Bea is our firstborn, but our first baby came in the form of a furry bundle of joy named Sweet Georgia Brown. Georgia bounded into our lives five years before Bea came along, and she really was (and still is) like our child. She goes to doggy daycare when we’re working, our walls are covered in her pictures, and our floors are littered with her toys. Her sweet demeanor is the product of years of love, attention, and discipline.
When we found out we were pregnant with Bea we were thrilled, but we were also nervous about what that would mean for this relationship. We had reason to be concerned—from tales of bad temperaments to severe allergies, it seemed like everywhere we turned we were faced with sad stories from friends and family who had a rocky time with their beloved pets post-baby. Worse yet was the blanket statement we heard over and over again: “You’ll never think of her the same way once you have a real kid.”
Non-pet people may not understand this transition, but for every pet-loving pregnant couple it’s really stressful to think that such a big part of your lives could become an afterthought in an instant. I understand that things don’t always work out between pets and little people. However, I’m here to share that it is possible to have a happy ending!
Andy and I agreed that, short of any life-threatening issues between dog and baby, we’d make it work no matter what. We made sure Georgia spent time around other kiddos and brought her a blanket from the hospital when Bea arrived so she could get used to her scent. Now that Bea is home, we are cautious yet open with giving Georgia access to her. Most importantly, we try to set aside Georgia time. Even though I’m working from home, I still take her to daycare once a week to run off some energy, and we still go on our evening walks, but now there’s a stroller tagging along.
Georgia loves Bea, and we still love Georgia—maybe even more because she’s so great with the baby. Our first night as a new family, I laid Bea in her bassinet after a late-night feeding and left the room. When I returned, I found Georgia perched on the edge of our bed, standing guard over Bea while I was away. Since then, she’s become the household’s chief toe-licker, photography assistant, and dirty diaper identifier. I imagine her adoration will only blossom as Bea makes her foray into solid foods.
Were we ever concerned things wouldn’t go this smoothly? Yes. Georgia acted very strangely toward me my whole last trimester. Plus, it took a lot to convince her that the growing pile of stuffed toys in the nursery weren’t hers. Are things different now? Of course. Our attention is divided and a lack of sleep and free time make the water all over the floor more frustrating than ever. But even with all of our newfound unconditional love toward Bea, we can’t imagine life without our Sweet Georgia Brown.
So if you’re facing any cynicism, don’t let guilt or fear keep you up at night like we did … you may find that your furry friend is an even bigger part of the family than ever before!