This year has been full on! We have a now 3 ½ year old daughter, two dogs (one who has been struggling medically since the beginning of the year) and I have recently had our second child, and honestly it was not an easy pregnancy.
I have experienced pregnancy before, I’m already a mother, a vet nurse and a qualified dog trainer but still I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to cope. So, I did what some people may not find easy to do and I reached out for help.
I did the easy stuff, I reached out to family for help when I wasn’t feeling well and to be there for my daughter. I got our dog Ziggy in to see specialists to try and get to the bottom of his medical problems. We already had someone come and walk the dogs once a week (to help give them some variety) so I increased that to a couple of times a week to make things easier for my husband, since I was too unwell in the mornings.
I then started to address the not so easy stuff; to help me process everything that was going on I started seeing a psychologist. This year had taken its toll emotionally but with a newborn soon to be added to the mix I wanted to make sure I was on top of everything.
I then decided to pre-empt another potential stressor, getting the dogs ready for the new baby. Evie, our 5 ½ year old Dingo/Kelpie had already experienced getting a human sibling and she did exceptionally well with it all, so we knew she had a good starting point. Ziggy, our 18 month old Border Collie, is awesome with our toddler but hasn’t had constant experience around a newborn; that coupled with what we have now figured out is idiopathic epilepsy and his adolescent age meant that this might not be as easy as it was previously.
We got back from a holiday and I just freaked out, how was I going to cope with everything? Even though one of my dog training qualifications is as a Family Paws Educator, preparing families with dogs for life with baby/toddler, I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. A fellow dog trainer and Family Paws Educator, Ashleigh Leece, had stayed with our dogs while we were away and had done an incredible job considering everything. I didn’t hesitate getting in touch with her again and asking for help in preparing the dogs, especially Ziggy, not only with reiterating general training but also getting them used to all the different sights, sounds as well as changes that would be occurring.
Ashleigh has been assisting us with our training, helping out with walking the dogs when needed and also stayed with them when I was in hospital having the little guy. Not only do the dogs adore her but so does my daughter, so I know it was a good decision. Having her help out has taken a huge weight off of my shoulders, knowing that the entire training load wasn’t solely on me while I navigated being a mother, running a business and dealing with a difficult pregnancy.
My message to you is just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you have to. There are people out there, even in the same field of work that you are in, who can make a huge difference in your life. If you feel like you need the help, just ask for it!