Fur-babies after Real-babies
My hubby and I got Otto for free from a friend whose dog had puppies they were trying to find homes for. We knew we wanted a dog but wanted to wait a bit longer – we are planners, after all, and we didn’t have a fence at the house yet. Buuuuuut, there were these puppieeeeees and they neeeeeeeded homes. So with a bit of nagging – what every husband dreams of out of his wife of 7 months – we got the dog, sight-unseen. And luckily, he was great…adorable, sweet, cute, cuddly, adorable, playful, snuggly, and adorable. We loved that mutt through kennel training, housebreaking, and late-night howling. And in spite of and after all that cr@p, he really was and still is a good boy. We still love our Otto-man. Ursula came along a short 9 months later, not as a result of a drunken night of passion, but as a result of a 1/2 off Puppypalooza sale at the humane society. She was the prettiest little black fur ball in the litter with her white-tipped paws and she was energetic and playful when we introduced her to soon-to-be big brother at the shelter. She was a little more of a handful, and two dogs without a fenced yard was kind of obnoxious, but we made it work and made it through what we thought were rough patches pretty well.
Both Otto and Ursula are really great dogs. Really, they wouldn’t dream of chewing on things not given to them, even if the things are strewn about on the floor or if the things are dirty underwear or feminine hygiene products – thankfully they have no interest! And these dogs can hold their bladders and bowels for hours and hours – days, actually, if it’s around the Fourth of July. I seriously can’t remember the last “accident”. It was YEARS ago, back when they were wee pups.
Okay, so we get the dog, we get the other dog, and we live happily ever after, right? Well, fast forward about 7 years….Enter: Baby. You know how everyone who knows best always says the dog or cat will mean nothing to you after you have a kid and you think to yourself, that will never be me & [insert pet name here]!? Well, they do make a bit of sense, although I would say it’s more of a priority shift than a change of heart. Now I totally see why people get rid of their pets after they have kids.
I had been feeling bad about the dogs being slightly neglected toward the end of my pregnancy with how busy we were, and sort of excited that I’d be home for a few months on maternity leave so they’d get more attention. What a little fairy tale I worked up in my mind! …my sweet, well-behaved dogs and I would nap and snuggle while my sweet, well-behaved baby slept (as per the schedule, of course), and they’d keep me company, be adorable little guardians over the baby, and we’d all be buddies. In my mind I’d also be showered and dressed and wearing makeup and contacts. And my house would be clean, organized, and sparkling. And I was gonna workout regularly. Okay, the last bits don’t have anything to do with the dogs, they just help you see the LaLaLand I envisioned. And really, it didn’t seem ridiculous at the time – I mean, I was gonna be home all day, scratchin’ my @$$, eating bon-bons, and watching Netflix – time and energy wouldn’t be an issue. Duh.
So, the dogs. After we brought baby boy home, everything the dogs did would piss me right off. They needed something all day, every day. I’d stumble into the nursery to take care of the poopmonster, and they’d be crying and whining for their breakfast all the while, just begging me to walk out there and serve them knuckle sandwiches. They’d do their little feed-me-feed-me-now shuffle as soon as I’d bring my little bundle into the living room to give him his breakfast straight from my tap, and he was none too patient either. I’d make it out there, juggle the baby and the dog food bowls and manage to keep upright holding the baby as I squatted down to haphazardly scoop food into their bowls. I wised up after a couple weeks and had the hubby feed them when he left for work – one less thing on my plate. So then when I came out I’d call for the dogs to go outside before I nestled in to feed the baby. Ursula always showed up. Otto, not so much. He’d be too lazy and jerkish to actually leave his comfy leather couch in the basement. That is, until…
I would carefully build my bunker. My nursing station. I would make sure to have my monster jug of water with me to help keep my monster milk jugs full. I would be certain to grab a burp rag because Reid spews like something from The Exorcist. And I would utilize my unnaturally large feet and toes to pick the Boppy up off the floor (aka the home for all baby junk…but that’s a whole other rant). My phone would be plugged into the 10-ft long cord that I ordered online, which may have been one of the best purchases I ever made, so I could constantly use my Similac app so I’d know which boob to shove at the kid first and log how long he nursed on each and enter in the exact times I changed his diapers along with if they were poo, pee, or a combo of the two. I didn’t use the function of the app that logs his sleep, though, because 1) THAT would be ridiculous, and 2) I don’t think he did sleep, actually… Last but certainly not least, I had the remote readily available within reach. When you know you’re not moving your hemorrhoid-riddled a$$ (thanks, kid!) out of this spot for at LEAST 30 minutes with no chance of even moving, you don’t screw around.
My little guy would start doing his thing and then – and ONLY then – would Otto start making his poop cry at the back door. And my response was “%#&@ you, Otto, you’re just gonna have to &$%#ing hold it. You had your God #%&@ chance!” Or at least it was always something along those lines – give or take but mostly give some curse words and name calling and insults. On a few rare occasions when I thought Otto was dangerously serious I actually got up, holding the baby ever so carefully as to not break his latch, and hobbled over to the door, boobs blazing, to let Otto out.
***Whilst typing that last sentence, no joke, that little bastard dog made the exact yippy noise I’ve grown to despise over the course of the last 8 years, even more so in the last 8 months. And I beat the sh!t out of my keyboard with every letter I typed after I heard it.***
Moving on, I’d let the d@mn dog out and waddle back over to the recliner to get settled back into the feeding. Usually about 7 seconds from the time I sit back down – YIIIIIIIP! It’s Otto’s I-want-back-in cry. And it boils my blood. Seriously, it makes my heart rate jump. It’s high-pitched and loud and just effing horrible. It’s always been horrible, but throw in a defenseless little blob of flesh that needs my every shred of attention and patience, and I don’t have the wits about me to not want to go postal on my annoying beast. Repeat these in-and-outs multiple times per day. Per hour, even. And it’s mega-frustrating when I know that when the hubby and I aren’t home the dogs just lay there and sleep and hold their bladders for the entire day. It’s like they think us being home makes it okay for them to be needy douchebags.
And Ursula isn’t Miss Innocent either. She’s not as annoying with the in-and-out routine because she’s a loner and she likes it outdoors…some days I don’t think I’d see her if she didn’t want her morning and evening meals. But she does enjoy contributing to &/or initiating the Twilight Bark, all day long. Sometimes I think some dalmatian puppies must have gone missing and she’s relaying information to Scotland Yard. Sorry, neighbors!
And especially now that little man is army crawling around, Ursula’s shedding is a real nuisance. It always has been, and I’d vacuum each week (sometimes more, but usually just once) and that seemed good. Now I pick my son up off the ground and cringe at the sight of the sleeves and belly of his onesie, with all the dust, dirt, and hair it collects, and sometimes there’s dog hair stuck to the drool or formula or spit up that’s stuck to his skin. Gross. And I keep a fairly clean house. It’s not, like, maid service clean, but I do my chores each weekend – vacuuming, dusting, laundry, etc, and pick up the house every couple days. But Ursula hair is relentless. If you pet her there will be tumbleweeds of her hair blowing across the floor, or tufts of fur sitting on the carpet like dead mice. It’s so bad I don’t want to touch or even look at her for fear of making her shed.
There are other things the dogs do to bug me, of course: They now wander around naked (sans collars) because their tags jingle so loudly I’m afraid they’ll wake the baby when they walk around and shake their bods. When the doorbell rings or a neighbor dog is outside they bark, which either startles mister guy into crying or risks waking him up. They are always underfoot either begging for food or what seems like trying to make me trip and fall. They jump on me when I walk in the door carrying a car seat and baby, my laptop bag, my purse, and the diaper bag. They lick me & the baby with their foul-smelling tongues and mouths, which reek like a dead bird wrapped in salmon.
I’m sure there are people who honestly have “incidents” between their pets and their kids, and that some kids actually are “allergic” to the pets. I also completely understand why people BS about these things as excuses to kick the pets to the curb. Incidents & allergies makes them feel less bad for giving the pets up and justifies them doing so. And really, if you’re at the point of wanting to give up a pet, it’s better off elsewhere anyway. Not being mean or judge-y, just stating the obvious that if you’re truly unhappy with your animal to the point you no longer want it in the house or to see it every day or to love it, you’re doing the right thing finding it a new home that can give it the attention it needs and deserves.
Now if your dog is Cujo or the Jeffrey Dahmer of canines or something, well, that’s a different story. I’m not saying you should wrap your kid in bacon, set in on the floor, leave the room, and see what happens. Everyone knows their animals pretty well and should carefully monitor their interaction with their kids. Sometimes some animals ARE wrong for homes with kids. I’m just saying, I see it happen over and over and I guess I just doubt whether there is always a legitimate problem or if the animal just bug the Christ out of the owners in a special way after Junior comes along.
It’s a lot of work, and my dogs annoy the bejeezus out of me now that I have to take care of a kid who, no contest, trumps the dogs on every level. But I still can’t imagine ever giving Otto or Ursula away, and I will legit lose it and ugly cry when one of them goes. They are my first pets ever and I heart them. And despite the things they do that make me want to kill them, overall they are still a lot of fun and little lovers who just want love and attention. I definitely look forward to watching my son grow and play with Otto and Ursula as long as they’re around.