This is Rusty. His life is going to change dramatically in just a few months, but does he know it?
Currently, Rusty is very much the baby in our house. He sleeps in bed with me and my husband (sometimes with his little head next to mine on my pillow). He gets walks whenever he demands them, and cuddles around the clock. In other words, he has a perfect doggie existence.
An existence that can only be uprooted by one thing –- this growing little bump.
This column is all about my attempts to prepare Rusty for the trauma that will unfold this fall when a new baby joins our household, and how all of us -– me, my husband, Rusty, and the soon-to-be baby –- manage to survive. I’ll be reading books, talking to experts, and trying different training methods to get Rusty ready before my late-September due date. And I’ll try my best to pass along my advice.
The first question that’s up for debate:
Does Rusty have any idea that I’m pregnant?
According to my hippy homebirth midwife, he absolutely does.
“Dogs are much more sensitive to body language and hormonal smells,” she explained. “He knows what’s going on.”
While I agree that dogs’ noses are more sensitive than humans, Rusty is the kind of guy who runs into the screen door while coming in from the backyard. Every time he comes in from the backyard. In other words, while he’s the sweetest of dogs, he’s not exactly the most astute.
So, while he may indeed recognize that I look or smell slightly different, I doubt he realizes that soon a tiny furless being will be taking over his spot in the bed, in my lap, and in my life.
On the other hand, Rusty has shown some surprising initiative where the coming baby is concerned.
We adopted Rusty two years ago, and in that time, he’s destroyed basically nothing. Sure, he’ll gnaw through a jacket to get to the treats accidentally left in the pocket. And once, when we first brought him home, he ate Wes’s shoe. But neither of these occurrences compare to what happened with the library book.
It was a book my mother had checked out of the library for me called Our Babies, Ourselves. Rusty has never taken any interest in books (despite us trying to teach him to read) so I felt fine leaving it on the couch while going out to run a few errands.
This is what I found when I got home an hour later.
It looks like somebody doesn’t want me to learn about babies. Wes says I’m being silly, that Rusty can’t read. But perhaps Rusty recognized the baby feet on the cover? Whatever his reasoning, Rusty certainly had it in for that book.
I had to bring what was left of Our Babies, Ourselves back to the library and embarrassedly explain to the librarian that my dog ate it. She was less than pleased.
Let’s just hope Rusty’s more forgiving with the baby than with the book.
Check in weekly to laugh at — I mean learn from — my success and failures at trying to spread my love, attention, and physical capacity between my beloved fur baby and my new human baby. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!