Before I had the baby, I had a lot of anxiety about how well the dogs would handle the change. I worried that they would feel rejected. That they would get depressed. That they would run away to a family without a screaming infant. I seriously shed tears over this, and I could blame it on pregnancy hormones but if I’m honest it’s just that I’m REALLY that crazy about my dogs. Just as we worried about Falcor when we adopted Enid, I knew that the birth of a baby would be an adjustment for all of us. And no matter how sure I am at times that these dogs have an admirable grasp of the English language, there was no way I could be absolutely sure they were understanding all my pep talks and comforting explanations. So I fretted. And cried. And spooned them tight against my bulging belly while the being in my belly kicked them in their heads.
Eventually, the baby was born. And we did everything we were told to do. We brought home a blanket so they could smell her. We brought them out to the car to meet her instead of simply letting her barge into their living room. And after all that worrying and all that angst…nothing happened. They sniffed her and moved on with life. They cuddle next to me while I cuddle her. We take walks together. They watch over her carefully. Falcor lies on the ground with her playfully. Enid rests her head on baby while she naps next to me. My dogs are my babies, and they love my baby. All is right with the world.
There is, however, one catch. Isn’t there always? Have you ever noticed that dog toys look a lot like child toys, and by a lot I mean exactly the same? How can Falcor, who has eviscerated every stuffed animal or squeak toy ever given to him, be expected to know that all the new toys don’t belong to him? We did our best, at the beginning, to keep him away from the baby’s plush toys. And he listened moderately well, which is really well for him. A few times I gave in and let him take a toy that had no particular sentimental or significant monetary value. He seemed happy with the consolation prizes I kept tossing in his direction.
As baby got older, we brought more and more of her toys out of the box. He looked at them all with the same level of fleeting enthusiasm. Until Sophie.
Sophie the Giraffe is basically the queen bee of all baby teether toys. She is all natural, very adorable, extremely popular. And not that cheap, when you consider that its sole purpose is for a baby to slobber all over it. But whatever. Only the best for my baby and so on. Since the baby isn’t teething, we introduced Sophie as a bath toy because she is buoyant and squeaky. And as soon as Falcor laid eyes on it, he was infatuated. Obsessed. He would stand in the bathroom, staring at Sophie resting on the side of the tub, whining. Whining the saddest little dog whine. This went on for over a month. We laughed ‘Ah hahahaha he thinks we are going to give him a $20 baby toy! Fool dog!’ Less than 48 hours later we couldn’t take his sad puss anymore and handed it over.
We were rewarded by the kind of gratitude that only a former street dog with a boutique teether in his mouth can show. He carried that thing around like it was his own infant. He brought her to bed with us. He carried her on walks. He guarded her with his life from Enid, who for what it’s worth has no interest in toys of any kind and was in no way trying to take it from him. He didn’t even put so much as a tooth mark on her, which is amazing because a toy with squeaker inside usually has it’s squeaker on the outside within 5 minutes of Falcor meeting it. A month later, he still covets her and does not bite her. It’s adorable.
Now that baby is chomping on everything in sight, we decided it was time to get her her OWN boutique baby teether that didn’t have dog slobber coated all over the exterior. So we bucked up and ordered a new Sophie on Amazon. And it arrived. And then I left to run errands.
When I got home the box was TORN open and new Sophie was next to original Sophie in Falcor’s clutches. This kid thinks he gets TWO Sophies. Hell. No.
Six hours after I confiscated new Sophie from Falcor and placed her where he couldn’t reach he was still pacing in front of her, whining. Really whining, like a crazy dog, and driving me insane. I offer him his old Sophie over and over, and he looks at it with disgust. That old thing? No way. I want the brand new one. Something MUST be different about it, because it’s NEW!
Nearly 24 hours later, I still haven’t relented. Old Sophie lays discarded on the floor like yesterday’s news. New Sophie is hidden under a blanket where neither baby nor Falcor is getting to enjoy it. Apparently, we all still have some adjusting to do.[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/21525565]