A New Roommate for Barkley

I should give a little background on this post, my husband and I went through one and a half years of fertility treatments before we received the wonderful news that we were expecting! It was a long, painful (lots of shots!) expensive, wild journey and we are treasuring every minute of this pregnancy.

This past Thanksgiving celebrated our one year anniversary of getting our dog Barkley. Since 2006, we got married, bought our dream home, tried to have a baby and then we decided to rescue a puppy! What better way to do a good deed, prepare ourselves for parenthood AND get our minds off of IVF?

We searched http://petfinder.com/ attended Saturday pet events hosted by rescue groups, and visited multiple shelters. (And I have to add, the process of finding a dog was much simpler and less painful than IVF!) Fortunately, we found the perfect mutt—a 5 month old Chocolate Lab (we think) mix. Finally, we could put all of the hours of watching the “Dog Whisperer” to good use. Let it be known that we did not take this decision lightly—we understood that a pet is a 15+ year commitment and requires training, shelter, food, exercise and love!

We were so excited to tell our friends. We received mixed reviews from friends with children. Half said that they LOVED getting a dog pre-children and that it definitely prepared them for parenthood–waking up in the middle of the night, cleaning up the messes, showering the pet with love and affection, sharing responsibility…they could go on and on.

The other half of my friends with children warned against getting a dog–you have to wake up in the middle of the night, it is another thing to clean up after, the pet wants attention all the time and so do the children, the pet will be ignored…their list goes on and on!

So who is right? Well in two months we will find out when “Tyson” arrives. In the meantime, I am searching for good advice on how to prepare Barkley for the new member of our family. I have stumbled upon some good info…

• Make sure your dog is trained & if not, get him trained
Play a cd of baby crying sounds (we’re enjoying that oh so much ourselves)
• Have your spouse bring a blanket home early from the hospital & let the dog get used to the baby’s smell
• Have friends and family visit with children (supervised, of course)
• Associate rewards/treats when the dog is near the baby

What did you do to make sure your FIDO adjusted to his new roommate?

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5 Responses to “A New Roommate for Barkley”

  1. Bert DuMars December 12, 2008 at 10:42 am #

    Just remember everything in a dog’s world is all about smells. So, bringing the blanket home from the hospital is a good step to take. Also, prepare the baby room and open things like A&D ointment, wipes and diaper packages so the dog gets used to those smells in the house. Our Yellow Lab was 2 years old when my son was born and he sulked for about a year. He was very sensitive to losing all the attention from my wife. Your dog is younger and should adapt much easier. Also, dogs need to know their place in the pack/family. Make sure your dog understands the baby is ahead of him. Your dog training class can teach you more about this.

    Finally, Labs are great family and kid friendly dogs. I am sure your dog will adapt quickly and fall in love with your baby.

  2. Heather Ward December 12, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    Thanks Bert–Maybe Barkley will get some diapers & wipes for Christmas!? Fortunately, he has had a chance to explore my Graco gear as it sits idle in the dining room. Speaking of smells–who knows, but I swear he senses I am pregnant. Strange, but true, he will sniff my stomach when we are on the couch/when I come home. Could be that some of lunch may have landed on there, but I will continue to think my dog has a special gift! Have a great weekend!

  3. casual friday everyday December 12, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    Oh he is adorable! I’m sure he’ll do just fine. Ours did.

  4. Steph December 13, 2008 at 8:51 am #

    What great pictures! We followed the same suggestions you have listed for introducing our lab/beagle mix to our daughter. Especially with a lab mix, I’m sure they will get along well. :)

  5. Erin McHugh December 17, 2008 at 2:06 pm #

    Oh man- I better get Rocky trained if I want to have children anytime soon. He is sooooo bad – also a lab mixed mutt. Barley and Rocky should be friends! Maybe Barkley could teach Rocky a thing or two!!

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