Posted in Amelia, Amelia on parenting angst, Blog, Featured, House and home

The other baby

Back when life was great

We have a dog. He used to lead a pretty good life. He got three walks a day. He got to snuggle on the couch and take naps next to his owners. He got to ride on our laps in the car and rest his head on our shoulders as the breeze from the open window ruffled his ears.

(You see where this is going, don’t you?)

Enter, the Other Dog. AKA, the baby. In short, his stock plummeted. No more sleeping on the couch next to his people; that was now a sterile environment the baby’s territory. Walks dwindled to two in number and were shorter and taken at a much slower pace. In the early days when we weren’t sleeping, we often wouldn’t remember whether we fed him and so I’m guessing there was many a night when he got several dinners.

Shortly after E was born, I made this video, which sums up his new life. I know, poor dog. Most of the time he sits on the non-nice couch by himself and sulks. Like in this video, but without the Celine Dion.

And, true confession: HE DRIVES ME CRAZY. He is part poodle (read: neurotic) and part schnauzer [terrier] (read: willful), so he is very cute but is basically a neurotic twerp. (Caveat: I love animals. I love my dog and most dogs, in fact. But my point in all of this is to reconcile my love/hate-is-a-strong-word relationship with my dog with the introduction of an actual, non-furry “child” in my life. ) He barks. A lot. He doesn’t like being left alone in the house (or anywhere else, for that matter), and will extract his revenge, chewing up beloved items (especially E’s toys) if they are left within his reach. He thinks he is the alpha dog, and it’s a daily, if not constant, battle of wills to prove that no, no he is not. (Case in point: When we were doing obedience training, the teacher pulled us aside and said our dog has an attitude problem and would be needing private lessons.) He is often a complete jerk on leash (no pun intended), can be worse off-leash, is aggressive towards other dogs (especially when we’re walking with E, AKA the “weak one” of the “pack”), and has been having ahem, some digestive issues. Like all over the rug. (Note: This is the second rug we’ve had since E was born. One day, after doing a yoga DVD and wondering aloud several times “What *is* that smell?” I found, when rolling up my mat, that I had been exercising on a puddle of dog pee. Awesome.)

Dog meeting baby; our former carpet in the background

BUT! While his faults are many, I’m glad we have him. E *LOVES* him. In fact, her first word was “Maaay” (short for “Mason”) (probably because she heard it yelled so many times). He is her furry-faced friend, and even if she doesn’t want to leave the park or the wading pool or wherever we happen to be, I can always get her excited about coming home because she gets to see the dog.

Also, pets are very good for kids, especially their immune systems. Possibly because, “When a child plays with a dog or a cat, the animals usually lick him. That lick transfers bacteria that live in animals’ mouths, and the exposure to the bacteria may change the way the child’s immune system responds to other allergens.” (Um, how do you think I got over being a germaphobe?) Not to mention all the shmutz that the dog tracks in the house…

I know I spent the majority of this post listing his faults, but the truth is the benefits he brings to our family–the love, the companionship, the hours of entertainment (E loves to throw the ball for him)–far outweigh the annoyances. Most days.

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