Most parents have a nurturing instinct from the get-go. Some parents coddle and dote over their offspring like there's no tomorrow, while others have a "tough love" approach to parenting. Either way, parents at some point (cross your fingers) earn kudos from family and friends for raising "good kids". Maybe spoiled, but overall, structured children with insight into the world around them. Now, I wouldn't know anything about the "spoiled" part growing up (do you believe that for a minute?), but I do know that a distinct dynamic exists in homes with multiple kids. Come on, we all know it's true; parents treat each child differently in one way or another, even if it's minute. I admit I was less lenient with my eldest than my other kiddos. Plus, the fact that they didn't know what the word "grounded" meant until someone told them at school was a sure sign that they got their way quite often as kids. No worries, as the part about pets is coming. Scroll away.

Throw a couple of dogs into the above equation, and you might get "Parent of the Year". Now, because I didn't have pets as a child, I was a bit more rigid with the first two dogs we had in my late 20s. Don't get me wrong, our sweet pups, Darby and Baron, were well cared for in every aspect of the word, but I wasn't a pet owner who allowed couch crashing and exuberant treats at the time. reading this back, I detect a wee bit of Cruella Deville! But believe me; I love fur babies beyond words! Okay, like anything, growing older changes how you see and do things. So, by the time I inherited my son's dog, Rocko, three years ago, I became a different pet owner altogether. So much so, my human children could see right through me. That dog, to this day, can do no wrong. I still frown at couch crashing, but he gets whatever he wants in the sense of food, treats, coddling, and so much more. This article is no reflection on grandkids. That's for another time (Hi Olivia, Harper, and Ryder!) But, yeah, Rocko, my lovable adopted Kelpie/Lab mix, pretty much runs the house these days, which is a sure sign he has more clout than my kids. Sorry, not sorry, humans!

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