Over the last several weeks I’ve been sharing some of the steps we took to prepare our dog Baxter for the arrival of our new baby. For all of the posts in this series, click here.
His sister Ellie arrived on Feb. 23.
Baxter’s reaction to the baby has for the most part been no big deal. He sniffs her and chooses to interact every so often. He doesn’t mind sharing his sunbeam or sitting on the bed while we change or feed her.
It’s very encouraging when he wanders into the nursery to see what’s going on or accepts my invitation to hop up on the couch when Ellie and I are there.
He also chooses to remove himself every so often, particularly those times that angry baby shows up. Sometimes it seems like he feels a bit confused or neglected, but that could just be me projecting. We expected he would need some period of adjustment, and he wouldn’t likely be the first to volunteer to babysit. We’re letting him decide how and when he wants to interact and that seems to be working well for us.
Mostly, he has been his usual lazy self—which makes us very happy
We’re working to give Baxter a good amount of attention, including his walks, playing fetch or simply lots of petting. Making sure he still feels part of the family is very important to us.
Initially, walks and our daily routine were a bit more of a challenge than we expected. While I didn’t have to have surgery, my recovery after delivery was a bit more involved than I had hoped and I wasn’t as mobile as I planned.
After my husband Matt went back to work, Baxter spent a few days with Matt’s parents, so that he could get his daily walks. He accepted this change in his routine very well, and we were thankful we had made arrangements with Matt’s parents in advance in case we needed help.
Once I was able to get around better, we enlisted family members to sit with Ellie while I took Baxter for a walk. I also tested the limits of our stroller by pushing it over the rough, snowy ground around the farm so that the three of us could go out together (our road does not have sidewalks and is too busy to do stroller walks off the property). Baxter willingly adapted to our slow (and often short) walks and didn’t ask for more activity.
Fortunately, the baby carrier that I ordered has finally arrived, so that has made our walks much easier and enjoyable for all of us.
We are all adjusting
While Baxter does seem to be attentive to Ellie’s noises, he’s not overly bothered by her. Likewise, she does not seem to be bothered by his barks or howls. We had numerous visitors as family and friends have met Ellie, and Baxter often barks to notify us that a strange car has come up the driveway. His barking, “talking,” squeaking toys or even thundering around the living room as he plays fetch have not disturbed Ellie—even if she’s sleeping in the same room.
So far, for both dog and baby, things are going very smoothly, and I’m very grateful for that. I’m pleased to see that all of our preparation is giving us the results we were hoping for as Baxter and Ellie—and us—adjust to our new lives together.
I’ll be continuing to post about our preparation strategies and share how things are going with Baxter and Ellie over the coming weeks. To see all of the previous posts in this series, click here.
Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She and her husband live on a 129-acre farm in Ontario, Canada. Follow Julia on Twitter here and Instagram here.