A few years ago, I read a book called Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien. It was an amazing tale of a woman who raised a rescue barn owl for nearly twenty years. One of the most memorable parts of the book is where she realizes she needs to file down Wesley’s beak (in the wild, an owl’s beak would grow dull over time). The first time she tried it, Wesley freaked out – which she understood, as owl’s beaks are part of their skulls. So she racked her brain about what to do. She came up with talking to Wesley about what needed to happen. She’d tell him about it, she gave him a countdown, she showed him the tools and while in the same room with Wesley, visualized her filing down the beak. Finally, after counting down every day for a couple of months, she told Wesley that this was it. And Wesley, instead of flying away to a corner, held himself very still with a determined look on his face and let her file his beak down.
This is also one of the recommended ways to introduce your pet to your new baby. Tell them about it beforehand. Talk about what will happen. Mention it every day to them (starting a few months before the birth), and use the baby’s name if you’ve picked one out. Your pet may not be able to understand you in the way that people understand one another, but telling them of the intention, of the plan, of how things will change may just help them cope.
Other suggestions include getting your pet used to the new sights, sounds and smells that will be happening (leave diaper packages lying around, play sounds of infants crying or put baby oil on your skin). And try to introduce your pet to other infants (while supervised). Temple Grandin has written about how dogs especially don’t always recognize babies and children as small humans if they’ve never met one before.
If you’re still feeling nervous, YouTube is full of wonderful videos of dogs and cats meeting new babies for the first time. We here at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com wish you the best for your new addition and their furry friends!