There was a time, not that long ago, when even fathers of the baby were not allowed into the delivery rooms. About 30 to 40 years ago hospitals gradually and begrudgingly began to allow dads in. I know one hospital that only allowed fathers into the delivery room if they were married to the mother. I don't know whether this resulted from a puritanical mindset or a desire to make the dad do right by mother. There was a time, too, when dads could only be in the delivery room if they had gone to prenatal classes. Hospitals seemed to use any excuse they could to keep family members out.
Now, though, the pendulum has swung the other way. Our hospital lets just about any one in the delivery room that the mother wants, as long as it doesn't get crowded. It's not unusual to have 3 or 4 family members in the delivery room. Personally, I don't mind this. They are usually well behaved, and it's certainly much preferable to keeping people out at all costs.
I think, though, that maybe it's time to take things to the next step: we should allow family pets in the delivery room. We wouldn't have to do it all at once. We could begin with dogs - if people are uncomfortable with the idea, perhaps we could require a puppy prenatal class initially - and proceed to cats. Eventually, if things work out, we could allow ferrets and so on in the delivery room. It may sound strange, but think what a comfort a beloved family dog or cat could be to an anxious, laboring mother.
They could be useful in another way, too. In this day and age where anyone can cut the umbilical cord - not only fathers but grandparents, friends, aunts, uncles, first cousins once removed, anyone but the obstetrician - why not let the dog do it? You wouldn't even need a scissors. The dog could bite the cord, like they do in nature. (Just don't let him get too close to the placenta or it might be gone!) Hey, a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's.
P.S. I'm going on vacation the next five days. Look for my next post on about February 26.