When my older brother and his wife considered the possibility of having children, they faced the inevitable question: Would they be good parents? They took the standard experimental approach and decided to have a practice run –they purchased an Alaskan malamute puppy first. My parents encouraged this behavior as well. Before having children, they raised a Rottweiler and went on to have three wonderful children, (objectively speaking, of course).
For those of you unfamiliar with the Alaskan malamute dog breed, they are a larger, fluffier version of huskies. While they appear to be cuddly, this dog, despite my brother and sister-in-law’s best efforts, is quite temperamental and headstrong. Fiercely loyal, their dog will bite anyone she perceives as a threat to her owners (including my mother and my sister-in-law’s mother!). She has also exhibited a jealous streak and reacts negatively when her owners are preoccupied.
After a few years of raising the dog, my brother and his wife took the next step; they are now the proud parents of an 18-month-old baby boy, Ephraim. As my family marvels in all the wonder that is Ephraim, we also can’t help but be apprehensive of the presence of their jealous dog.
For those of you who have children and pets, you might want to take several precautions to maximize safety for both. Also, be cautious of the approximately one million dogs (half of which are unregistered) in Beijing and keep up with the latest information on Beijing’s laws pertaining to dogs. Check out these websites for more information:
Never disturb an animal while it is eating and avoid animals you not know. Less cuddly alternatives to dogs and cats include hamsters and fish, but supervision with young children is still required. Reptiles can harbor Salmonella bacteria, which can cause illnesses in children.
Above all, make sure your pets are vaccinated and spayed or neutered (this can reduce aggression). New pet-owners can attend the April 10th event New Pet Owner’s Orientation Session at ICVS.