Skye, Petey, and Layla
Having three dogs has its challenges... having three dogs and expecting a baby takes it to an entirely new level. I had witnessed the amazing work Christine does with dogs, and had recommended her to many clients, friends, and even strangers (yes, I am that person that if I overhear your conversation I am not afraid to pass you a business card). I consider myself a pretty well educated dog owner, but I knew that each of my dogs had its own unique issues... some more glaring than others...and I put off hiring Christine myself for too long. Before our baby I procrastinated addressing the issues, but when we found out we were expecting, and our male dog, Petey, began displaying reactivity to dogs and people when we went on our walks, I decided to call Christine to help us become a more balanced pack. Hiring Christine was one of the best investments we ever made in our family. I honestly don't think we would have been able to feel comfortable bringing a child into our home if we had not enlisted her help.
Since working with Christine, I am the "crazy lady" in the neighborhood that walks her three pit bulls AND a stroller, all at once, all by myself, with no fear of one of the dogs pulling the stroller or getting hurt. We have a baby who is getting ready to start crawling any day now, and who rolls around on the floor while his three doggies watch him while giving him his own space. We did not feel uncomfortable when we brought our baby home for the first time because we had prepared our dogs and our home with the guidance of Christine and with the work we did leading up to the birth of our son. Lots of people probably think we are crazy, but we wouldn't have our household any other way.
Christine helped us look at our dogs more objectively than you can when they are your own, and pointed out how we could be better leaders, both in the house and out. She helped us introduce the sounds of a crying baby, the play mat that he would lay on on the floor, the crib, the car seat, and anything else baby related in a positive way that both prepared the dogs for his arrival, and showed them boundaries. (None of us want to rush our pup to the vet for a blockage from swallowing a newborn sock). With lots of practice, and integrating "baby things" into their day to day life, we were able to easily transition from the hospital to home. We should have timed it, but when we came home from the hospital, within less than an hour, the dogs were lounging around doing their normal routine. It's hard to say how much of their excitement when we came home was because I was in the hospital for 5 days, and how much was finally meeting the baby, but their excitement quickly wore off and they were already used to all of the baby things and knew how to act around them.
THANK YOU Christine for showing us that it is possible to have a happy house with three pit bulls and a baby :) Thank you for helping us to become better dog owners and showing us how to positively impact our dogs' lives. And thank you for all you do for dogs every day :)
- Tara & Jason Benstead... and Skye, Petey