Mum makes her kids sign a ‘pet contract’ before she gets them a puppy and others are instantly on board – The Sun

A MOTHER has revealed her clever way she ensured her two children were aware of the responsibilities of having a pet dog.

Joanne Emerson, 43, from East Sussex, said she was concerned the novelty of having a puppy would wear off after a few months so she made a contract for her kids to read and sign.

The Projects Coordinator admitted she was nervous to share her idea online but has been thrilled with the reaction – as hundreds of fellow parents love the idea.

Sharing her contract plans, she wrote: "After years of planning, we finally brought our new puppy home last month.

"I was always concerned about the novelty wearing off and our children not helping and doing all the things they 'promised' to do to help care for the dog."

The savvy mum continued: "So, I made a little contract for each of them to read through, understand and sign!

"They ticked each one and could choose up to two items they didn’t want to agree to but otherwise all was good and they proudly stuck on the fridge.

"Understand it might not be for everyone but I think it could be applied to many things like a long awaited new bike, paddling pool, pet hamster.

"Even if some might think it a little harsh it has worked a treat for us all so far!"

Joanne said her husband and her children, 13-year-old Jacob and nine-year-old Maya, had wanted a puppy for over three years but she didn’t want to be left with doing all of the caring.

She had heard of situations where the novelty of having a pet wears off as the puppy grows and mums can be left to do the training and clearing up.

Having a contract seemed like a fair and responsible way for everyone to understand the huge commitment of getting a puppy.


She said: "We had been on waiting lists before lockdown, but as we are at home more and currently have the time to commit to training and caring for a puppy it felt like the right time.

"The kids were so very excited when I agreed to getting a puppy! On the day we collected her they set their alarms early and were ready and waiting with very big smiles."

"Especially while the puppy is little – it has been wonderful all being around to help her to grow into a loyal and happy dog, but also trying to ensure she won't have separation anxiety when we are all back to normality and routine.

"The kids were so very excited when I agreed to getting a puppy! On the day we collected her they set their alarms early and were ready and waiting with very big smiles."

Joanne was amazed both Jacob and Maya were understanding of the contract and admitted it helped them understand the commitments of having a pet dog.

She said Jacob agreed to all points in the contract and Maya agreed to them all except checking Coco’s fur – as she's a bit freaked out by potential ticks!

People have been so impressed by Joanne’s clever contract – they left comments on her social media post.

Even some veterinary nurses have asked the mother if they can use her contract in their new puppy packs.

One parent commented online, writing: "Wish we had done this before getting our puppy!

"We got her just before lockdown and with working from home, home schooling 10-5 every day, a toddler, large house to clean etc I feel she’s really not getting the attention she deserves. Obviously we had long conversations but clearly it wasn't enough."

Wish we had done this before getting our puppy!

While another user added: ‘"Stealing this!! Genius idea!! And have fun with your puppy!"

A third commented: ‘This is a fantastic idea! I may steal it to give out to new puppy owners at the vets!’

Meanwhile another praised: "So using this. We collect our fur baby on Saturday and I keep stressing these things to them. I am going to get them to do this later. THANK YOU."

Joanne said a lot of strangers have been in touch to say they wished they had made a contract for their kids before getting a family pet.

She has even sent copies of her contract to families who are considering getting a dog.

I thought it was worth sharing in case it could help others who were thinking about getting family pets

She said: "We've realised now that puppies don't need too many baths, but that line was more about keeping her clean after walks, so we've amended that part of the contract.

"I was a bit concerned it might seem a little harsh and also worried about negative comments.

"But as I had found lots of great ideas on social media during lockdown I thought it was worth sharing in case it could help others who were thinking about getting family pets."

Joanne described the family’s first month with Coco the dog as amazing, fun, tiring, messy and with wonderful memory making – but admitted there is a lot of clearing up doggy toilets.

She said the contract has been a great help and sometimes she reminds the kids to go and read the agreement again – as they have proudly stuck it on the kitchen fridge.

The mother said the children have been really good at sticking to the agreement – including picking up, bagging and binning the doggy poo.

However she said they struggle to brush Coco as she doesn’t sit still.

Joanne is encouraging parents to introduce a contract as it works a treat for them and she thinks families can adapt it to suit – and perhaps sneak in some extra non puppy chores!

In other parenting news, we revealed the deadly things that can harm kids on a summer walk, from caterpillars to hogweed.

And we told you about the mum who sparked a debate after sharing pictures of her kids' packed lunches.

Plus, a savvy mum has gone viral after turning a TOWEL RACK into a stunning kids' clothes rail.

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