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When Your Pet Is No Longer the "Only Child"

How our adored cocker spaniel adjusted to her human baby brother

by Diane  |  2218 views  |  3 comments  |        Rate this now! 

From the first day that we adopted Casey the cocker spaniel, she knew she was the "baby" of the family, the queen of the castle. For four years it was all hers: our attention, our love, my husbands socks, all the treats she wanted, and, most of all, my lap.  We had tried to have children of our own for years but ,after several miscarriages and invitro-fertilization, we made the decision to adopt.  Afterall, we had so much love to give and we knew that we both felt the same way about adopting a child; it didn't matter at all to us where the child came, from it would always be ours.

Once we got the ball rolling -- got an attorney, registered wtih an adoption agency, had a home study, fingerprints, and mounds of paperwork -- we started to wonder what Casey would be like with a new baby in the house.  We always knew she was friendly and affectionate with other children and loved to play, but would she want to share "her" home with another "child?"

We started reading up on it and discussed it with several people, and decided to start introducing her to the idea before it happened.  We already knew which room was going to be the baby's nursery, and we started putting things in there gradually.  First came the crib.  She barked at it and sniffed all around it.  Each day she would go into the room and bark at the crib for 10 minutes or so.  Eventually, she accepted it.  Next came the changing table and the dresser.  Here we go again, I thought when the barking started. It was as if she was saying, "I liked this room empty so I could run in here and play," and now we were cluttering it up.  Every time we brought home something new and added it to the baby's room she repeated the pattern. She knew something was going on but just couldn't figure it out.  Who were we doing all of this for?

We then decided to get a baby doll that was as life-like as possible and cried like a real baby.  You can't imagine the dolls that are out there.  We found an amazing one and started to walk around with it and our child was going to be a boy).  She started to get interested in "him" (the doll).  We found it interesting just to watch her -- when we held "the baby," she would be right next to us. 

When weeks went by and we got the call that the baby was on the way, we left Casey with our vet and left on our adventure to see our son being born.  After a few days, when we were returning home with our new son, we stopped to pick Casey up and bring them all home together.  I was in the back seat with the new baby and Casey was in the front  seat with her daddy.  The baby was in a car seat behind the passenger seat and he slept most of the ride home, so Casey did not know he was there. 

About the Author

I'm a new mom of a beautiful baby boy

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3 comments so far...

  • what a great article

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Cathy - Reay Solutions on 28th March 2008

  • Aw, that's so sweet. I can relate - I still tell people our wonderful collie, Hamish, was our "first child." I have a theory that when you have a pet and no kids to distract you it brings out your mothering instinct. Never put him in a stroller though... :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 28th March 2008

  • We have always had pets in our home, it is funny to see how they react to a new baby, we have always had an excellent experience with all our pets. Now that our oldest has just left for the Army our terrier is constantly sitting on his bed waiting for Kory to come home. It's great that our "pets" are actually our "kids" Congratulations on your son!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 28th March 2008