Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dog Is My (Awesome) Co-Pilot

We love our dog. He's one of the coolest individuals I've ever met. He's massively popular. He probably has more friends than I do. But not because he's a wiggly waggly retriever-type who loves everyone so everyone loves him back. You've got to earn this dog's love. And everyone wants a piece.

Many of our friends come over specifically to see him. Not us.

Many of our friends ask to borrow him for days at a time. There are a few who actually argue over who gets to take him when we go on vacation.

He rocks.

He's mellow and chilled out almost always. Unless you get him out in an open field with a tennis ball/stick/frisbee - then he's got the focus and drive of a West Point cadet.

Or unless someone is knocking on our door, and then he's got the intensity and thinly veiled malice of a sniper with a touch of 'roid rage.

But because he's big, and he's a doberman, anyone not well acquainted with his awesomeness asks us what we're going to do with him when the baby is born.

Huh?

E always responds with something like: "we're going to put the baby in his bed with him" or "we're going to let him clean her butt off when we change her diaper."

Ha, ha, the person laughs.

But what they don't know is that she sort of means it.

Aside from the irritating breed-ism inherent in this question, I'm always shocked at how it is posed. What are we going to do with him? The better question is what the hell are we going to do with this poopy little creature who is suddenly the center of our household?

The dog I know I can handle. The baby...not so much.

The three of us are a pack. There used to be four of us, until we lost our cat. Me, E, and our fucking awesome dog, aka Aiden, Gene, Todd, or Deborah (see? we don't even gender our dog). And our tribe totally has room for another.

But I wonder...how do we do right by him? Sometimes when I watch Cesar Millan I'm convinced that the best thing for him is to get another dog. But then I realize I may be exhibiting signs of insanity.

I know we'll be preoccupied and exhausted, and I don't want him to feel left out. He's been our only child for 7 years, and I imagine he might experience a little shell shock if we don't do this right.

So I'm reaching out to those of you reading who have words of advice...what was your experience when you brought your baby home? How did you integrate baby into your pack without excluding your BFF?

10 comments:

bleu said...

When I was pregnant with Bliss I bred Dirt my mama dog. It was very purposeful and one of the smartest decisions I made. She went through labor ON my lap which was not so good and caused me contractions of my own for a bit but I got her in the box to whelp. She only had 2 and we kept one who is Henrietta (Henri) and the two of them are so great together. Dirt was a great single dog but the time does change, the focus does change and the fact that they have each other, that they spend hours a day wrestling and chasing each other, every damn day still 5 years later, shows me I made the right choice.

Another thing, when I was in the hospital and my roomie came to visit I sent her home with a receiving blanket and onsie Bliss had had on the day he was born. She gave it to the dogs, especially Dirt. When I came home a couple days later I brought the carseat inside and sat it down on the floor. Dirt walked very slowly up to the seat, Bliss was asleep, and she took like a whole minute to get right next to him, she leaned in and sniffed him about 4-5 times, then she turned around twice and lay down right in front of him as if to stake her claim. She also always jumped on the bed if I left him there a sec to run to the bathroom.
No matter how much I swore having a child would not change my relationship with my dog(s) it did, but they are still a huge part of the family and make the family whole and I cannot imagine our lives without them. I am glad though that I gave her a companion.

CD & SP said...

Well, I don't have advice per se, but we have one of those awesome dogs that people want to visit, steal and clone too. Perhaps you noticed our post recently about just how much we love our dog. There is one difference... people don't "worry" except that maybe he'll cuddle the baby to death. :) It ridiculous, and ignorant, that people would assume you don't know your dog well enough to know that no one is in danger

Becky said...

My doggie, a mix of things that has rendered him looking remarkably like a sausage with legs, seemed to get ultra protective during the last half of my pregnancy. He'd patiently sleep outside my bedroom door, follow me to and from the bathroom (I think he was afraid I was going to disappear and deliver the baby without him), and it was freaking adorable.

When Alex was born, I had my mother bring some of his blankies home while we were still him the hospital so that he could smell the baby before he saw him.

But honestly, when Alex came home, Cash fell in love with him. Still, nine months later, if he doesn't believe I'm being prompt enough in collecting Alex from his bedroom, he comes and worries me along.

And now that Alex takes great glee in both greeting him (Dooo--geeee!) and feeding him from his own food, those two are best of friends.

Sorry about the mini-blog post here.

CD & SP said...

We often contemplate this issue. SP is insisting we set up the co-sleeper *now* so that Ringo can start sleeping in it, since apparently he's going to be in the co-sleeper, with the baby. Alternate plan: get a co-sleeper for my side of the bed for Ringo.

Daisy said...

I LOVE this picture!!! It makes me happy when I look at it. Is it you? Is it E? Is it some unsuspecting woman at the dog park? Would it be creepy if I used it as my deskt*p wallpap*r? hehehe It would, aaah but who cares? You know, I don't think he is going to like it one bit when the baby comes. I think he needs to come live with US...in CA, where he won't ever need to wear a doggie jacket EVER again! Although, he may need some superstar sunglasses (bling!).

When we had DD1 we had two dogs. They were largely indifferent to her b/c they had each other, but they weren’t as close to us anymore either. The larger dog was shy around the baby (so sweet), the little one was a shithead, so we were glad they had each other for company. They were older and they both died before we had DD2.

Right before DD2 was born we got a big brown lab. A sweetheart, a lover, a doll. He stayed all of those things after she was born. He got less attention but he enjoyed the new chew toys (pacifiers, bottle nipples, teething rings) and the new snacks (he believed milk on the face...must be licked off the baby...never wiped, Cheerios, dirty diapers)...you know, the usual. :)

He was very attached to the baby. Once when my mom was baby sitting...changing a diaper (our dog at her feet), my dad was in the next room fixing the bathroom sink pounding away. She yelled at him to "STOP THAT HAMMERING" and our sweet dog looked up and growled at her.

She's totally convinced he thought she was yelling at the baby and he was protecting her. She said she had seen her own dogs do that (boxers) when we were little. She had to lock them in the bathroom when we got spanked. (A charming story, don't you think?) I do believe her though.

I think your sweet boy will think that baby is HIS, to lick and share toys with and sleep next to her crib. That's what I think.

gypsygrrl said...

i've never had a dog and a baby to deal with ~ but my granny raised dobermans. she rescued a female, and when her niece was born (a few years younger than my dad) she often was the childcare for the baby.

at first, of course, they were very vigilant about dog + baby in the same areas, especially as granny didnt raise this rescue dog. well, the dog immediately became The Marine On Duty when the baby was around, and ANYONE getting near the baby without her permission got some shiny white teeth and a growl. my granny and grandpop and my dad (and of course the baby's parents) were the only ones *allowed* to handle the baby. and even then, The Marine On Duty still watched out for that baby.

my granny says that they used to put the baby's moses basket on the floor, and the dog would curl up and lay at the feet and just watch while the baby slept.

you seem to know your dog, and if she is as sweet and amazing, i am sure as long as you ~include~ her (like sending home the baby blanket/onesie from the hospital before you come home) and make it a BIG DEAL the day you come home, that you are bringing the baby to "introduce" to HER, and not the other way around... [the baby will be the newest pack member and your doberman baby still outranks her ;)] i think she will be fine.

*sigh* please hugggg that beautiful doberman, from an IVP auntie ;)

gypsygrrl said...

i mean MY GRANNY was often the childcare for her infant niece. not the doberman dog. in case that sounded weird.

Anonymous said...

Fun question. Shaheed and I had to separte b 4 the baby. But anyhow you know all that. So I'll just say that he is the most amazingly patient spirit. He seemed to know, plus I think he was happy that I didn't insist on cuddling him all the time for hours on end, now he appreciates my cuddles more than ever. And he also knows I love him just as much as ever. But he wasn't okay with neglect or anything. He does enjoy all the attention, companionship and extra treats now that she is older.

e said...

daisy - that's me in the pic along with our beautiful boy. i recently *really* freaked someone out by saying that i couldn't imagine having any more love to give since i loved aiden so ferociously :-)

starrhillgirl said...

I have no dog advice - I am one of those cat lesbians - but I did tag you for a meme. I have also voted about 8 times in the name poll. I love voting.