My husband and I have something weighing on our minds. One of our “children” is having a rough time and we don’t know what to do to help her. No, I’m not talking about AJ; I’m talking about our dog, Major.
Chris got Major (a girl dog named after Major Harris) from the animal shelter right around the time we started dating and she’s been a part of us ever since. She is always by our side. If one of us is in a room with the door shut she is outside it whimpering. She’s always needed an extraordinary amount of love and attention, which we have always been able to give.
That is, until we had a baby.
We often wondered about how the animals would react to our newest addition (we also have a feisty but loving cat). Our guess was that the cat wouldn’t want anything to do with the baby and the dog would be a little jealous but would be protective of AJ, like we heard so many other family dogs were when a baby was brought home.
Well, we were right about the cat, but we seriously miscalculated the effect a baby would have on Major.
To prepare Major, we followed advice we read. We let her sniff AJ’s blanket from the hospital, we pet Major and gave her attention while holding AJ, and we let Major sniff the baby and didn’t yell when she tried to sneak a lick in. Major was visibly upset the first couple weeks, but we figured she would get used to the baby in time.
Ten weeks later, the cat likes the baby but Major seems to have gotten worse. She jumps at everything, won’t eat her food half the time, sometimes refuses to go to the bathroom, and generally mopes around. It breaks my heart. I don’t know how to help her and I feel like it’s mostly my fault.
Major has always had a special affection for me, I don’t know why. Before baby, my full attention was available for the dog when she needed it. Now, even though I give all the love to Major that I can, there is always someone else in my arms, someone else that needs me constantly.
I keep telling myself that once AJ can give Major attention, things will get better. Once Major learns that AJ is a person who can love her too, maybe she will warm up to her. And once AJ is eating, and dropping, solid foods, the animals will surely love her, right?
Is there a solution to Major’s problem that I’m missing? Are more animals like Major when a new baby comes home than I previously thought?
It might seem silly to worry about a dog, but before I was mom to AJ I was mom to Major. As many animal owners know, our animals are a part of our family, and we worry about their mental and physical health. I wish I could tell Major that I’m learning to adjust to this new life too. I wish she could understand that AJ is not a rival, but a companion that will give her so much love as they both grow.