A Little About the Book
I’m always on the lookout for great and fun ways to help children learn about pets.
Rudy’s New Human is a gentle, sweet story told from Rudy the dog’s point of view. The poor pooch has no idea what to expect when the new baby arrives, and experiences some seriously unwelcome changes in the early days. The new baby means much less attention for him, and occasionally he feels as though he is forgotten all together. He’s not allowed to do fun things he used to - in case he disturbs the baby - and overall the transition is pretty tough!
With time Rudy comes to discover that the little person is actually not so bad, and even associated with some pretty nice things. In the end he realises that there is, of course, plenty of love and attention for two.
My Thoughts on Rudy’s New Human
Rudy’s new human is a great little book for reading to children when a younger sibling is on the way. I think the story being narrated by a dog makes it fun without losing the message that even though having a new baby around might seem downright unfair at first, in the long run everything will be ok - and maybe even better than before.
I’m not sure this book helps expectant parents to prepare four-legged family members in anticipation of a newborn, but that is not the intention. It could definitely help to assuage the “pet parent guilt” many of us feel when faced with trying to juggle the needs of newborn babies and our “first babies”.
Although there are images (like the one on the cover of the baby pulling Rudy’s ear) that make me a little uncomfortable, the style overall is really sweet, and such pictures are actually great conversation starters between parent and child about how to behave around pets.
There’s no doubt that the arrival of a baby will turn everything upside down and back to front, not just for the bewildered first-time parents who weren’t given an instruction manual, but also for family pets.
With a little preparation it is possible to make the transition all a bit easier and hopefully avoid creating stress or behavioural problems in your pets down the track.
Tips for Preparing Your Dog for a New Baby
- Start early! Like, as soon as you know you are expecting.
- Think about how things will be when junior comes along. Be super realistic about what the rules will be (e.g. no more jumping up on the sofa) and how much time you will have available for your pooch (e.g. shorter walks, or a change from mum to dad doing the walkies).
- Change these things gradually over the period of your pregnancy. The last thing we want is a sudden, horrible change in routines and rules coinciding with the day your little bundle arrives home.
After Your Baby is Born
- Give yourself a break, parenting a newborn is demanding and exhausting. Don’t feel guilty if you make a few sleep-deprivation related mistakes, or skip a few walks.
- Try your best not to create negative associations with the baby. We want canine family members to think the baby is wonderful. If your little baby is present, we want good things to happen for your dog.
For much more detailed posts on preparing dogs for babies, see Dogs and Babies: A Guide for Expectant Parents and Interview with Dr. Lewis Kirkham: Dogs and Babies.
Win a Copy of Rudy’s New Human
I have a copy of this sweet little children’s book to giveaway to one lucky reader. The winner will be selected at random. Entry is only open to Australian and US residents.