Before Donovan, there was Capone and George. These dogs have been our surrogate children for over 6 years. We have taken them on vacations, dressed them in costumes and marched them in parades, and even let them sleep in our bed. Needless to say, they are spoiled.
When we got pregnant, one thing we couldn’t predict was how the dogs would react to having a baby in the house. We were worried because their previous interactions with small children had been less than desirable. Capone would jump up on our friends kids and knock them over, while George would bring them to tears by barking. They were never vicious toward kids, we just made bad “parenting” mistakes and allowed them to get away with this type of behavior.
Our game plan when Donovan was born was to have my mother bring a receiving blanket home covered in his scent for the dogs to sniff and recognize. They took about as much interest in the blanket as one takes in the State of the Union address, so we anticipated their reaction to Donovan to be just as it had been in the past with other children. And it was. Capone tried getting in his face while George immediately barked at him. This kind of excitement tends to turn the dogs on each other, and sure enough the dogs were so overwhelmed, they started fighting. This resulted in some solitary confinement for the first two days after returning home.
Over the next week we slowly reintroduced the dogs to Donovan and their true personalities emerged. Capone was nervous and curious, and kept his distance while trying to figure him out. George was also curious, but in a protective way. He kept his distance, but any time Donovan made any abrupt movement or sound, George was there to investigate and make sure things were okay.
The novelty has since worn off. George still monitors Donovan from a distance and Capone continues to figure out what this little dude is all about. More importantly, they both enjoy the numerous smells Donovan emits.
It has been one month today since Donovan’s birth, and I can happily say that we have transitioned to a more relaxed state with all of our “children”.