I’ve thought this for a while, but the last few weeks have really convinced me that I was right all along.
Dogs are excellent practice for babies.
Or at the very least, my dogs are.
There are the obvious reasons — some little thing is totally dependent on us for food and shelter. You can’t stay out all night, because you have to get home to feed the dogs and let them out. You can’t sleep in either, because the dogs probably need to pee.
But these two dogs? Oh man, they’re killing me lately. They’re so cute, and I love them — but lately I just want to make them live in the backyard. (Mothers I know and trust assure me this is very similar to the first year at home with a new baby, so I know I’m onto something.)
The little dog made our lives hell when we brought him home (he was skittish, and afraid of everything that moved, and had a lot of separation anxiety) but things got better after the first six months. Now he’s the most obedient member of the household, which I appreciate. But still:
He throws up everywhere, when you least expect it. It’s not really his fault. When you gotta vom, you gotta vom (which has become painfully obvious to me now that I’m pregnant). But he has the uncanny ability to spring it on you when you least expect it. About to walk out the door, and you’re almost running late? Blaaagh! Thinking about going to sleep in the next 20 minutes? Vooooommmm all over your bedsheets! Tired and worked all day? Surprise, look what I left you in the shag carpet!
He stinks, all the time. Jake’s favorite thing in the world, is smelling like shit. Or, I guess more specifically, urine. Or sometimes if he’s lucky, decomposing leaves. He will find the smelliest thing in the yard, and roll in it until he can’t see straight. Then he likes to run upstairs and roll on our bed, because he loves me so much.
He is happiest laying on top of you. Unlike a human baby, Jake does not like to be picked up. There’s a lot of scratching and flailing. But he does want to lay or sit on top of you, no matter what you’re doing. He is happiest right on top of your chest, with his stink-covered neck just inches away from your unsuspecting face. Then he falls asleep, and is so cute, you don’t want to wake him up even though you really need to use the bathroom.
The big dog looks sweet and innocent. And for the most part, this is the case. But she’s developed some new habits lately, that, well:
She refuses to go to bed. I’m not sure what happened, but after almost four years of the exact same bedtime routine, Daisy has decided that she’s just not doing it anymore. At first I thought it was some sort of summertime senioritis, or maybe she’s just an insolent teenager like I was. All I know is, she refuses to come inside at night, resulting in us chasing her around the pool and trying to herd her towards the backdoor. Then she avoids her crate like the plague. She tries to sleep on the sofa, or sneak upstairs to sleep in our bed (which she’s never done) or in the guestroom, like we won’t notice.
She ignores everything we say. Daisy, come here! Nope. Daisy, here’s a treat! Not interested. Daisy, if you don’t go to bed, we’re going to strangle you! I know you’re full of it, Mom. Daisy, I love you and I’m begging you to come inside. Screw you guys, I’m hiding in the bushes! Daisy, that’s not your bed. I DO WHAT I WANT!
She cries incessantly. This unfortunately, is not a new development. She is the squeekiest, whiniest dog I’ve ever met. She cries to go out, and cries to come in (unless, of course, it’s bedtime). She cries for attention, and cries when you’re petting her and she’s happy. She cries if someone walks by the house, or if she thinks she saw a cat. She never. stops. crying.
Luckily for both of them, they’re really cute.*
*I feel like this will also apply to Mr. Baby, come October.