Before my infant arrived, my dog WAS my baby. From the moment I saw her giant, chocolate eyes, I was totally in love. Every snuffle, tail wag and wobbly walk was met with cries of amazement. When she learned to go on the grass, I thought I had the smartest dog in the world.
My chocolate Lab and I went everywhere together. She was my constant and favorite companion. I thought our relationship would never change – until I met my husband. He quickly joined our twosome and shared hugs and belly rubs with our puppy. Everyone was happy.
Until, of course, our threesome became a foursome with the arrival of our baby. My husband and I were elated, while our chocolate companion was devastated.
We tried to prepare our dog in advance for the arrival, following suggestions on blogs like introducing her to the new baby’s things, and starting to get her on the schedule we hoped to follow post-baby arrival.
When we brought our baby home, we worked to integrate our newest member with all three family members. Teaching our dog how to behave around the newest tiny addition, and reassuring her that everything would be fine when the high-pitched newborn wails made her freak out.
How could we become a happy foursome?
While it was hard in the beginning, we carved out time for our Lab whenever we could, made sure she was still walked every day and gave her as much attention as possible.
Our dog remained wary of our new addition, uncertain of her place in our family. I tried to give her special attention as our baby grew older and developed a routine –like belly rubs on the couch after the baby was in bed.
And as time went on, I noticed that my family became the foursome I had hoped it would be. Our canine friend learning to love and protect our baby, and our baby, in turn, fell madly in love with her big, furry protector.
The relationship developing between these two souls is beautiful. Best friends in the making, and hopefully, for our child, sowing a seed to become a lifelong lover of animals, just like her parents.
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.