Monday, April 15, 2013

Dogs - and their "baby" adjustment

One of the questions we got, and still get, is how the dogs adjusted to Daredevil. Both Oliver and Phinneas took it in stride from the beginning. He was cool but whatever, no big deal. Benton, on the other hand, had a harder time adjusting to everything. We'd gone to a baby ready pet class from our local humane society before so we'd worked on getting them adjusted to baby gear and babies crying (thank you, YouTube). We prepped ourselves on the initial introduction and made all those necessary arrangements.

Then, we had Daredevil, stayed in the hospital for 8 days and finally made our way home. Just like they suggested, Mr Tech Guy and I came inside first (while my mom stayed in the warm car with Daredevil) and greeted the boys. They acted really weird with me. I don't know if I smelled different from the surgery, meds, anxiety but Phin especially took awhile to approach me. Finally they greeted us and calmed down so we brought in Daredevil. We brought him in in his carseat and let them smell him in his seat first, then we took him out and let them give him so kisses and smells. At this point, Oliver and Phinneas gave him sniffles, snuggles and kisses and were over it. Benton smelled and smelled and smelled but never gave kisses and really didn't want to leave him alone. After a much longer time, he figured that Daredevil wasn't leaving and he chilled out.... until I started my breast pump. He didn't bark when the swing went but when I cranked on my pump and "lamp-post, lamp-post, lamp-post" began, he went crazy. He barked non-stop, like hysterical barking, if you can imagine. That was something we didn't have before Daredevil was born so we couldn't play it for them ahead of time. I'd say it took 72 hours or so for him to chill out when the pump was on. After that, occasionally  he would bark when Daredevil would cry but more to alert us that the baby was crying not because he was crying.

After the initial stages of introduction, Benton did well except during times of transition...grabbing, rolling over, pulling up, crawling and walking. Crawling was the worst transition because it was the first time that Daredevil was truly mobile (ie room to room) and Benton thought he should follow him everywhere and herd him to where he thought Daredevil should be, which was not where he wanted to be. By herding he would bark and nudge and bark and nudge Daredevil. Ugh. It drove us crazy. We debated finding him a new home, hiring an animal behavioralist, exercising him to exhaustion, etc. We tried water aerobics, long walks, a lot of fetch, drives, early bedtimes. It feels like we tried everything. There were days when he just plain drove us crazy despite all of our efforts.  Neither of us could bear the idea of finding him a new home and we prayed that he'd adjust to Daredevil's new mobility. We prayed hard to wisdom on what to do and the only thing we got was "wait." And so wait we did with as much patience as we could muster. We are so glad we gave him the time and space he needed to adjust and realize that the moving Daredevil was here to stay. And then, one day, he just got used to it.

Having three fur-babies who are treated like princes did cause some challenges in bringing home baby, but with time, even Benton got adjusted. All in all, I'd say that they that adjusted great and I'm so proud of my fur-baby boys!

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