Before I was a mum, I made many naïve promises to myself about how I would parent. I swore I would never smell my kid’s nappy in mixed company, never discuss the boring intricacies of her sleep habits, and not compare her milestones to other babies’. (Did all of them, by the way.) But the big one was this: I would never neglect my dog.
We had our cockapoo Moxie (that's her, left) for two years before our first daughter came along. Taking care of Moxie prepared us for parenthood in so many ways — we took her to vet appointments, walked her despite the rain and cold, and even bought her a paw-print party hat to wear on her birthday (anthropomorphizing much?)
When I was pregnant, I agonized about how to introduce our new baby to Moxie. How would these two very important members of our family get along? We did what the books told us to do: My husband brought one of our baby’s receiving blankets home from the hospital for Moxie to sniff before the baby and I came home. A few days later, the introduction went great and Moxie has continued to be very gentle with my daughter — even when our little girl pulls Moxie's tail.
Two-and-a-half years and one more baby later, poor Moxie has been knocked down from her perch as the most-fussed over dependent. She doesn’t get as many walks as she used to. When visitors come to the house, they immediately start cooing over the girls rather than Moxie, despite her insistent tail-wagging and jumping. About that jumping — because we were unable to train that habit out of her, she has to wait outside or in a bedroom with the door closed during play dates so that she doesn’t jump on our toddler guests, knock them over, and make them cry.
There are upsides for Moxie though, the main one being all of the food that falls on the floor. She now camps out underneath the high chair during meals, ready to lick up a glob of pureed sweet potato or eat an errant noodle. There are all kinds of new and interesting smells. Someone is always home now, whereas she used to log hours alone when I was working full-time.
Plus, she doesn’t have to wear that stupid party hat every year on her birthday.
How has your relationship with your pet changed with parenthood?