Introducing Pet and New Baby
Veterinarian Reviewed on November 3, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
How I Coped With The New Addition (Not Well, Apparently, But Boy Is My Human Smart)! I love human babies. I love the way they smell, I love the way they laugh, I love the way they eat (it’s everywhere, I get to lick it off) – and when they start solids, oh my Dog. Do I feel lucky.
I can say this now, since my favorite little human is a fine, strapping young man who was once a foreign blob – we’ve had time to learn how to appreciate each other. But pre-kid, I knew nothing. And that not knowing almost ran me – and my human Sage – up the wall.
Sage and I were the best twosome on the planet. She brought me home as a puppy and fostered my intense border collie nature, giving me beyond enough stimulation to temper my stalking needs. I never even tried to manipulate her with my wily collie ways – she had me at “that’ll do”. I grew, and our routine together remained a blissful combo of noshing, fetching, walking, gallivanting, and grooming. Mine was definitely a dog’s life.
And then one day, Sage had a new pet. It was a strange one, one that I was not familiar with – it was attached to her belly. “What IS that?” I thought, before I yipped. And yipped, and yipped, and yipped.
It appeared as though she liked petting it more than me, too.
The more it grew, the less time she seemed to spend with me. Where we once had adventures together through the woods around our house, I was now relegated more often to the back yard to the tune of foreboding words like “tugging” and “pulling”. Being the boundless creature of energy that I am, I took the opportunity to carve a perfect circle into the earth with my paws; possessing a rather creative flair I imagined decorating it with bones or socks.
I became curiously obsessed with daily happenings, and the need to continually broadcast, “The curtain is moving! The curtain is moving! The curtain is moving” or “The cat is near! The cat is near! The cat is near!”.
I got hoarse.
Don’t get me wrong, my human Sage spent lots of time petting, brushing and loving me, but things just weren’t the same. And I felt it.
I couldn’t take it anymore. One day I finally totally regressed into my terrible-twos – major chewing, major destruction. Temper Tantrum Central – Dawg, I took the ride to Bad Pup Town! I was out of control. It was when Sage arrived home that afternoon to find me cramming my chops with pillow stuffing, that I think we both knew things had to change. I hung my tail in shame – she popped a hit of Matricalm for Dogs into my mouth. I tasted, I swallowed. I gave her my “My Dog, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!” face. And then I napped.
When I woke, I felt at peace. Sage was not around, and in her place was her sister who began to leave strange, sweet smelling things around the house. Normally a new blanket or sock would be “paws off” territory, but this time around it was all free game. I mean she practically threw the newbie stuff at me! I investigated, I licked, I rolled, I circled. I slept with my new pack. I was happy.
And then, Sage came back with a new bundle that smelled EXACTLY like my herd. Was I glad to see her! And if I may woof, relatively calm. I knew what to do. Sitting obediently by her side, I waited patiently until she gave the signal to approach for pet. I obeyed, I reaped the caressing reward. And when I finally got to meet the new addition, it was puppy love all over again. I just knew everything was going to be ok.
For many families the arrival of a new baby can be an exciting, but challenging time. So many of my cat and dog pals have spent one too many nights in the dog house, only because they didn’t know how to manage the feelings that came with the changes. Sage and I both swear by Matricalm, which helped bring me back to dog, and a collection of tips our friends at the Humane Society put together. Check them out here:
Will I ever lose my cool in the face of change again? I don’t think so, baby.
And now I hope, neither will you.
Your pal, Buster
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan