Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of walking via phone with Claire- an old friend.
I say old because we met in college, but also because we are old now.
She admitted this on our walk, in the context of the sentence: “I am so excited about my new mattress! Seriously… we are old.”
We talked about our dogs as we walked them.
Claire recently became a dog mom.
Which is different than just getting a dog.
Matt and I have been dog parents since the day we brought our dog home from the rescue.
I remember bringing him into our apartment, and introducing him to each room, while keeping him on his leash. I remember how he immediately went to jump on the bed, before we clarified for him that that was the one place he would never be allowed.
I remember letting him off the leash in the living room when we’d finished our house tour and watching him run towards us, his silly little basset hound paws grabbing after a ball as it bounced, his lopsided ears (one chihuahua, one hound) flapping in the wind.
I was totally and completely in love.
We took him everywhere- hikes, breweries, festivals, vacations. My nephew once asked my sister, “Why do Aunt Steph and Uncle Matt bring their dog everywhere?”
Although in our eyes, he is completely perfect, he can be a bit much. His claim to fame is his jumping. When you stand up from the table to clear your plate, he will follow you all the way to the sink, jumping up to chest height to try to get at your leftovers.
It is a normal part of our daily routine, but it can be quite unnerving for dinner guests.
He is not a particularly well-trained dog, and he does not particularly enjoy sharing attention. We were a little nervous about how he might react to a new baby.
So when Matt and I were leafing through the pamphlet of birth classes that the midwives had given us and found a class entitled “Dogs and Storks,” we knew we needed to take it.
The class itself was not overly informative for us.
But there was one story that we couldn’t let go of.
The instructor told us how she had been just like us. She’d been a dog mom. Her dogs were her babies.
And then she had her first child. And when she came home, and she looked at her dogs- they were suddenly just dogs. And she had to process all the guilt she felt around replacing them with her human baby.
Matt and I were traumatized. We didn’t want our dog to just be a dog. We understood, of course, that our relationship with our daughter would be on a whole new level than our relationship with our dog.
But it was hard to imagine loving anything more than we loved him.
And it was impossible to imagine loving him any less.
Maybe it was the mania- but when we brought Bailey home, and saw how instantly he warmed to her- when he smiled up at us with his same big goofy smile, as if to say, “Great job, guys! You made a good one!” He wasn’t just a dog to me.
He was a big brother.
And if anything I loved him more.
Thanks for reading,