A Boy and His Dog

During my first bridal shower, my sister had everyone write something down on an "advice" card.  One of the advice givers said, "Don't forget Murphy - he still needs love too!"

At the time I thought, "Pshaw! How could we ever forget about Murphy!?!? He's our baby dog!"  I truly believed that we would easily and effortlessly be able to give equal amounts of loving attention to both our baby and our dog.

But now I get it.  I get why people say that your dog becomes "just a dog" after you have a baby.  I get why people are worried or cautious when they bring a baby home from the hospital for the first time.

Murphy was used to being "top dog." He has been the sole object of our affection for the past 6 years.  Then, all of a sudden there was this tiny little creature that needed way more attention than we ever thought possible.

We would lay EH on the floor for "tummy time" and Murphy thought that was play time.  He would paw at our hands to get us to pet him, or bring his alien toy to us to throw.  We tried to give him attention while helping him to understand that he could not treat the baby the same way that he treats us.  He seemed to understand this from the very beginning and he never did anything to hurt EH.  (In the picture above I assure you that he didn't scratch EH at all.)

Then there was the noise.  One of the first nights that we had EH home we forgot to put Murphy in his crate at bedtime, so he had the run of the house, and was in fact closed out of our bedroom where he usually sleeps.  When EH started crying in the middle of the night and the noise was amplified by the monitor in the living room, Murphy started barking at the monitor like a maniac.  I'm pretty sure he thought that someone was breaking in. It was hilarious in one of those I'm-so-exhausted-everything-is-funny sort of ways.

Murph's jealous of EH was obvious from the beginning.  He could not understand why we were laying out these soft fluffy blankets and pillows and telling him that he wasn't allowed to lay on them.  At some point we relaxed a little on the refusal to let Murphy touch EH's things, as we realized that we were not going to be able to shelter him from dog fur forever.  We draw the line at puppy kisses though.  At least for right now.

The truth is, Murphy is struggling to find his place in this new family, where he is no longer the only creature vying for our affection.  But he's finding his place.  He understands that EH is here to stay, and he's gradually showing some interest in him, usually in his oh-so-dog way of sniffing EH's butt.  Seriously.

He is drawn to all things that belong to EH - his boppy pillow, his burp cloths, his blankets - and it's almost as if he things that if he spends more time around EH's things then maybe we'll spend more time with him.  As life with a newborn becomes life with a three-month-old and things are finally starting to calm down, we are finding that we have more time to spend with Murphy and even though it's usually more stressful than it's worth, we've started taking him on our walks again.  (We stopped taking him for awhile because he's so mean when he sees other dogs that he was an embarrassment.)

One thing hasn't changed though, and that's that Murphy is still an amazingly good dog.  I'm so grateful that we never had to be worried about him accidentally doing something to EH - we were cautious, but never worried.  It's as if he sensed that this new little being was something that needed to be treated with care and caution, and even though he's definitely jealous, he's jealous in a mostly gentle, respectful way.

These first couple of months with EH were soooo hard, but I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I absolutely love and adore every single member of our little family of four, and I can't wait to see where we go from here.


Corinne said...

aww I absolutely love all the photos!
I bet once EH gets older and he's able to interact with Murphy things will continue to get better and better!

Suzi said...


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