Going From Dog Mom to Dog and Human Mom

Other than moving out of my parent’s house and having to become an adult at the late age of 22, going from DOG mom to DOG and HUMAN mom was one of the hardest transitions I have ever been through.

My husband and I have two 4-legged babies – Laney, a 9-year-old American Bulldog and Nelson, a 6-year-old mixed breed. Laney came as a package deal with my husband when we started dating in 2011. She was just a puppy. She literally came everywhere with us, watched TV with us, and slept in our beds. Even with my terrible allergies, it was worth dealing with so that we could cuddle her at night. Fast forward to 2013 where we decided to adopt a friend for Laney so she was not home alone all day while my husband and I worked. We found Nelson via a pet adoption site, and we drove to Ponchatoula to pick up our newest fur baby. Not going to lie, the connection was not instant between Laney and Nelson. She was used to being the only baby in the house and choosing which couch she wanted to lie on, not sharing her food or water or humans. It took some getting used to, but they eventually had one of the greatest love/hate relationships you have ever seen.

These babies were our everything. When we found out in Fall 2015 that we were pregnant, it seemed as though the pups knew something was different. Nelson would cuddle my belly every night.

 

My news of being pregnant was accompanied by so many different versions of UNSOLICITED advice after the obligatory “Congratulations!”:

  • ”Just wait til that baby comes, you will not even care about those dogs anymore.”
  • “When that baby comes, you will probably get rid of those dogs. It is too hard.”
  • “I don’t trust any animals around my babies. You are brave.”

They were somewhat right.

Our baby boy entered the world on July 1, 2016, and our lives and our puppies’ lives were forever changed. It is hard. It is an adjustment. It is nerve-wracking. It is different.

However, I still love my fur babies. We will not get rid of them. It would totally be easier to not have pets. But they are ours and we are committed to them.

I will say, if your animal(s) are a threat to your baby and you are afraid for their safety, extreme measures should be taken (Adoption, veterinary consult, medication). Everyone’s situation is different. Listen to your gut and do what is right for your family. I am not a specialist, dog behaviorist, or anything fancy.

I am just a fur baby and human baby mom who wants to make the point that you can live happily with your furry and not so furry friends.

When it comes time for you to make that transition, here is my advice to you:

  1. Slowly introduce your baby to your pets. Slowly introduce your pets to the new baby.
  2. Make sure you are calm when you do it – as you know, our pups feed off human energy. Babies too.
  3. Have some bonding time with the baby and the pups at the same time. Divide your attention where appropriate.
  4. Never, ever, ever leave your baby/infant/child unsupervised with any animals. I know we all trust and say our dogs would never do that.  They are the sweetest most loving things you can own, but they are also animals. They have triggers that we will never understand. We always make sure that family playtime is supervised.
  5. Try not to ignore your pups as much as possible. Your furry friend was your very first baby in the house. There may be a little sibling rivalry when your baby arrives. With appropriate training and supervision, your new baby and your pets should be able to live together safely as a happy family.  Greet them!  Any time we can, we talk to them or pet them and show them love. Five seconds of love makes all the difference in the world to them – you can see it when that tail wags!
  6. Let them run around a big back yard or dog park to get their energy out. Since it has been so hot out, we purchased a baby pool for our dogs and they love swimming in it.
  7. Once the baby is asleep, let the pups lay on the couch with you (or on the floor if you do not want to allow them on the couch) while you catch up on your favorite shows for extra cuddles. Our dogs would recommend watching Schitt’s Creek, Love is Blind and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

It is normal to have fur baby momma guilt. The attention they receive will never be the same quantity or even quality sometimes. The baby is now number 1. Luckily, if you keep them occupied, happy, fed, the dogs won’t know the difference. They love you unconditionally. Remember that!

Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot be both a fur baby and a baby momma, momma!

Erika Lockhart
My name is Erika Lockhart and I am married to my best friend and favorite pain in the butt, Chris. We have the cutest little boy, Zane, who is 3 years old going on 21. We also have two 4 – legged children, Laney – an American Bulldog and Nelson a pit bull/German shepherd mix. I was born and raised in Harvey, on the Bestbank, but now live in Metairie. I am full time employee for a healthcare consulting company where I lead the New Orleans Market in provider engagement efforts. I enjoy taking vacations, going on road trips, my monthly girls dinner club and my favorite hobby is spending the weekends with our families. If you lived with me, you would probably think my favorite hobbies are laundry, doing the dishes and watching Blippi on YouTube, because that’s most of my day ?

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