When dog comes before baby, there’s always at least some anxiety over how dog, or in our case dogs, will react to the new addition to the family. For us it was more of a curiosity than an anxiety as we’d seen our weims interact with children of various ages, and apart from a brief moment of uncertainty during our wedding weekend when Jake eyed nephew Dylan (then about 6 months) like he was a plump and tasty little squirrel, they’d always behaved quite well. We had little doubt that Jake and Graycie would be good to our little bundle and really didn’t do much to prepare them (some people play baby sounds and walk around holding dolls for a period of time before the actual birth; we all have our things). When we brought Norah home for the first time, the dogs reacted as expected – excited, curious, wanting to sniff and see and lick, but completely non-threatening. Of course in the beginning Norah demanded 99.9% of our attention, so there was conspicuous jealousy, but really only from Graycie, for in truth I’m not sure Jake is smart enough to be jealous. Graycie’s reaction to Norah was one of an old curmudgeon with a secretly big heart that suddenly finds themself in daily contact with a sprightly and inquisitive child – there was palpable irritation and general resistance, but as soon as that baby was in distress (or in most cases crying for the sake of crying) Graycie was right there outside Norah’s door checking nervously to see if all was okay. Jake, on the other hand, was like a giddy puppy with a new toy. He clearly wanted to play with her, and surely would have delighted in some baby wrestling, but he was always amazingly gentle and never hurt her.
Norah loved those dogs from the moment she was old enough to love anything. One of the first discernible and repetitive sounds she made was a “woo-woo” whenever she would hear the dogs barking. Later, it became part of her bedtime routine to say goodnight to the dogs. If we tried to put her down without doing so, she’d point at her door anxiously (the dogs were generally in the hall). So we’d lean her out the door and say good night Jake and good night Graycie and she’d smile and be ready to go to her crib. It was gosh darn adorable. And we still do it most nights.
And Norah still says woo-woo when the dogs bark. And Graycie still gets up and walks away when Norah comes squealing toward her, arms poised for “petting” (read: smacking). And Jake still lays there belly up with a big goofy grin and lets her smack him to her heart’s content. Jake and Norah are total buddies and the older she gets the more attached she gets to him. She hasn’t completely written Graycie off and still makes occasional attempts to give her love (the firm smacking type), but there’s no comparison to what she and Jake have. And Graycie seems perfectly content to let Jake have every ounce of Norah’s attention, as long as she (Graycie) keeps getting ours.
*The only one in the slideshow with Graycie in it? Norah tomahawking toward her and her eyes raised like oh jesus, not you again.