Audrey doesn’t have any pets of her own (she has 4 boys, 4 and under – she is plenty busy!). So one of the things I pride myself on as her boys’ Auntie is giving them an appreciation for dogs.

Her boys see my dogs nearly every day. They have become a part of their lives. They know to be gentle when petting them. The older boys know to make sure the dogs don’t eat any chocolate (just today, William, in a panic, told me, “Janie, I had a piece of chocolate on my gloves from a cookie and Sethy licked it.” I assured him he would be OK with just that tiny bit of chocolate, but it was cute how concerned he was).

Really, I just love seeing the boys forge a relationship with my dogs from an early age. I love seeing William and Alex play ball with Ryder (Seth isn’t too fond of fetching. He’d rather just roll around in the snow or grass):

I love seeing how natural it is for Henry to have big dogs (like 110-lb. Seth) at his eye-level… and how it doesn’t phase him one bit:

And I just love watching Benjamin (incidentally, one of his first words was “puppy”) get an absolute kick out of playing with Ryder on Henry’s little entertainment mat:

I just think it’s so important for kids to gain respect for animals early on. I have had dogs in my life since I was 7 years old, and my life has been so enriched by these relationships. It warms my heart to see Audrey’s boys realizing all the joy dogs bring, courtesy of their big cousins Ryder and Seth!


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