New Homes

This past week, our family moved to a new home. My husband and I decided to find a new place instead of renewing the lease on our current apartment. We actually started looking so early, that some places wouldn’t give us a tour! We learned that when renting in Atlanta, you have a lot more luck if you look 30-60 days out from your expected move-in date and you have to jump on something you like right away (otherwise it will get snatched up before you can even go look!). We finally found a condo for rent that we loved and decided to commit to for the next year.

When looking for a home with a toddler and a dog, here are some good must have’s to consider:

  • Good places to go outside and walk/play
  • Easy access for any at-home care you plan to keep
  • A layout that gives your toddler a nice quiet space (i.e. away from loud noises like washer/dryer)
  • A bathtub
  • Easy way to carry car seat and/or groceries from car
  • Cabinets that can be baby-proofed

We decided to move-in a month before our current lease ended so we could slowly bring our things over and get our toddler, Sadie, and our dog, Wally, used to the new place. If you have the ability to do this, I highly recommend it. The transition went very smoothly for both Sadie and Wally because they already felt comfortable and at home once we officially moved.

Our official move was low-stress because we only had to focus on the big furniture since all the small/breakable/other things like dishes and clothes were already at the new place. We also were very lucky to have my sister watch Sadie the day we moved — thank you!!!  This allowed Sadie to get the attention she needed and made it so I could be a true partner to my husband during the move.

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A tired Sadie after moving

Moving takes a lot of work and is tiring for everyone. It’s frustrating but can also make you appreciate things you haven’t in a while. It made me grateful for how excellent my husband is at packing (must be all the Tetris). It made me proud of how well-behaved Sadie and Wally were during the whole process. And most of all, it made me excited to share this wonderful new place with my family.

 

Please share your thoughts below! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Being Proactive

Despite our efforts to prevent our puppy, Wally, from pooping in the house (detailed here), he continued to do so for a couple more weeks. He almost always went at night and in the same spot.

I decided to take him to the vet just to make sure he was not sick. First, when I dropped him off, I got what I can only describe as a judgy scolding for not having him on a heartworm preventative or flea medicine (whoops). Then, once they performed all of their tests, we discovered Wally had hookworm. We put him on dewormer right away. I felt really terrible Wally had been sick for weeks and we hadn’t realized it. Once the medicine took effect, his behavior went back to normal. I still block off “his spot” at night because I think he can still smell his scent there despite all the bleach and cleaner I used – I’d rather be safe than wake up to poop!

We also started Wally on preventative medicine our vet recommended to protect him from getting any more worms (heart or intestinal) or fleas. This is the second type of intestinal worm Wally contracted in less than a year so I strongly believe being proactive will be worth it. Deworming is expensive and not fun for anyone – although neither is getting worms in the first place!


When Wally was sick and had an accident, I’d always completely clean the affected area before my toddler, Sadie, came into the room. I used bleach but my vet told me any disinfectant would have prevented harm from coming to Sadie. I was lucky to have my husband to keep her busy and happy while I cleaned up the mess. If he had not been there, I probably would have stuck her in the playpen; I have no doubt she would have tried to get into it (yuck!).

I highly recommend keeping your dog on preventative medicine for worms and fleas. It will keep them healthy and happy and make you feel secure that they are ok! 

Meeting New Dogs & Showing Affection

Since our current apartment complex has a dog park, we meet new dogs on a regular basis. Every time I see a new dog in the dog park or coming towards us on a walk, here are the actions I take:

  1. I keep my dog, Wally, on his lease and ask him to sit. This shows me he’s still listening.
  2. I put my toddler, Sadie, in my arms or keep her in her stroller.
  3. If the owner says the new dog is friendly, I let Wally say hello. If growling ensues when they meet, I remove Wally from the situation. (Usually it’s the other dog that growls).
  4. If the owner says the new dog is comfortable with kids, I help Sadie hold her hand out for the dog to sniff or lick. If it seems like too much, I’ll pick her up. (Usually this would be the dog licking her face or almost knocking her over).

Because we’ve had Wally since Sadie was very young, she’s very comfortable with dogs. I love this about her but I also believe it’s important to teach her not all dogs will be as friendly as Wally. I make sure she watches me ask the owner first before I approach a new dog and she sees me hold my hand out, palm up, before petting the dog.

sleepI encourage Sadie to give Wally lots of love and attention. We always say good morning and goodnight to him. She knows how to pet him and brings him his toys. Lately, her favorite game is to ‘call Wally’ when in the bathtub and he will come and give her kisses. I also think it’s important for her see me giving Wally individual attention so she understands he needs love too and it’s not all about her 24/7. Almost like a sibling would teach her.

Similarly, I encourage Wally to be gentle with Sadie. When he lets her pet him or play with his things, I tell him he’s a good boy as positive reinforcement.

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Giving Sadie kisses

Most of all, I love that Sadie and Wally get along. It makes me very happy and makes me feel like we made the right choice in getting a puppy when Sadie was so little. Although it may not be right for every family, if you feel it’s right for your family, having a friend for your little one and teaching them how to interact with dogs is a huge benefit.

Please feel free to leave comments in the comments section!