I am an animal lover. Usually when people say that out loud, others automatically assume they are NOT animal lovers and are trying to convince you otherwise. I must admit though I was frightened of dogs as a child. Might have something to do with holding a tyre hubcap full of dog food and my grandfather letting two greyhounds off the leash, expecting me to put the food down. Of course, in seeing them galloping towards me the food went in the air I screamed and ran away. Not traumatized by this at all.
Anyway, I digress. I am an animal lover. On a recent attempt to get fit I began back at my local gym. Just a little free trial because if my 3-year-old doesn’t like the crèche there is no point joining up.
My little boy sitting on the footpath in under the A-frame gym sign out the front of the gym wasn’t a good start. Trying to coerce him out to come inside (this was day two by the way so he knew what was up and quite cheekily enjoyed crawling in to hide from me) wasn’t fun. Thank-fully it only took a few minutes to get him out so I was pretty relieved – I was anticipating I could have been there acting all calm and ‘together’ on the street for a good while!
Paid my $4 for the crèche and on approaching the crèche area noticed a fluffy white ball- that didn’t look at all like a child! My little one was quite excited to see a dog in the crèche so hurried in happily. I was a bit surprised but considering my exhausting attempt to get him in there in the first place, raced away to my class before he changed his mind!
During Pilates my mind was drawn to where he was. Was the dog licking him – after licking it’s — perhaps? What if he was being licked on the face or something? What if my boy accidentally stands on his tail and the dog bites him in defense? Unfortunately my focus wasn’t on tightening my tummy and clenching my bum cheeks, but more on what was happening out there in the crèche!
I managed to get through the lesson and greeted him. He was fine.
I asked the gym assistant if dogs are often left in the crèche? She said “no, only this one and the gym owners dog is often wandering around”. And so I left wondering if I really was worrying for no reason.
On sharing this with my girlfriend she confirmed my anxious thoughts agreeing that there shouldn’t be a dog in there. She is a nurse and started rattling off all sorts of health reasons why.
Owners expecting I will love their dog as much as they do does tend to bother me! For example, on the beach (off a lead bowling over my son at the water’s edge), at the park (as Ms dog owner sat and watched it walk all the way across to me and sniff over me and my picnic rug, forcing me to rudely ask the doctors receptionist I was on the phone to, to hold, so I could stand and shoo it away), in a café at breakfast (while it licks around my feet looking for crumbs) and in a paid designated children’s location. I don’t let my child crawl over people in these places and expect them to deal with my children or shoo them away!
If we see a responsible dog owner, it’s more than likely that we will come to pat their dog because we do love them. My daughter and I once spent considerable time with a lady and her little dog outside a shop ooing and arring over how clever the little dog was and all his tricks. My daughter was amazed.
But some days we might just choose to move on.
And so the dog in the crèche is MY problem to work out. I have to decide if I am happy with it being there with my boy and if not, go somewhere else. I’m sure there will be many mums who turn up and love the idea of a dog in there. My little ones kindy has a dog and cat visit often and has permanent guinea pigs residents, I love this. It is a great experience for the children and they learn so much. But this is in a larger space, an educational setting and I know that good hygiene practices are in place. Certainly these animals aren’t forced on my child if he chooses to sit back in the group and observe rather than be interactive.
Regarding my gym membership, perhaps we will walk on the river and my little one can scooter along instead. We are sure to pass many dogs along the way. We will stop and say hello should the owners be happy for us to do so. Perhaps I am just trying to find a good excuse NOT to join the gym, and avoid exercise altogether. This outdoor location will include a pleasant stroll instead of butt-clenching torture. I may just be using the little innocent dog in the creche as an excuse!
What’s the best excuse you have used to get out of doing exercise?!