When Your Fur Babies are No Longer the Baby
One thing that I can take off of my “never going to happen to me” list is that my dog has become more of, well, a dog after our daughter was born. Bernie, our Boston Terrier, is a 7-year-old rescue dog. Smart, well trained, loving, energetic, and housebroken from the start, he was always a little neurotic and anxious, which can be typical of many older rescue dogs. But when I got pregnant, he took needing Xanax to a new level. He could never seem to get comfortable, was always pacing, whining, jumping up on the kitchen table and just being a little more destructive overall.
As my pregnancy went on, so did his acting out. We were so worried that he would not handle the new baby well and we didn’t even want to think about having to rehome him if he was not good with her. The time came, our daughter was born and now we had to put into action all of the pet introduction techniques that we looked up. We had it all planned that I would walk in first on my own and make a big show about how much I missed him, then my husband would bring the baby in a couple minutes later.
As soon as the baby was inside the house, Bernie was calm; he seemed peaceful even. From that minute, it was if he made the decision himself to step down as rank of fur baby and let us tend to the new human baby as we needed. He rarely lets her out of his sight. Even when she is screaming the high-pitched newborn wail, Bernie is undeterred and right there by her side (which is incredible considering a dog’s superior hearing). As the weeks went by, he got more and more relaxed. I think maybe he saw that this unknown thing he was so worried about, was nothing to be worried about at all.
So now, he sleeps in his bed on the floor and he doesn’t get to come on as many trips as he once did. Wearing my daughter in a wrap has come in very handy for playing fetch with him in the back yard. Having her in a wrap also is great for when people are coming over and Bernie gets a little too rambunctious (he tends to get a tigger-like bounce going sometimes). We give him a lot of praise when he is around her, and I try to hold in my frustration when he gets loud and wakes her up (that takes some effort on my part). But overall he has been great. He may no longer be our fur baby anymore, but he sure is a pro at being a great fur brother to our 9 week old.