When you introduce your baby to your dog there are few things the experts tell you to do. Things you might not think of like taking a singlet with the baby's smell on it so the dog can get used to it the day before the meeting, and also the ones that are pretty obvious, like making sure the dog is restrained and hasn't been fed any baby-shaped snacks recently to avoid confusion.
Hubby and I have a beautiful Belgian Shepherd (Malinois) cross called Sprocket, named after the dog in the '80's Jim Henson TV show, Fraggle Rock. We rescued him from the animal shelter when he was about six months old. He'd been found wandering the streets weighing next to nothing with all his ribs sticking out and a few very suspicious scars on him that look like he might have been burnt.
So we took him home, fattened him up and still to this day marvel how a dog that was so badly treated in his early days has such a beautiful nature. Nothing upsets Sprocket (other than when you stop playing fetch and he looks at you like “Why are you stopping? We were having so much fun!”
Of course, being young he is still highly excitable and prone to jumping up on people, especially if he hasn't seen them in a while. So we were unsure how such a hyperactive dog would handle an infant being around.
When I was in hospital Sprocket was a little out of sorts because he wasn't getting his nightly cuddles – you see he has an old couch out the back that he lays on until he gets his cuddles, then we say “Off to bed” and he gets up and goes in to his kennel. But without his nightly cuddle... he just stayed on the couch. And it was freezing, the poor thing! Tricky wasn't even home yet and Sprocket was a bit put out.
On introducing them to each other Hubby held on tight to Sprocket's collar and I lowered Tricky slightly so that he wouldn't jump up on us. We were braced for a lunge of excitement and energy... but what we got was some sniffing, an attempted lick and then he tried to go get his ball. Anti climax. Completely disinterested! And it has continued this way since. On the few occasions he is allowed inside (Sprocket that is, Tricky is allowed inside quite a bit) the same thing has happened – a bit of sniff, a lick of the toes and then on to something else. Whilst I know it isn't a green light to leave the two alone together, or even let my guard down when they're near each other, it is a massive weight off my shoulders.
I think as Tricky gets older he and Sprocket will be best of friends - let's just hope that Sprocket's laid back attitude continues... does anyone know what the smallest size saddle you can buy is?
My other beautiful boy, Sprocket