November 10th was the big day for us, the day that Sweet Pea was born.
November 12th was the big day for Mercy, the day Sweet Pea and I came home from the hospital. Suddenly our pet was a big sister to a human.
“You mean I have to share my people?”
We read several different articles on introducing our precious pet to our precious child, and, as is true in most of life, we ended up doing our own mix of things.
A few hours after Sweet Pea was born, Keith went to the nursery to see our child and ask for a hat or something that smelled like her to bring home to the dog. Apparently this is a fairly common request and the nurses gave him the towel used to dry Sweet Pea after her first bath. They said it was important for the item to smell like the baby, not mom AND baby, and definitely not any amniotic fluid or other birth “gunk.” Gross.
Keith took the towel home with him later that evening to “show” Mercy the new baby. He said that Mercy sniffed that towel for a few minutes, trying to figure out what it was. Mercy then took the blanket and put it in her crate, where she slept with it until about a month later, when I laundered all of her bedding.
When Sweet Pea and I arrived home from the hospital, I entered the house first and greeted Mercy in my usual fashion as Keith brought in the baby behind me. Lots of sniffing was going on around the car seat.
Since those first few weeks, Mercy has adjusted pretty well to having a baby in the house. She likes the baby and wants to kiss her all the time, which I don’t necessarily want her to do. One wrong misguided movement on Sweet Pea’s part and Mercy could get bopped in the head or eye, which might prompt a correction bite. I haven’t quite figured out what to do about this.
Mercy’s same old hang-ups continue to be her hang-ups, and mine.
Mercy is a barker.
A MAJOR barker.
And it drives me crazy that I can’t get her to stop because her bark pierces my eardrums and when I am parked nursing Sweet Pea, I am even MORE helpless to get the madness to stop. I admit that I have thrown a small paperback book and a small cardboard box in her direction on two different barking occasions while nursing. Neither object actually hit her, nor did I want it to, but she seemed to get the idea that I wasn’t messing around when I said “STOP”, as she quieted down and layed on her pillow. Ay, what would the Dog Whisperer say about that!?!?!?!
Even before the baby, barking was the numero uno issue in our house. We tried an assortment of things suggested by a dog trainer, but nothing has been successful. If I can grab her while she’s barking, I end up putting her in her crate, like a time-out.
Winter has always been a tough season for Mercy too. It’s super cold and snowy out, so she doesn’t get out that much. Her paws have a tendency to get irritated from the snow and salt and footwear is not something she is interested in! But wait, even when we were walking 5 miles a day she still barked all the time! Oh well, we all have our quirks, right? We still love her 🙂
Lately we’ve been playing the “box” game, where I have a shoebox of some sort open and wait for her to do something interesting with it, then reward her. Sniff, treat… One paw in, treat… Two paws in, treat… Sit in the box, more treats… She gets a treat when I feed Sweet Pea and when she’s quiets… boy this dog must love being a big sister. It’s been a life full of treats!