Babies and Dogs
When you have a dog before you have children, you legit think your dog is your child. I have been part of many conversations with groups of friends where someone is telling a story about their kids, and then the dog mom pipes in an talks about her dog as if dogs and kids are the same. Ok fine, the dog mom was me. I even went so far as to one day tell my husband I could not possibly imagine loving something as much as I loved our bulldog, Harley.
Fast forward a couple of years and now we have our first child Greyson. I still loved the dog, but dog love and child love are very different. Fast forward another year, and we now have the twins. Holy crap. So some real talk time... Managing kids, in my case 3 under the age of three, is pretty challenging at times. Someone is crying because their sock came off (Greyson), someone else is climbing on top of the end table and is about to knock the lamp down (Declan), and someone else just refuses to be put down (Kensington). Then you have the dog who wants to go outside, but only for a minute, and then will bark to come back in, but then needs water, but the bathroom door where is water bowl is, is shut because the twins will play in the bowl and toilet if they get in there. Ahhhhhhh! You get my point?
So the dog started acting out, eating toys (then barfing them up at 3 am), barking, just general naughty behavior because he wasn't getting enough attention. I didn't blame the dog; its not his fault, but I am completely outnumbered and if someone is going to get shorted the attention, sorry dog it's you.
My husband and I went back and forth about whether or not we should consider giving the dog to someone who could provide him with more attention. No, I did not really want to give my dog up - I love my dog; he's my first baby after all, but the reality was I was becoming a stressed and short tempered Mommy and that is no good for anyone. We put the word out and we immediately had interest. I mean he is a pure bred, pick of the litter, Old English bulldog (the handsomest one I've ever seen, wink wink). Right before Mother's Day, the interested family, who I ended up knowing because I coached their daughter in cheerleading a few years back, came over, met him, loved him, and took him home.
I mourned. I felt like a mother who gave her child up for adoption. I felt like I failed, how could I not be able to care for my family to the point where I gave my dog away? What is wrong with me? I looked up articles online to try to help with my grieving process. I tried to tell myself this was the best move for everyone. But then I would have moments where I thought to myself, he would never hurt the kids, maybe I should have just played with him instead of folding the laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or taking a shower. It was non-stop back and forth. I would check in with the family who had him and initially he was doing well.
A month went by and I was beginning to feel much less stressed out. No crazy amounts of dog hair to clean, no dog bolting out the door when I leave the door open while loading the kids in the car, no barking, no 3 am puke clean ups - it was good. Then his new mom called me and said that he had been acting very depressed, crying all the time, and stopped eating (this dog is obsessed with food so I could not believe it!). She took him to the vet and nothing was wrong, he was just sad. After some conversation about what to do, I told her that we would take him back.
The whole point was I thought he would be happier if he had more attention, but clearly he was happy being abused by my kids and yelled at by me. Since he came back home he has been better, still has his moments, but I have self-reflected and have made efforts to adjust my day and give him more attention.
Mom life can be hard, there are a lot of variables and a lot of moving pieces ALL OF THE TIME. I love my babies and I love my dog. I still carry some guilt that I gave him away in the first place, but at the end of the day we are all just trying to make it, and do our best to make the best decisions for our families right? I am happy I have a new opportunity to be a better dog mom to Harley, even if he did just recently bust open a bag of sand in our garage!
Ohhh babies and dogs, gotta love em! Anyone else have any pet/baby conflicts out there?