New baby challenges dog’s comfort
Dear Ollie: I’m a loyal, loving and strong English bulldog. My man human and I have been through all sorts of ups and downs and always make it through together. We went to dog parks, to the beach and all around the neighborhood.
Then a woman human entered our lives. She seems to like me but I have heard her complain about my “bristly” hair getting on things. She cleans until the house is spotless. When it was my man human and me we stayed together. Now I spend more time in the basement.
I do admit they bought me a really comfy dog bed that I love. Lately I have heard them talking about a new human “someone” they call a baby who will be coming to live with us. What will happen to me? Will I have to leave to make room for this new addition? They seem so happy about this. It makes me nervous. What can I do to let them know I still want to be a member of the family and would do anything for them (with the exception of living outside).
Chico, the Basement Bulldog
Dear Chico: Reading your letter made me sad. Your man human’s love for you is a very special part of who he is. It sounds like you and your man were a team before the woman human arrived. Generally speaking, humans who love dogs and willing to give them a home are compassionate, sensitive, empathetic, responsible, loving, nurturing and caring. I may be going out on a limb here but I bet these qualities were important to the woman as she fell in love with him.
And by the way, these are the same qualities that go in to making a man a good father.
So, with the baby coming, the woman in this triangle should be thrilled that her partner has these qualities. Chico, his relationship with you is extremely important to him. She runs the risk of alienating a very good man by not acknowledging this relationship and at the same time shows great insensitivity by banishing you to a basement.
True, she enjoys a clean home so it’s frustrating for her to sweep and sweep and still see your fur on the floor. Unless she’s an obsessive compulsive “cleaniak,” she must know that messiness in quite normal in a family and her job is to keep it manageable and not to disrupt the family dynamic by separating you from it.
One of life’s greatest lessons is that life happens and it’s not always neat and clean. Research has shown that the presence of a well-trained animal in the home is an advantage in the parenting process as well as the first line of defense for family security. Chico, you can’t do these jobs from the basement. Please write me back and let me know what happens. I bet she’ll come around just because it’s the right thing to do.