Children and dogs or when I learned my two year old can walk the dog

Our dog, Doida, is a spritely 11 year old who wasn't all that happy when we brought home the first baby and only became marginally more resigned over the years. Apparently the demotion from baby to dog was very hard to take. The first word for all three of our children - Doida. No Dada or Mama here - just a very clear Doida. Often followed by "No". For a long while, all dogs were Doida - until they realized that was her name.

Years ago, we watched a young boy of about 6 run with Doida, who was then 6 months, across a soccer field non-stop for 2 hours. His parents were thrilled - something we didn't fully appreciate until we had boys. We realized that every dog needs a boy and likely, most boys need a dog. But what about girls?

Turns out that girls need a dog too - if nothing more than to have one creature to practice managing before she steps up to managing her brothers. On a walk into town, Ariel demanded to walk Doida - all by herself.  Once we were in a safe area, we let her. She's 2 and 4 months. She told Doida where to go and when to sit. Doida slowed down to her speed. Doida didn't pull to chase a dog or squirrel. And most impressively, when Ariel stopped walking to pick up a large leaf and put down the leash, Doida stopped and waited with her. Ariel was proud of herself for responsibly walking the dog. I was proud of the dog for responsibly walking Ariel.