I love my dog, Summit, and I usually think my cat, Crosby, is okay too. I call them my “boys”, and Summit knows me as “Daddy” and Emily as “Mommy”. Before we had Everett, our pets were our children. We bought our “boys” Christmas gifts and showered them with love at the end of a long work day. They were a central part of our lives, and they happily reveled in that fact. But then Everett came along, and …
I’ve bragged about Everett being an easy baby to look after, but he is still a baby. This means that he doesn’t do too many things himself (other than poo and cry about pooing). He does a rather good job of taking out large chunks of our time. I wasn’t really one who had lots of time to spare before Everett arrived, because I run my own business along with other projects. It meant time needed to be lopped off from somewhere, and it would have been rather easy to just ignore the pets. Now, Crosby doesn’t care too much about time well spent, as long as his meal times are remembered. Summit, on the other hand, is a dog, and dogs focus their entire day around their “parents” and the time spent with them. I knew that even though time may be sparse, I could not completely forget about my “boys” (especially Summit).
I’ve lately started to wake up around 6 in the morning (though how close I wake up to 6 a.m. depends on the time I managed to get to sleep the night before). I partly do this because I like getting a head start on pay copy before businesses start firing off their emails after 9. Being up a few hours before the business day begins also allows me time to get a morning walk in with Summit. It is about a 20-30 minute period of time that I spend just with him, and it is something we both really look forward to (Summit usually rushes to his leash once I head down the stairs). The walk is obviously great exercise for us both (even more so when we turn it into a run), but I think it is even more important as a time shared between “son” and “daddy.”
The morning walk is so important that I always put it into my day calendar as reminder it is something that needs to be done along with pay copy and marketing. I also end the day with an evening walk with Summit, which means I get to start and ends the day with my beloved dog. I think these two events have helped keep Summit happy, and prevent him from getting jealous of the little being that has shared his space.
I know there are probably some new parents that get really nervous about the pet being around their precious newborn. We’ve been the exact opposite of this. We wanted Summit and Crosby to feel completely comfortable around the newest addition to the clan. The first day Everett arrived home, we allowed both pets to sniff and examine Everett. We allow Summit to check out Everett throughout the day even if it is during times Everett is sleeping or feeding. We also allow Crosby this opportunity, but he seems to prefer to just give “this new intruder” some space. We also encourage Summit to poke and visit Everett, and throughout the day we will ask Summit to “find Everett.” I feel this strategy has allowed Summit to feel less jealous, to accept the presence of the baby, and has made Everett comfortable around animals.
Summit and Crosby don’t get as much attention now that Everett is here. I haven’t thrown a ball outside with Summit for quite a while. He probably gets fewer pets and scratches during the day. But I’ve worked hard to still spread the love to my pets, and make them feel a part of this family. I think my efforts have paid off with happy pets, even if it means I occasionally need to wipe slobber off Everett’s head.