Abby and Emma

Dogs and New Babies

A baby is a new addition to the home that comes with many changes and sacrifices. Time and focus are now divided even more and it is extremely easy to overlook the needs of others in the household when you suddenly have a brand new being for which to care. We all know that it is difficult for siblings to adapt to the adventurous situation of a new brother or sister but we often forget about the feelings of our beloved pets. Ok, maybe not so much the goldfish or the turtle, but if you happen to have a dog or a cat, you know exactly what I mean. A baby is a major change for our little furry family members and they must learn to adapt to the situation as well. Our dog, Abby, was no exception the day we brought home our daughter Emma from the hospital.

Abby was the “baby” of our family for years. Aside from looking slightly different than the rest of us and the extreme language barrier, I’m fairly confident she thinks she is human. When we painted and decorated the nursery, Abby would sit in the room as if it were going to be her new room. People say that dogs know when a woman is pregnant and that may be true; if it is true, Abby simply ignored that little fact and went about her normal rituals… afternoon walks, sitting by the steak cooker (the gas grill), cleaning up after the kids in the kitchen and snuggle time on the couch with Daddy. Ah yes, life for baby Abby was good but little did she know, all was about to change.

Abby is no stranger to having babies visit the home because my wife and I have nieces and nephews; Abby also knew that at the end of the day, the babies went home. Emma was a different story obviously. When we arrived home with Emma, Abby was more excited to see her mommy since my wife had spent the last three days in the hospital. You would think “Mommy” had been gone for years the way Abby acted when she walked in the door. She was so excited to see my wife, she overlooked the fact that we brought a baby in with us; that soon changed.

When Abby finally noticed the baby, she was a bit apprehensive but she didn’t seem to mind us giving the baby so much attention. After all, the baby was going home at the end of the day, right? Well of course baby Emma was home and it’s a good thing animals can’t speak because we surely would have been in for it! Why did you bring this baby home? Why does this little human get to sleep in my new room? Why does she get all of my mom’s and dad’s attention? When is it my turn to have a bottle? When is this baby going to go home? Again, when is it my turn to have a bottle? Why is Daddy cuddling with the baby instead of me? This baby better not get any steak! Needless to say, Abby was extremely jealous of baby Emma.

After a few weeks of everyone adapting to the big change, things began to settle down a bit and Abby realized that baby Emma was not going anywhere. One night, as Emma slept in my arms, Abby quietly inched her way way over and to us and snuggled against me on the couch. As time went on, Abby slowly warmed up to baby Emma and understood that Emma was a part of the family, too. Don’t get me wrong, Abby still gets a little jealous from time to time but overall, she is adapting well to being a big sister–albeit a furry one.