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Losing her place?

Phoebe-faceWe have a fur baby. I know that term is kind of obnoxious to those who don’t have this kind of relationship with an animal. Trust me, I didn’t understand it myself before we found our little fuzz ball.

All it took was a little bit of play and then her curling up and falling asleep in Joel’s lap….

And we completely fell in love with all 2.2 pounds of her. I mean, look at this face, how could you not?

bringing her home

This is her at 8 weeks old on the ride home from the breeder. Gah! So cute! She looks so itty bitty and different here.

She just turned 4 years old on the 4th of March and is 6 pounds of love. She is well behaved (I can’t stand untrained dogs) but she’s also completely spoiled. I really do think of her as our baby.

Phoebe Joel

Now we’re going to bring home a human baby any day now and I’m nervous.

It’s not that she hasn’t been around kids. We give her full run of things when we’re around my nephews and she’s fine around them. They’ve pulled and poked and even body slammed her and she’s barely even shown her teeth. She enjoys playing with them sometimes and when she gets sick of it she retreats to her kennel, jumps up somewhere out of reach or crawls into an adult’s lap.

But in our house she is the princess. She is technically crate trained and we started out wanting her to sleep in there or in the kitchen at nights…. but that only lasted for so long.

Phoebe trapped

Yeah, I’m a complete sucker for that face.

Phoebe bed

She sleeps in bed with us every night. Usually at the foot of the bed but sometimes she decides she wants to cuddle and she’ll curl up in my armpit and I completely melt into a pile of goo.

But now there’s going to be a baby. A human baby. In “her” bed.

Phoebe bassinet

Granted, he has his own bassinet, I think I’ve pretty much decided against bed sharing. I’m not going to lie, a huge reason for that is because I cannot break Phoebe of sleeping in our bed. That really sounds so pathetic. I just can’t stand the crying when we try and get her to sleep anywhere else though. Part of it is sympathy and a part is pure laziness.

Still, there will be a crying infant in “her” room very soon. I just don’t know how she’s going to handle things. She won’t be the center of attention anymore. It kind of makes me sad. Am I super weird for being sad that I’m going to pay more attention to my son than my dog? Maybe don’t answer that.

Another thing I’m worried about is, in order to relieve some stress on our part about who would take care of her while we’re in the hospital, we have decided to take her to stay at my mother-in-law’s until after the baby is born. Now, don’t get me wrong, my mother-in-law is probably her favorite human on the planet. Yes, even more so than Joel or I. They adore each other. But still, she’s going to go away, likely for a couple of weeks, and when she comes home her whole world will be upside down.

I’m honestly having second thoughts about sending her away. The last time she was gone this long was when we were in India. And when we brought her home she promptly peed on our bed. The definition of pissed, I guess.

Phoebe Me

What in the world is she going to do after being gone that long and then coming home to this new thing that will take most of our time, energy and attention?

I really want them to love each other. I have this image of boy’s best friend. I want to hope she’ll be protective of him and patient and love him to death. But I’m afraid she’ll just be resentful and start acting out.

I don’t have very many ideas as to how to get her used to the idea of the new baby. I’ve thought of putting a blanket in bed with Wesley the first day or so and sending it home with my mother-in-law to give to Phoebe. At least that way she’ll be able to kind of get used to his smell. Other than that we’ve been showing her all his clothes and things as we sort and organize them. We talk to her all the time about “her kid.” We point to my belly and tell her there’s a kid in there and she gives us a look like we’ve completely lost it.

I also plan to ask visitors to say hello to her before they pay any attention to the baby. She seriously adores people and already acts a bit hurt and confused when every stranger on the street doesn’t want to stop and say hi to her on walks.

Phoebe strangers

I can only imagine how put out she’ll be if she gets omg visitors! to her home and they completely ignore her in favor of this new little creature we’re bringing home. People may think we’re ridiculous but I really think just a minute or two of them petting her would go a long way in making her resent Wesley a little less.

Those are my only ideas. I would really love any and all insight from you all. Are we completely stupid to send her away right before we drop this change bomb on her? For those of you who had a fur baby before your human baby, how did the transition go? Anything we can do to make this easier on her and us?

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51 Comments

  1. Your dog is seriously so cute! I have never seen one like it. I’m sure that it will all turn out easier than you think. She may just love that baby as much as y’all!

    • Thanks! I’d never heard of papillons either until we started researching what kind of dog we wanted to get. I’m so glad we found her though, they really are a fantastic breed and she’s of course extra special (not biased… okay maybe biased).

  2. Your dog is seriously so cute! I have never seen one like it. I’m sure that it will all turn out easier than you think. She may just love that baby as much as y’all!

    • Thanks! I’d never heard of papillons either until we started researching what kind of dog we wanted to get. I’m so glad we found her though, they really are a fantastic breed and she’s of course extra special (not biased… okay maybe biased).

  3. She’s adorable!

    I had similar concerns when we brought our babies home to our “hair/heir apparent.” We did the same things: gave her a receiving blanket with the baby’s smell on it, had guests greet the dog first and we didn’t co-sleep with the baby because the dog had already claimed the middle of the bed.

    Our dog — her name was Falafel and she was rottweiler/husky cross — transitioned really well. Another thing that we did was take her for more walks. Sometimes with the stroller, but just as often I would get some “me” time by leaving the baby with my husband and taking Falafel for a 20 or 30 minute breather. I think the extra walks were a bonus that made it easier. Things got a little more stressful once the baby was more mobile and had toys that looked and tasted like chew toys. But toddlers will happily share/toss food from their high chairs so Phoebe is going to LOVE the toddler phase!

    Falafel passed away last March and we have another dog now. One thing we are doing differently, that never occurred to us with the first dog, is bring in a dog trainer for a one hour in-home consult to give advice and tips. If things don’t go well initially this might be something to consider.

    Good luck!

    (BTW, every time I see the name Wesley I smile. It’s such a GOOD name!)

    • The walks are a good idea. I’m sure Phoebe would love that and bonus exercise for me.

      I’m also glad I’m not the only one who decided against bed sharing because of their dog. I felt silly, but seriously she’s already got enough changes happening, I just can’t stand to add one more.

  4. She’s adorable!

    I had similar concerns when we brought our babies home to our “hair/heir apparent.” We did the same things: gave her a receiving blanket with the baby’s smell on it, had guests greet the dog first and we didn’t co-sleep with the baby because the dog had already claimed the middle of the bed.

    Our dog — her name was Falafel and she was rottweiler/husky cross — transitioned really well. Another thing that we did was take her for more walks. Sometimes with the stroller, but just as often I would get some “me” time by leaving the baby with my husband and taking Falafel for a 20 or 30 minute breather. I think the extra walks were a bonus that made it easier. Things got a little more stressful once the baby was more mobile and had toys that looked and tasted like chew toys. But toddlers will happily share/toss food from their high chairs so Phoebe is going to LOVE the toddler phase!

    Falafel passed away last March and we have another dog now. One thing we are doing differently, that never occurred to us with the first dog, is bring in a dog trainer for a one hour in-home consult to give advice and tips. If things don’t go well initially this might be something to consider.

    Good luck!

    (BTW, every time I see the name Wesley I smile. It’s such a GOOD name!)

    • The walks are a good idea. I’m sure Phoebe would love that and bonus exercise for me.

      I’m also glad I’m not the only one who decided against bed sharing because of their dog. I felt silly, but seriously she’s already got enough changes happening, I just can’t stand to add one more.

  5. We had these worries with FootFoot, both times we didn’t send her away. C went home every night and stayed with her. I was worried when we brought Ian, but she loved him from day one. if he started fidgeting she would run to us, she was better then a monitor. I also have never bedshared fully cause she sleeps in our bed. She is a good dog, if her baby is in her bed she stays at the foot of the bed. I wouldn’t send her away.

    • If I thought I could spare Joel I might consider this. But as much as I miss my puppy I’d miss Joel way more.

      And yay, another who didn’t bed share because of their dog. I’m starting to feel much more normal. I hope Phoebe loves Wesley just like FootFoot does Ian. That is pretty much exactly my fantasy of their relationship.

  6. I had a 15 year old cat who was the boss of our house when we had Eddie. I spent my entire pregnancy crying about how Louis would deal with a baby human in the house. Louis HATED ALL THE KIDS IN THE WORLD. But he immediately loved Eddie. So much so that Eddie because his boy and he looked out for him. If Eddie was crying, Louis would circle and meow and look at me like, “help him out, yo.” When Eddie became mobile, Louis just would take it when Eddie would pull on him or chase him. Any other kid he would have hissed and nipped at, but Eddie? Nope.

    I honestly think Eddie smelled like me and and he was used to it before Eddie was here. If that makes any sense.

    I really think they will have a connection that is unlike anything you can think of and it will be awesome.

    Louis passed away a year and a half ago when Eddie was two. Eddie STILL talks about how much he misses his cat and wishes he could come back from heaven.

    Pets are part of the family. They love the WHOLE family like you do.

    • That is so encouraging, thank you. I really hope you’re right and Phoebe and Wesley have that special connection. It’s what I’ve been imagining since I first got her.

  7. I had a 15 year old cat who was the boss of our house when we had Eddie. I spent my entire pregnancy crying about how Louis would deal with a baby human in the house. Louis HATED ALL THE KIDS IN THE WORLD. But he immediately loved Eddie. So much so that Eddie because his boy and he looked out for him. If Eddie was crying, Louis would circle and meow and look at me like, “help him out, yo.” When Eddie became mobile, Louis just would take it when Eddie would pull on him or chase him. Any other kid he would have hissed and nipped at, but Eddie? Nope.

    I honestly think Eddie smelled like me and and he was used to it before Eddie was here. If that makes any sense.

    I really think they will have a connection that is unlike anything you can think of and it will be awesome.

    Louis passed away a year and a half ago when Eddie was two. Eddie STILL talks about how much he misses his cat and wishes he could come back from heaven.

    Pets are part of the family. They love the WHOLE family like you do.

    • That is so encouraging, thank you. I really hope you’re right and Phoebe and Wesley have that special connection. It’s what I’ve been imagining since I first got her.

  8. I so understand this. My terrier was my baby before we had Darling Girl. I was so worried about how she would react to having a human baby in the house. It was different, but we all adjusted. There was a lot of adjustment for all of us. We were family, pets and people and we worked it out and things were good.

    I can’t blame you for debating on sending her to your mother-in-law’s. Is there any way you can have someone come pick her up after you leave for the hospital? Or who can come and let her out periodically while you’re gone so she can stay home?

    The bringing something home that smells like baby was very helpful for our pets. Hubs took home a hat that DG had been wearing and he made sure to hold her for quite awhile so they could smell him and the hat completely and he gave them tons of extra love. When we got home from the hospital, hubs went inside first to let the pets get through their excitement and calm down a little before I brought baby in. That was also very helpful.

    Good luck! Stay positive! It will be an adjustment, but it will be fine. Just give it time. 🙂

    • There really isn’t anyone else closer who could reliably take her out. My mother-in-law and Phoebe already have a special bond, so if anyone is going to take care of Phoebe other than me I really prefer it be her. I’m just hoping she’ll only be there a week or so instead of 2 or 3 weeks if this baby decides to stay in longer.

  9. I so understand this. My terrier was my baby before we had Darling Girl. I was so worried about how she would react to having a human baby in the house. It was different, but we all adjusted. There was a lot of adjustment for all of us. We were family, pets and people and we worked it out and things were good.

    I can’t blame you for debating on sending her to your mother-in-law’s. Is there any way you can have someone come pick her up after you leave for the hospital? Or who can come and let her out periodically while you’re gone so she can stay home?

    The bringing something home that smells like baby was very helpful for our pets. Hubs took home a hat that DG had been wearing and he made sure to hold her for quite awhile so they could smell him and the hat completely and he gave them tons of extra love. When we got home from the hospital, hubs went inside first to let the pets get through their excitement and calm down a little before I brought baby in. That was also very helpful.

    Good luck! Stay positive! It will be an adjustment, but it will be fine. Just give it time. 🙂

    • There really isn’t anyone else closer who could reliably take her out. My mother-in-law and Phoebe already have a special bond, so if anyone is going to take care of Phoebe other than me I really prefer it be her. I’m just hoping she’ll only be there a week or so instead of 2 or 3 weeks if this baby decides to stay in longer.

  10. I don’t have any children of my own , but I’ve worked in child care fore 25 yrs and helped my sister with my nieces ages 17 and twins 14. My dog Beasley, who was 3 at the time, was my baby and when Rue, my 17yr old niece came into the picture I was worried how he would handle it. Since he’s never been around babies before (he loves people and attention) I was alittle worried how he would handle it. I started out by doing exactly what you are planning on doing. Getting Beasley used to Rue’s smells,talking to him about it and my sister, mom and I continually should him her belly and told him “baby”. When Rue arrived I also asked visitors to greet Beasley first when the baby was over and I also had them talk to Beasley the whole time they held Rue, ex: “Beasley what a beautiful baby you have.”, “Beasley your such a good unle to your niece.”. So that he was included throughout the whole visit and didn’t feel left out.
    It seemed to work since they were best buds until he passes away when my niece was 9. I hope this helps alittle. I now have 2 rat terriers that have became buddies after taking a few weeks to get to know each other. I’m pretty sure pheobe is going to grow to love Wesley and she might surprise you and adjust right away like my mom said her dog did when I was born.

    • This does help a lot.

      Did Beasley look at you like you were an insane person when you talked about the baby being in her belly too? Maybe it’s just because Phoebe knows the word “kid” and associates it with our nephews so when we started telling her there was a kid in me she probably really thought we lost it, haha.

      • Yes, Beasley (who was a Bichon) would tilt his head to the side and stare at us. Then shake his head, flapping his ears and grab a toy to start playing tug of war with (his and Rue’s favorite game when she was little).

  11. I don’t have any children of my own , but I’ve worked in child care fore 25 yrs and helped my sister with my nieces ages 17 and twins 14. My dog Beasley, who was 3 at the time, was my baby and when Rue, my 17yr old niece came into the picture I was worried how he would handle it. Since he’s never been around babies before (he loves people and attention) I was alittle worried how he would handle it. I started out by doing exactly what you are planning on doing. Getting Beasley used to Rue’s smells,talking to him about it and my sister, mom and I continually should him her belly and told him “baby”. When Rue arrived I also asked visitors to greet Beasley first when the baby was over and I also had them talk to Beasley the whole time they held Rue, ex: “Beasley what a beautiful baby you have.”, “Beasley your such a good unle to your niece.”. So that he was included throughout the whole visit and didn’t feel left out.
    It seemed to work since they were best buds until he passes away when my niece was 9. I hope this helps alittle. I now have 2 rat terriers that have became buddies after taking a few weeks to get to know each other. I’m pretty sure pheobe is going to grow to love Wesley and she might surprise you and adjust right away like my mom said her dog did when I was born.

    • This does help a lot.

      Did Beasley look at you like you were an insane person when you talked about the baby being in her belly too? Maybe it’s just because Phoebe knows the word “kid” and associates it with our nephews so when we started telling her there was a kid in me she probably really thought we lost it, haha.

      • Yes, Beasley (who was a Bichon) would tilt his head to the side and stare at us. Then shake his head, flapping his ears and grab a toy to start playing tug of war with (his and Rue’s favorite game when she was little).

  12. Hello, and pending congratulations on your new baby ! I’m a long time reader from the flying days (I fly almost every week), but your writing is so compelling I’ve been following it ever since. I also live in the (FAR) western suburbs.

    My wife and I have two children – but it’s been a while – they are 15 and 12. But we had lots of furry friends when both came into our lives.

    For my son, we had a 100lb Golden Retriever and two cats. We were MUCH more worried about the cats than the dog (Goldens may lick something to death, but that’s about it, but they ARE big, not something you need to worry about !).

    We did as all described, the baby scent, etc. The cats didn’t seem to care at all. The dog wanted to eat the towel, but he also ate a portable phone that week (he was a puppy) so we weren’t TOO concerned 🙂

    All we did was act calm. When the pets approach the baby we encouraged them to sniff, etc. No stress, no scolding. My experience is that they welcome them in as a noisy addition to the family once they realize that YOU are the parent. Of course, give the furry little folks a little extra attention, but they also need to know that the new one (Love the name – I’ve met Wil Wheaton who played Wesley Crusher as a long Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing) is a part of the family. Dogs really get that easily in my experience – it’s a new member of the Pack !

    All the best of luck and please do continue to let us know how your journey goes ! It’s been the 15 fastest years of my life ! Oh, and in 15 years, make sure you save for Auto Insurance premiums. Yikes !

    • I definitely caught myself early on from preventing her from exploring the baby stuff. Obviously we don’t let her chew on things but she gets free reign to sniff and crawl on whatever she likes.

      And I’m actually kind of jealous that you got to meet Wil Wheaton. He wasn’t the reason we picked the name but it certainly didn’t hurt!

  13. Hello, and pending congratulations on your new baby ! I’m a long time reader from the flying days (I fly almost every week), but your writing is so compelling I’ve been following it ever since. I also live in the (FAR) western suburbs.

    My wife and I have two children – but it’s been a while – they are 15 and 12. But we had lots of furry friends when both came into our lives.

    For my son, we had a 100lb Golden Retriever and two cats. We were MUCH more worried about the cats than the dog (Goldens may lick something to death, but that’s about it, but they ARE big, not something you need to worry about !).

    We did as all described, the baby scent, etc. The cats didn’t seem to care at all. The dog wanted to eat the towel, but he also ate a portable phone that week (he was a puppy) so we weren’t TOO concerned 🙂

    All we did was act calm. When the pets approach the baby we encouraged them to sniff, etc. No stress, no scolding. My experience is that they welcome them in as a noisy addition to the family once they realize that YOU are the parent. Of course, give the furry little folks a little extra attention, but they also need to know that the new one (Love the name – I’ve met Wil Wheaton who played Wesley Crusher as a long Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing) is a part of the family. Dogs really get that easily in my experience – it’s a new member of the Pack !

    All the best of luck and please do continue to let us know how your journey goes ! It’s been the 15 fastest years of my life ! Oh, and in 15 years, make sure you save for Auto Insurance premiums. Yikes !

    • I definitely caught myself early on from preventing her from exploring the baby stuff. Obviously we don’t let her chew on things but she gets free reign to sniff and crawl on whatever she likes.

      And I’m actually kind of jealous that you got to meet Wil Wheaton. He wasn’t the reason we picked the name but it certainly didn’t hurt!

  14. She is so adorable. We have no pets so I have no advice, but I’m sure she will love the baby as much as you guys do.

  15. She is so adorable. We have no pets so I have no advice, but I’m sure she will love the baby as much as you guys do.

  16. I love watching my dog and by baby bond now that they’re both part of our family. Our little girl is fascinated with the dog and our dog is much more patient with her than she is with our older boys.

    Sadly, since our girl has arrived we’ve had some health/allergy issues that makes our dog unusally annoying and aggrivates me like crazy. We’ve been trying to solve it with the vet for nearly a year. We better find a solution soon!

    • I’m sorry for the allergy issues. My parent’s dog gets those from time to time and it is so gross and frustrating. Was it related to the baby or just a coincidence that it started after you brought her home?

      • Beth

        It actually started before baby came. We’ve been trying to figure it out for a year. It’s frustrating and expensive.

  17. I love watching my dog and by baby bond now that they’re both part of our family. Our little girl is fascinated with the dog and our dog is much more patient with her than she is with our older boys.

    Sadly, since our girl has arrived we’ve had some health/allergy issues that makes our dog unusally annoying and aggrivates me like crazy. We’ve been trying to solve it with the vet for nearly a year. We better find a solution soon!

    • I’m sorry for the allergy issues. My parent’s dog gets those from time to time and it is so gross and frustrating. Was it related to the baby or just a coincidence that it started after you brought her home?

      • Beth

        It actually started before baby came. We’ve been trying to figure it out for a year. It’s frustrating and expensive.

  18. So cute! We don’t have any pets yet, but I can totally see how people can love their pets like they are part of the family. 🙂

    xo, Yi-chia

  19. So cute! We don’t have any pets yet, but I can totally see how people can love their pets like they are part of the family. 🙂

    xo, Yi-chia

  20. Looks like you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’re going to do, and the commentors are right about bringing a baby blanket or clothing home for her to smell!
    My spaniel was about 7 when I brought my baby home. I let him sniff the baby to associate the smell with the new ‘doll’!! He was very protective and used to bark at us if we didn’t get to the baby at the first cry!! 😀

  21. Looks like you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’re going to do, and the commentors are right about bringing a baby blanket or clothing home for her to smell!
    My spaniel was about 7 when I brought my baby home. I let him sniff the baby to associate the smell with the new ‘doll’!! He was very protective and used to bark at us if we didn’t get to the baby at the first cry!! 😀

  22. We have a red and white papillon that looks just like your Phoebe! His name is Leo and I swear, some of your pictures could be him! From your pictures it seems like they have a lot of the same tendencies, too!

    If I could I attach a picture here, I totally wou

    • I clicked over to your blog and he does look a lot like Phoebe! The main different is the red spot on her back is much smaller. In the face though they do look very similar 🙂

  23. We have a red and white papillon that looks just like your Phoebe! His name is Leo and I swear, some of your pictures could be him! From your pictures it seems like they have a lot of the same tendencies, too!

    If I could I attach a picture here, I totally wou

    • I clicked over to your blog and he does look a lot like Phoebe! The main different is the red spot on her back is much smaller. In the face though they do look very similar 🙂

  24. I got nothing, as we didn’t have pets prior to baby-making. Although, I think you off to a wonderful start, especially with the idea of having visitors acknowledge her prior to getting snuggles in with Wesley! So kudos to that! 🙂

  25. I got nothing, as we didn’t have pets prior to baby-making. Although, I think you off to a wonderful start, especially with the idea of having visitors acknowledge her prior to getting snuggles in with Wesley! So kudos to that! 🙂

    • Yeah, I think having visitors pay attention to her first will probably be the biggest thing. Everyone has been encouraging so hopefully she adjusts just fine.

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