Oh I'm sorry, are we keeping you awake?
How many of us get dogs first, have kids later? When we came home with Cliff about 2 years and 2 months ago our neighbour said to us: "You know. The statistic actually says, couples who get a puppy, have a baby within about two years."
Well. Look at me being all part of a statistic.
We've started the process of trying to *not* make Cliff the centre of our life, but it's really hard. Because he's just the best buddy ever. We didn't get a puppy as a learning experiment - I have always just really, really wanted a dog of my own. Mike had never had a pet (ever) in his life and he was reluctant at first - and I worked on him for MONTHS. I used the sad eyes, the negotiation tactics, the well thought out arguments, and the ultimatums. I finally wore him down. But now of course I have to question the pecking order in our little pack relationship because when Mike gets in the door and Cliff hears him, all bets are off. It's like a Homeward Bound reunion every.day. at 5:00pm in our house. And of course I love it.
What I don't love is the raised eyebrows from my mother, sister, friends etc. when they put to us the age old question: What are you going to do when the baby gets here? How will Cliff survive not being the centre of attention?
I know that too much attention for a dog isn't the best training tactic - in fact I'm pretty sure it accounts for 100% of the bad behaviours Cliff has developed in our care. I'm not going to translate this onto our ability to raise well-behaved and well-adjusted kids. Because that's just not a fair thing to do to a person. But I will confess, it's probably better for both Cliff and us if we start to work into our lifestyle some more "boundaries." Our experiment so far is kind of working - about three months ago we started to wean Cliff off the bed (I know, I know. You don't approve of dogs on the bed. He gets cold in the winter sleeping on the floor, OK?!) It's been working ... until about 3:45 ish AM when he silently, so stealthily SNEAKS up onto the bed while we're in the midst of deep REM sleep. Sometimes I catch him - sometimes Mike catches him. About 45% of the time, he makes it up successfully without disturbing the beast. Anyway. Were working on it.
And we're going to find a way to co-exist happily.... with no hurt feelings. I just know it.