Dogs and babies, is there anything better? Maybe multiples of each? Starting a family was a huge decision for us. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but my husband was on the fence about being a Dad, and rightfully so; babies are expensive.
Kacey was our first dog that we got together. She was my husband’s first pet and a great learning experience for the both of us. Puppies really are like having a newborn. You have to feed them and play with them. Pick up their potty messes in the house and train them to go in the proper place. Teaching them your wants and disciplining them when they do something wrong, resulting in sleepless nights and frustrating days. But in the end, it’s all worth it.
Fast forward 5 years later and we are expecting our first baby boy. We are terrified and excited all at the same time. We are terrified because this is our first, terrified because people judge, terrified to do something wrong. Our dog isn’t perfect (but she’s pretty close) and we can’t correct the behaviour that bugs us most, so how can we raise a child to do right in the world? We have 9 months to get this family ready for a new member. We had kids visit the house, I took Kacey to playgrounds to get used to the noises. We would stop new moms with strollers on our walks and allow Kacey to sniff this new contraption that would soon accompany our many walks. She did great each time!
Bringing Henry home was the most terrifying thing we have ever done. No class can prepare you. You have the baby and the doctor gives you the ok to go home a day later if all is well. Well… what now? We read all the books and listened to our friend’s advice about introducing the two of them. We gave a blanket to a friend and let her take it home to Kacey and allow her to smell Henry and get used to his scent before we came home.
We brought Henry home at 1 day old. Our dog wanted nothing to do with us for the first 3 days we were home. She ran away every time Henry would cry. She would sit and stare at us from across the room with the saddest eyes. As if new mom hormones weren’t enough to make you cry at the drop of a hat, those sad eyes just tore my heart apart. It was my job to feed baby and all the dog wanted was some cuddle time. Easy enough right? Babies are time consuming little creatures and the last thing I wanted after I put Henry down for a nap was being suffocated by the dog, but how can you not? Me time became a distant memory. Finally, after a week, she warmed up to having a little brother. They were inseparable, and still are. Wherever Henry goes, Kacey follows and vice versa. I had to put the dog bed in Henry’s room because at night when I would get up to feed him, Kacey was on my heels from our bed to his.
If Henry cries, Kacey alerts us. If he falls and hurts himself, Kacey is the first to assess the situation and lick the bump. Once Henry started crawling, it was a whole new ball game, Kacey couldn’t get enough of chasing this little human around the living room. They would share toys, Henry would have Kacey’s toy in his mouth and she would bring him one of hers. It’s so heartwarming to see them together, and we laugh because we were so terrified that she would resent us for bringing home a tiny human to turn her world upside down. It’s the best thing we ever did and we’ve never looked back.
Written by Hollie Chow, Veterinary Assistant