When my husband & I first met, one of the first things that we agreed on was that we did not want to have children. We were always on the go, with parties, sporting events & travel. A child was far too much responsibility for a couple with our life style. We didn’t even have the time for a pet.
One day a good friend of ours asked us if we would be willing to foster a rescue dog. He was an Australian Cattle dog pup from Tennessee & just needed a temporary home until he found a family to adopt him. Why not? It was only short term…or so I thought. As soon as I saw him, it was love at first sight.
Duke became a member of our family.
For a couple that wasn’t having any children, he became like a furry adopted son to us. He slept in our bed, cuddled with us on the couch & even traveled with us.
Then it happened…
The couple, who didn’t want babies, changed their mind. Only a month after deciding that we wanted to extend our family, we found out that we were expecting.
Duke was excited when he found out that he was going to be a big brother. He curled up with his little sister, still inside my belly, every night.
As it got closer to my due date, we began to worry. How he would react when we finally brought her home? Would he be jealous? Would he jump up on her? Could we still have him on our bed, with the baby in the co-sleeper? I did a lot of reading about babies & dogs. I was worried, but I vowed that I would still give my furry little guy just as much love as before. That was easier said than done.
The big day finally arrived. Our baby girl was born. It was time to bring Mai home. Carrying her through the door, Duke reacted with his usual greeting of jumps & licks. Our reaction to him, however, changed a bit. What used to be a hug & a pat on the head was now a firm hand pushing his affection away. We didn’t want him hurting the baby.
That first night I am sure was confusing for him. The lap that was normally reserved for him had a stranger on it. He now took the backseat to this new little girl.
The first few months were difficult for him. He developed anxiety & licked his paws until he gave himself sores. He couldn’t understand why his mommy & daddy would yell at him when he would jump up on the couch or bark at the UPS man. It is what he had always done. The veterinarian told us he was depressed. This made us feel horrible, but at the same time this dog that I once adored, became the recipient of my anger & resentment. “He’s going to wake the baby.” “There is dog hair all over her toys.” “He better not jump up on her.” Life had changed dramatically for all of us. Duke was no longer mommy & daddy’s favorite.
Still he was curious about this little creature that screamed and pooped a lot. What is all the fuss? I’m cute too & I poop outside. It was time for him to investigate.
He sniffed, he licked & he stared. In time he learned not to jump or run around her. He touched her gently and gave his little sister loving puppy kisses.
As time went on, she learned to love him back …
Until one day they became the best of friends.
While most of the love that we used to give to Duke, has been taken away & given to our daughter. She gives him back enough to more than make up for it. Mai has a big brother. He has fur and bad breath & she loves him.
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