Today's guest post comes from Sara of Life in These Times, a fantastic blog about being a mother, a DIY-er, a wife, and a pet parent. Sara has been a co-worker of mine at two different Atlanta agencies, and I always love hearing about her daughter, Keelin, and her two Boston Terriers. Now, you get to hear about them too!
I’ve always loved dogs. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. So, the likelihood that the titles of ‘pet owner’ and ‘mother’ would eventually cross paths was inevitable from the beginning.
Now to follow with the ‘normal’ chain of events, I did the expected. Met a guy, dated, got engaged, got married, had a slue of failed pet experiences (ok, maybe that’s not the norm), bought a house, and finally settled down with the title of ‘pet owner’ in 2010 when the hubs and I adopted two very rambunctious Boston Terrier puppies. They pooped, they ate, they slept, they snored, and eventually they learned the rules of the road and fit right in as members of the family. It may not have been the best idea to bring home two at once, and we’ve got photo documentation of their destruction around the house to prove it, but we really do love our little fart machines. Fast forward to the spring of 2011 when we learned we’d be adding another member to our family circus, this one only having two feet, and our concerns suddenly switched from whether or not we remembered to give them their Heartguard to "how are they going to do with a new baby in the house?"
We weren’t worried about them being aggressive, but we knew that the high energy terrier in them may cause some trouble. It wasn’t uncommon for them to get each other riled up playing and run over everything in their path. So, of course, this terrified soon-to-be-new-mom had one too many images of them stampeding right over my fresh-out-of-the-oven bun during tummy time. While we did a little bit of training with them (i.e. buying a baby doll that I would hold to teach them not to rush me or jump up when I was holding it) for the most part we just crossed our fingers that they would have a good relationship from the start. And thankfully, they did.
The day we brought our daughter home the dogs were kind of the last things on our minds. Before we got home, we sent my parents back to the house with one of our daughter’s first hats so they could smell her before she arrived. I don’t know if any of our preemptive actions really mattered in the end, but for the most part they didn’t pay her much attention... until she started crying. Once that strange noise started ringing through the house they were on high alert and would follow me around as I tried to quiet my fussy babe. Gradually they became more curious and friendly and now, almost a year and a half later, they are best pals. Our daughter loves to pet, chase, and snuggle with them. And by snuggle I mean diving head-first on top of them. They are good sports about it and usually let her join them on the floor. On the off chance that they’re not in the mood for a snuggle session they’ll calmly get up and walk away, at which point she normally follows them to their new spot and starts the whole sequence over again.
The relationship between animals and children is truly fascinating. As my daughter’s cognitive and motor skills have developed, so has her interaction with the dogs. It’s like they know what she’s capable of as she learns and grows and there is always an underlying sense that they need to protect her. They are alert when she cries, tolerant when she’s in their face, and over all they love being around her. I’m so thankful that they were not only able to watch her grow in my tummy, which they would snuggle up to whenever I would sit or lay down on the floor, but are now able to watch her, and our future children, grow. So, now that I’ve tackled the ‘pet owner’ and ‘mother’ titles… what next? We shall see.