• Sophie Schillaci

Do You Love Your Dog Less After Baby? (Honestly)



My dogs were my babies. I loved them fiercely, affectionately, obsessively.

I still love them very much, but...

Now, I can go an entire day without remembering to let them outside. And when I do, I will almost certainly forget to let them back in.


Unless I'm physically tripping over their food and water dishes, I don't ever think to fill them. (Dog duty has defaulted almost entirely to my husband and my mother, who take great care of them. Don't worry.)

I wouldn't say that I love them any less, but sometimes I also really hate them.

That's because parenthood has amplified everything. It's shown me a new scale on which I can feel emotions and experiences.


There's a ceiling on the amount of love that I had for my fur babies -- and I'll be the first to acknowledge that it was pretty damn high. Like, skyscraper high.


But until I had a human baby, I had no idea how much higher that ceiling could go for her. That love goes all the way through the stratosphere. Beyond, even.


Combine that mind-blowing love with ongoing exhaustion, a shorter fuse, less time and thin patience. And if my baby's needs are at stake, forget it. That's just biology, caveman instincts and brain chemistry, and I can't help it.


For better or worse, they have very little regard for personal space or boundaries.

I hated my dogs when they jumped over the couch, running over our newborn baby, to greet my husband at the door.


I hate my dogs when they bark at the mail man, especially when I've just spent 30 hard-fought minutes getting our baby to nap.


I hate my dogs when they're scrambling underfoot, whining and tripping me as I'm readying our crying baby for an appointment. (One that I'm already late for, of course.)

But I loved my dogs when they instantly welcomed our newborn baby into the pack.


I love my dogs when they are playing sweetly and patiently with our happy baby, who is only just beginning to learn what it means to be "gentle" when touching their fur.


I love my dogs when I'm napping and they come join me on the couch, settling into their favorite spot in the crook of my knee.


I love my dogs when I'm breastfeeding our baby at bedtime and they come snuggle next to us on the nursery daybed.


Opie is always there to help Everly through tummy time.

These dogs helped teach me the beginnings of how to be a mother, and now they'll teach Everly about unconditional love, empathy, service, play and so much more.


My relationship with them has undoubtedly changed, but I hope they can feel how grateful to them I will always be. And how in some ways, I do love them more. (When I don't hate them, that is.)


XO,

Mom Needs Merlot

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