance of spending quality time with those you love.
Ok, so now let’s get to the funny ones, because yes, I too struggle with the fact Lotte isn’t an everlasting dog.
Lesson 4 – Listen to your Parents
I think every kid at some stage in their life is tempted to taste the dog food. Only a few do give it a go, and that sound of them crunching down on the dog biscuits is both funny and revolting all at once. It also is a moment where you think to yourself “I told you so” and “that’s a lesson for listening to your parents you won’t forget”. So yes, all three of mine have not listened and ate the food!
Lesson 5 – Don’t Blame the Dog
We all know the saying “the dog ate my homework” and for many years the kids blamed many things on Charlotte from toilet roll unrolling to a pee puddle on the floor during toilet training, and of course the occasional nasty smell too. But I have come to understand that once a dog is in their senior years, they get their revenge. From snoring so loudly that nobody can sleep, to medications that mean she can clear the room after dinner (OMG!!) to eating your Halloween lollies if you don’t put them away. But mostly it's the occasional poo right in front of the swing set strategically placed for a tiny foot to land in, I think she gets a lot of dog laughs from that. Essentially she has reinforced to our kids who was the FURST child!