Thursday, August 17, 2017

Introducing Human Baby and Furry Baby

Before the arrival of our baby girl, my husband and I already had two furry children in the form of a cocker spaniel and a welsh corgi. They are very much a part of our family; we cuddled with them on mornings, took them for afternoon walks, and occasionally took them out to Bonifacio High Street for a different scene. But when we learned that I was pregnant we wondered how they would receive the new addition to our household.

Interacting at 4 months
When I gave birth, we would have our yaya (nanny) come to the hospital every morning to help us out with the baby and would send her back home in the late afternoons, when the night nurse arrives, with the things we used for the baby during the day so they could be cleaned. Before putting things like receiving blankets and swaddles in the wash, she would have our dogs sniff them first to become accustomed to the smell.
Papa with the kids

Upon arriving home with our brand new baby girl, we were welcomed with excited barks. When they realized that I was carrying a tiny human being was a different story. They were curious and probably concerned about their status in our home and in our hearts.

Sharing a moment on a rainy day
During our newborn’s first few days home, we kept the furry kids away from our room at first. We were worried about shedding doggie hair flying around and whatever germs they may have picked up from walking outdoors. But as the days passed and we were building our baby girl's immune system by taking her out for morning doses of sunshine and short afternoon walks, we started introducing her to her furry siblings. They were very curious about the little creature we held in our arms. We let them sniff her to get used to her scent. And when she cried, our cocker spaniel would get distressed and cry with her too. He seemed to have developed a protective instinct around our baby girl while our corgi remained indifferent, maybe even slightly jealous of all the attention she was getting. We decided to postpone interactions between them until she was a little older.
Afternoon walk together

When our baby girl turned four months, we started allowing our cocker spaniel to interact with her (with supervision). By this time, she seemed a little more aware of him and quite enjoyed the attention he was giving her. The corgi still seemed a little wary of her and would not mind her.

We wanted them all to grow up in a harmonious environment. So by the time our baby girl turned seven months, my husband would sit on the floor with her on his lap and the doggies by his side and they would all play. He would put a treat on her hand and have her give it to them so that they would associate her with happy things. This became their ritual every morning. Soon, they were crawling together on the floor and playing. Even our corgi stopped resenting her and began thinking of her as a little sister to guard and protect when they would go out for afternoon walks. They were both very gentle with her that our little girl never even had a chance to develop a fear of them.

I grew up afraid of dogs, even if I found them cute. So I am really happy to see that all our kids (human and dogs) get along quite fine.

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