His faults are so much clearer now. But, I made a commitment to him. We’ve spent years together. I love him, but I don’t always like him. I just can’t believe how much my feelings have changed towards him after having a baby.
My dog is a complete pain in the ass.
When my husband was working on his Master’s, he worked an internship at a local youth shelter along with his full-time job. We had just gotten married and he was spending 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day working and every other weekend on campus. Then of course he had to study in between and sleep at some point. One day, he was sitting at his internship job and another worker was talking about his hellion of a dog she got and was looking to re-home or give to an animal shelter. The dog was originally from a breeder (French bulldog/Boston terrier mix), then the first home wasn’t a good fit, so he went to another home, then another home and as the employee was telling this story, the dog hopped right up in his lap and of course, he said, “He’s coming home with me.”
The dog came with a name, Cash, lots of puppy energy and lots of bad habits he had learned and perfected throughout his various homes.
So, we had him neutered, because that’s what responsible pet owners do, and we also hoped it might calm him down a bit.
Didn’t even phase him. So then we went through a rigorous behavioral training course. And he graduated!
But I think the instructor just pushed him through. He was still an absolute little shit.
I’ve always heard people compare having dogs to having children and now when I hear it, it makes my eye twitch. Having a dog is NOTHING like having a baby. Nothing. It does very little to prepare you, except maybe that you’re taking responsibility and care for an animal that requires a small fraction of the responsibility and care an infant does. We put the dog in a kennel and leave the house for hours. I have to fill his bowl up with food once or twice a day. Take him out to pee. It truly does not compare to the constant, around the clock care an infant needs. [Note: I’m talking about the average dog and the average infant. Please don’t comment about how much care you give your three-legged, one-eyed dog you feed with a bottle six times a day.]
There are several very common reasons for re-homing or giving a dog to a shelter and one of the biggies is the birth of a new baby. Sometimes the dogs have serious behavioral issues and become aggressive toward the new baby and sometimes parents just find balancing a baby and dog to be too much. I think as parents who have dogs, if we’re being honest, we get it. I totally get it.
Say your baby is finally old enough to sleep through the night. He’s going on a blissful, long stretch and so are you and your partner. It’s like a Serta commercial. Everyone’s sleeping the most they’ve slept in sooo long and… *bark* *bark* Dog needs to go out. Baby wakes up. Good morning. It’s over.
You get your child a wooden toy, free of lead paint, dangerous materials and other things that make the toy three times the price of something you could pick up at Target. Annnnnd the dog chews it up, almost immediately.
Your toddler skipped a nap, is cranky, just spilled milk all over the floor, has an horribly stinky diaper, dinner is about to burn on the stovetop annnnnnnd… *bark* *bark* dog needs to go out.
You have approximately two seconds to go get the dog from outside before your baby cries because he thinks you abandoned him and *surprise* the dog is completely covered in mud. Wait, is that mud? No. No, it’s not mud…
The dog hasn’t really changed. But everything around the dog has changed and we have changed. The baby is the new top priority and everything and everyone else falls behind. As our love and attention for the new baby grows, our patience for the dog shrinks. Of course, that’s not the dog’s fault. The dog’s just trying to adapt to this new environment like we are.
He is a pain in the ass, but he’s our pain in the ass.