One concern that we had about getting a dog was our kids. Well, they actually created many concerns.
1. Would our kids be afraid of Shadow?
Our kids were so excited to have a dog. they really felt like they had saved him, especially after we told them the story of where he was living, and the BIG dog we heard behind the door.
Right away Shadow started following our kids all through the house. This is how he came to be named Shadow (we thought marshmallow was a silly name for a boy dog).
2. Would our kids take care of our dog?
There is something about giving responsibility to kids, that just makes them flourish. Miss Love gets to let him in and out of his kennel in the morning and whenever we have to go somewhere. She knows that she earned this job because she is the only one that can open the latch, which is a skill that she practiced so that the job could be hers. (Shadow gets a little paranoid if he is left alone, so we have to put him in the kennel, even if we just run down to the basement for minute)
The Frog Prince got the job of giving Shadow his food. He earned this job by being the one that was the most careful to not spill the food when putting it into the bowl.
3. Would our kids treat him nice?
This one I was the most worried about. Our neighbors have a big, hyper dog (one of the reasons I was worried our kids might be afraid of having a dog). This dog has knocked them over numerous times. Our thoughtful neighbor knows that my kids are wary about Molly (the golden retriever) and tries to calm her down right away.
Well really I think it makes the whole thing worse, because they both yell at the dog like it might kill something, which only adds to the fear factor. They also talk so mean to the dog, that I worried our kids would copy.
I am grateful to say that the power of our influence as parents has overridden the power of the bad example. Our kids talk nicely to Shadow (and Molly for that matter). They use a firm but friendly tone of voice and even say encouraging things when our dog listens.
As a parent this gives me great hope. I know that there are so many bad examples out there: people wanting it all, spending more than they make, stealing or cheating. It would be easy to think that our kids are going to want to be like that, too. But I know that our influence as parents has a huge impact on the choices that they make. Kids can filter out bad choices and make good ones.