As pet parents, we consider our animals family. They aren’t just animals that roam the yard; they are our life companions. They join us for walks. Coffee at our favorite cafes. Errands and car rides. Even vacations. In return, they give us tons of love and affection. It’s everything you’d expect from your furry kids.
But what happens when a human baby is brought into the household? How does the family dynamic shift (or stay the same), and what can new parents do to smooth the transition for their pets? We spoke to a friend within the Scollar community to gather her personal perspective on this experience.
Meet Bre Johnson. She is Pet Mommy to a half pit and half lab sweetheart named Mala. She’s also a brand-new mom to her daughter Selah, who is just a few months old. Bre and her husband, Nathan, are experiencing the joyful exhaustion of having a new baby, but Bre admits it’s a big shift.
“Two of the cutest things on Earth are babies and dogs,” she said. “But Mala has always been our baby.”
The Big Event
Bre admitted that she felt a bit anxious about introducing Mala to baby Selah. Of course, she was excited too, but there was some apprehension. How would it go?
Bre followed her gut when she introduced doggy and baby. When she brought Selah home from the hospital, she left her cozy in her car seat, placing her in front of Mala, at her level.
“Mala immediately started to sniff Selah, and tried to lick her. That interaction got me more excited.”
How Mala Is Adapting
After the initial excitement, Mala has gone through periods of pouting. Understandably – it’s a big adjustment. Bre is only one person, who now has her attention divided.
“I used to take Mala for four or five walks a day,” she explained. “Now it’s one or two walks a day, and they’re short.”
But there are signs that Mala is adapting well – and even taking to her role as Doggy Sister: Bre said Mala is very protective when Selah is nursing – she lies down right in front of them and “stands guard”. Mala also sleeps in the nursey at night (which used to be purely Mala’s room).
“Mala’s always been timid and shy. She’s never been a barking dog,” Bre said. “But now she releases a ferocious monster bark any time someone approaches the door.”
Navigating Life With Dog And Baby
Bre’s husband went back to work two weeks after they came home from the hospital. During that time, the family was also dog sitting an older dog – a blind, deaf, older dog. Not only was Bre managing a newborn, she dog sat for an entire month! This definitely added to some of the long days, but Bre looks back and laughs about it.
In general, the family aims for a consistent routine. Whoever is not taking Selah in the morning can take Mala for a walk. The dog walks have been minimized (for now). Getting the entire family out of the house can be comical, with the tangle of leashes, stroller and other baby gear, but they are taking it day by day. Licks, diapers, barks, snuggles and all.
Scollar readers – what’s been your experience with introducing babies to pets? Do you have any tips to share?