We get asked all the time how the dogs are handling the transition from baby to toddler. It’s a complicated question. Each dog is so different. We really had no idea what to expect and, frankly, our predictions were completely wrong.
Dougal Going into parenthood, we though Dougal would have the biggest problem with the transition. Dougal is the baby. He’s a perpetual puppy, who has to be the center of the universe at all times. He’s needy. He’s demanding. He’s difficult. He’s my favorite. I worried he would be resentful of Harry, that he might lash out or throw tantrums. But, he’s been Harry’s biggest fan from the beginning.
Even before we got home from the hospital, Dougal has been smitten with Harry. Ben brought a blanket home from the hospital while Harry and I were still there. Dougal was the only dog who cared to sniff it and he was crazy about it!
Once Harry came home, the love only grew. Now, they are constant companions. Though Harry is getting more challenging, Dougal is ever patient and sweet. They share meals and chase around the yard together. They hug and kiss, and Harry tries to share his toothbrush. They are so sweet together. I’m completely surprised.
Hank This is where we were most wrong. Hank has had major anxiety since Harry joined our family. He gets upset and paces when Harry cries. He doesn’t like Harry to touch him, and he seems stressed out almost all the time. We do everything we can to keep them separated.
We try to carve out as much special time as we can for Hank, but it’s really hard to do. I snuggle Hank every night after Harry goes to bed, but I don’t know that it’s helping ease his anxiety. He just seems really stressed. Walks help, but it’s been hard to get out for regular walks. Hell, it’s been hard to squeeze in a shower most days!
I’ve read a ton of articles about how to handle this, but nothing has been particularly helpful. I’m hoping time and distance help. Hank is really good with older kids.
Otis Otis is the zen master of dogs. Nothing phases him. He’s a dream. Sometimes I look into his eyes and see great wisdom. Sometimes I look and wonder if there’s anyone in there. I really don’t know about him. But, he’s such an easy dog to manage. I can take him anywhere. He’s mostly indifferent to Harry, but that’s a good thing. In our life, anything low maintenance is a lovely change.
Grace Over time, Grace has gotten remarkably tolerant of Harry. He’s a bit obsessed with hugging her right now. His new word is “black” and he loves to point to one of her black spots and shout “Black! Black!” over and over. She mostly ignores it. She’s almost completely blind and deaf now, but she seems to enjoy the hugs and snuggles. She’s getting really affectionate in her old age.