Driven by Affection
Planning for a new arrival tends to raise a lot of questions: Did you choose the right bed? How do you find a good doctor and reliable day care? And what about toys? Then the big day finally arrives, and you bring home the newest member of your family.
Whether the object of your affection has two legs or four, the basics are surprisingly similar: a safe and comfortable environment, some handy travel accessories, even a book or two for reassurance. Just a few shopping trips for these items will reveal the prevalence of market crossovers.
On the home front, you can keep it safe with KidCo Baby and Pet Gates; they’re manufactured in Denmark, pass all USA safety standards and are advertised for use with both children and dogs. The AT&T Remote Monitor gives you a way to “stay in touch with the things that are important to you—your home, your family, your pets.” And—echoes of that other “no more tears” product—you can keep it clean with Mrs. Myer’s Clean Day pet line, with its no-tears Oatmeal Pet Shampoo and Gentle Pet Wipes. Don’t forget the comfort factor—Crypton Superfabrics, engineered to “resist whatever life throws at you,” cover a colorful variety of durable and well-designed dog beds, and also make an appearance in the Quilts for Kids collection of play mats and diaper bags.
On the go? Pop your pup or your tot in a Burley or Croozer bike trailer and take a spin; both make bike trailers designed to carry either a child or a dog. If hiking is more your style, see Tough Traveler’s full line of child carriers, as well as backpacks you can use to carry your dog; in perhaps the ultimate crossover, Tough Traveler has a “dog perch seat” that converts their baby backpack to one that’s small-dog ready. Pet Gear, Inc., crafts port-a-pens and strollers for dogs, while its parent company, Vermont Juvenile Furniture, makes children’s furniture (and has since 1936).The Pet-a-Roo front-style dog carrier, Sherpa backpack pet carrier and Outward Hound pet sling also all have corresponding versions in the infant/child market.
Need a little guidance? Hefty canine counterparts to Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care—The Dog Bible (Tracie Hotchner) and Puppy’s First Steps (edited by Dr. Nicholas Dodman)—provide insight, reassurance and hands-on direction for those confusing moments.
Crossover Safety Tips
Baby or puppy, toddler or dog—a few basics apply to the young of both species.
•Install cabinet latches, cover outlets, and get wires and cords out of the way.
•Switch to nontoxic cleaning supplies and keep them out of reach.
•Ditto for objects that could be easily broken if mouthed, pounced upon or dropped.
•Some houseplants are toxic; replace or elevate those that shouldn’t be ingested.
•Wash bedding in a mild laundry soap; babies and dogs spend a lot of time sleeping on that fabric.
•Nonslip mats reduce bath-time accidents.
•Feed organic, and remember: Home-cooking means you know what’s on the plate or in the bowl.
This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 42: May/Jun 2007
Andrew Adam Newman is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. His work has appeared in New York magazine and Salon, and on NPR's Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen.