‘She doesn’t want to be licked Vader!’ I plead with my four year old shih tzu for the ninth time that morning. I didn’t bring a baby home to just Vader though, I brought a baby home to Vader, Leia and Obi, the ‘Star Wars shih tzus’ and our beloved babies a long time before Jasmine came along. Nothing makes me more sick than people who look to rehome their pets once a baby is on the way, as though the pets were just a stop gap or a support act until the main event turned up. A poor dog who has showered you with unconditional love. You are their whole world, then gone, put on gumtree once the baby arrives, advertised as ‘free to good home’ which in itself is a very dangerous advert to place as often people looking for bait dogs respond to these posts! Anyhow, I digress… it’s heartbreaking. A baby was always going to enhance my family and by no means replace any members of it!
The dogs trust have a great article on introducing a new baby to pets but I simply want to give you my experience. When people ask me how the dogs find the new baby I tell them that they LOVE her, which is true! They believe she is their baby they want to protect her, Jasmine only need to whimper a little and the dogs go in to full security guard mode, giving her little licks for reassurance. I am, of course always there when they are around her but I have no concern for the love they have for her. I asked visitors to always make a fuss of the dogs first and then Jasmine second, each night I pop a treat in her hand and they gently take it from her, I talk to the dogs as I do her throughout the day. Vader is desperate to play with her, he takes her his favourite toy – a little pink egg and drops it by her head with optimistic hope that she will throw it back! At three months old I think it’s a bit ambitious! Don’t get me wrong there are those moments when I’ve just put Jasmine down for a nap and they all start barking because a leaf blew near the window, unable to tell them off and make more noise, I have to give them my unhappy stare! Also, when someone comes to the door I have to do a one legged jiggle, holding the dogs back from escaping with one foot, balancing on the other as I hold the baby. Yes, it’s hard, but I can already tell she’s going to love them, almost as much as they love her! I can’t wait to see their faces when she starts crawling around after her. Let me be clear, my dogs are incredibly placid and I would trust them with my life, always use the best approach suited to your dogs personality, but please don’t give up on them because they would never give up on you!
“The course of true love never did run smooth” Act 1, Scene 1 a midsummer nights dream – William Shakespeare