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Are We Better Off Being Raised by Dogs?


Last week, I was forced to reflect deeply on my family dynamics.

I leapt with both feet into an unknown space where events from the past and present would tap dance around my mind.

It’s Complicated

I credit my mom and dad with investing great effort into being the best parents possible. However, as I have become an adult, I realize certain lonely gaps in my childhood that I wish I could go back in time to replace with hugs from my parents.  

I continue to be amazed at how actions from years ago can still be so raw and painful.

Sure, it sounds like the typical thing to blame the parents for their shortcomings in bringing up children. I have no doubt that some of us go immediately to that place and hover there because it is easier.

I aim to improve the situation instead of using it for ammunition in an excruciating war of emotion.

An Emotional Epidemic?

In my work, I encounter many clients who are also trying to rectify issues from their childhood. Last night as I finished a session with yet another client who detailed how old wounds from the formative years pushed her over the edge. I began to wonder if this is an epidemic.

Just because it doesn’t have an FDA warning or a fancy name that can become a trend in our news cycle doesn’t mean it isn’t a big problem in our society.

I bet everyone knows of at least one person who didn’t have good childhood. Moreover, most of us probably know others who had “normal” childhoods but are grappling with frustrating family dynamics as adults.

Some may not even be aware of how this could be impacting them. Perhaps, it gets hidden in that extra cocktail at dinner or in throwing oneself into work 60 plus hours a week. 

A Modern Day Mowgli

My reflection turned into some online research.

I was curious to see if dogs had successfully raised any children.

Google showed me many things on this topic. First, a You Tube video of a little girl who was raised by a pack of dogs and thought she was one. Also, an excerpt from the book The Boy Raised as a Dog.

What caught my eye, was a news item about a Russian boy, Ivan Mishukov who was taken in by a wild pack of dogs soon after his parents abandoned him. It took authorities a month to pry the boy away from his dog family. Ivan said, “The dogs loved and protected me.”

Admittedly, all of these accounts were disturbing because they involved child abandonment and a dire need for health care. However, the bond that was formed between Ivan and these dogs had to have been special.

Dogs Pick Up the Slack

The news account made me wonder if Ivan will be more traumatized by what his parents did to him instead of the lack of doctor visits, education and proper nutrition he received while living with his dog family.

Dogs love unconditionally. They will even accept a different species into their pack and love them like their own.

Why do a lot of humans have such a difficult time providing enough love and emotional support to their own family?

Are we too burdened by providing basic needs for our loved ones that we overlook developing the character and strength of our souls?

Margot Ahlquist is the creator of Paws to Talk and a professional life coach. Dogs Don't Overcomplicate Their Lives So Why Should We? Join the Hundreds Living Happier Lives at www.pawstotalk.com.


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