Dec 27, 2010  •  In Baby, Comang, Parenting, Relationships

Unconditional Love

When Heather (who had written a guest post for me last month) emailed me to let me know that Trupanion is holding a Pawliday Blog Contest, I knew that I had to participate…but I didn’t realize how difficult writing a post on the topic “How My Pet’s Love is My Holiday Gift” would be.

Because truth be told, Comang has been a brat lately.

Many of my readers have been wondering how Comang is getting along with the baby, and how he is handling the new addition to the family. And here is the answer: our dog has first child syndrome.

I have no one to blame but myself. I had read that before introducing the new baby to the household I should gradually start giving Comang less attention so that his new place in the family will not come as a shock. But I did the exact opposite because I knew that he would be receiving less attention. And by doing this I ended up doing more harm than good, because our dog now engages in behavior that he has never done before the baby.

When one of us is preoccupied with the baby, he will flippantly trot over to the other person for cuddle time.

When the baby is finally, successfully napping, he will find the loudest squeaky toy in his possession and attack the hell out of it, rousing the little one from her sleep.

And whenever we have guests over, he will go attach himself to the visitor, but not before shooting me a look that clearly states, “Well, since you’re not giving me any attention, I’ll go to this two-legger instead.” And while basking in the company’s affection, he will look over at me as if to say, “Jealous yet?”

…and I do get jealous.

I wish I had more time for Comang. I wish I could give the baby and Comang equal attention, or at least give him enough attention so that he does not feel neglected.

But at the same time, I resent him for not giving me a moment to rest when the baby is down for a nap. I resent him for waking me up earlier than usual for his morning walk when the baby is still sleeping and I could be using that extra time for sleep myself. Most of all, I resent him for making me feel guilty…as if new moms don’t experience enough guilt already!

So just how am I supposed to honestly write a post about how Comang’s love is the best holiday present with all this resentment in my heart? And that’s when it hit me.

I resent Comang because he loves me so much.

He loves me even though his status in our family has moved down a rung. He loves me even when I snap at him out of frustration. He loves me even though I haven’t been able to take him for a long walk by the river since the start of summer.

I know that having a baby requires sacrifices and adjustments from all members of the family. I just hadn’t realized that our dog would need to make sacrifices too…and I love Comang for taking it relatively well. He is patient when he has to wait an extra hour for a walk. He is unfazed when the baby is screaming her head off. Best of all, he is gentle with her and I know that although he might be jealous of her, he would never hurt her.

So here’s to you, buddy. Thank you for being such an awesome friend, first child, and an integral member of our family. And thank you for loving me with such unconditional love. I hope that you will grow to love Claire just as much, and that you two will soon become the best of friends.

8 Responses to “Unconditional Love”

  1. Pam:

    that's a great pic of claire and comang. i had very similar feelings about my dog, nikki, her getting less attention when the baby came, and i remember the first few nights of the baby crying all night, nikki would sigh real loud, and actually walked out of our room so she could get some sleep in the living room. nikki makes me go bonkers when she barks RIGHT when the baby is sleeping!! we definitely can't give nikki the attention we used to give her, but we make the best of the time we have, going on daily walks, taking her to the nearby lake to swim, car rides for our errands and family functions, and showering her with hugs in the morning and before we go to sleep. now that my baby is more aware, baby is even babbling to the dog when she comes around to investigate or lick her. i can't wait when baby and the dog are able to play with each other! dogs are awesome…they have so much unconditional love i agree.

  2. This made me cry. We have a puppy and I love her to pieces, so I can only imagine how difficult the transition will be when we do get around to having kids…A dog's love and loyalty is truly amazing, isn't it? And that picture of your darling daughter and adorable pup is too cute!

  3. Beautiful story, Jenny. :) I love how honest you are. Comang is lucky to have you, even if he isn't able to get as much attention as before. He will adapt and I'm sure that when Claire gets a little older, Comang will be her best friend and biggest protector! :)

  4. Thank you for submitting this great story to our contest. Best of luck to you!

  5. Jacqueline Stone:

    This is so sweet!

  6. I loved reading your story. I'm pretty sure our pup Emcee will behave similarly when we are blessed with children. Best of luck!

  7. Thank you for continuing to care for your dog after having a baby! As a rescue volunteer, I often end up with dogs in our home who have been abandoned because of their "first child syndrome" issues. Not everyone can handle it. It's obvious that your child and dog will be equally cared for. They are both very lucky!

  8. wing:

    that’s deep, thoughts that your dog is probably incapable of. Chanced upon your site googling full rss feeds, well u certainly practiced what u preached, and I promptly subscribed your feeds, loving it. Cute baby too. ty

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