Maria Salovaara works in music business and recently joined in the Iskelmäradio team as a radio host. She is a working dog enthusiast who is also actively involved in working dog club activities. Her daily aim is to combine motherhood, irregular working hours and an active K-9 life. The dog that keeps Maria busy is a rough collie Rocky.
”Is it a puppy that you have there?” calls out a man in front of a local icehall. I stop and wonder what he might mean. “Over there, in your baby carrier”, clarifies the man. “Ha, actually it is a real baby”, I answer to him and continue on my way with my child and dog. The baby sniffles against my chest during our nighttime stroll. I still try to take it easy with walks and it hasn’t been that long since I gave birth. The baby cuddling away in the carrier hanging on my chest gets a lot of attention. People we meet on our walks often stop to adore the baby sleeping in her carrier. “How easy and convenient it all is these days”, they say. Being able to take the baby along almost anywhere. You don’t say!
When I was pregnant I worried about how to take the dog for a walk or run with the baby in the house. Or how to manage the training sessions. Or how can I handle taking the dog for a run in the woods? Trollying along the streets sure would work, but there’s no way taking the trolley to the woods! I couldn’t possibly fit the trolley in the back of my car – because that was the dog’s own place – should I buy a new car? As I was at the hospital with the birthing about to start, I send my husband a message: take the dogs for a run and then come here. He almost missed the special moment but at least the dogs got their exercise. “Maria, really”, said many when they heard about that!
An expectant Mother often worries in advance about the baby staying up all night and not sleeping properly, whether breast feeding is going to work and many other things that may come up with a new baby. Me , on the other hand, worried about the dogs and how their life would change after the baby came in to the family. Now, a year and a half later I think back and ponder whether we actually had any problems. The answer is no. I worried about the same things as I went back to work. Worried for nothing – again. Everyone that has an active dog in their family tend to worry about the same things. Usually things go well after all.
Our Daughter has definitely spent more time napping in her baby carriers (whether on my chest or on my back) than in her bed or trolley. When she was born, a friend of mine recommended a special, softlined carrier that is placed on a Mother’s chest. The baby snuggles in it like baby-koala in her Monther’s pouch. With this baby koala of mine I have trained my dog in obedience and also held training sessions for others.
When the baby grew, I switched the pouch-model for a sturdier backback-model and wondered in the woods. My Daughter loves to sit behind me as she sees everything differently from up there. It’s also turned out to be an excellent exercise tool for me – try walking a 13 kg weight of your back in the snow in the woods. Guaranteed to raise your pulse! In fact most my “baby weight” has disappeared on those walks. I also claim that my stress level has remained low due to being able to walk in the woods with my baby and my dog so much. Therefore, I am also a better a more patient Mother at home!
When the grounds get hard to walk on, I like to take an old ski stick along for a crutch. There have been fall downs, too. Step on a slippery tree root, and you will dive. When I did, I again worried about the safety of my child. As I scrambled back on my feet, the baby looked at me with a big smile on her face and said: “Mummy fell”. Giggles.
Next week we will introduce FitDog’s new team member from Denmark, a vet specialized in sport dogs !