Before Boo was born, I read extensively about techniques to try with dogs to make the meeting of the two go smoothly.
The day after Boo was born, Hubster went home with a used baby gro and duly offered it to Rosie to sniff so the baby scent was not alien to her.
When we came home from hospital, Hubster carried the car seat. I entered the house first and made a fuss if the dog and, I naively thought that would be it.
We were lucky with Boo. That first night, she slept. Unfortunately, the dog did not. She cried and whimpered from the kitchen all night and, the times when she was in the same room with Boo, she displayed some behaviour I had never seen before and it frightened me.
I had been in labour for a long time in the same position and I was aching all over. So much so that I felt, in an emergency situation, would I be able to grab the baby away from the dog if needs be?
I decided I wouldn’t and, not knowing what else to do, Rosie was sent to the farm.
It was terrible. My dog-partner and faithful friend would not get on with the new baby and I was heart broken.
I had a severe attack of the baby blues and even my mum blames it on the missing dog.
In other situations, many people get rid of the dog at this point. Thankfully, having the farm (and not living there back then) meant we didn’t have to do that.
Hubster would bring Rosie for an hour ever day for me to stroke her and then take her back to the farm.
That was until some neighbours grew curious as to why the hormone-laced woman stood crying at her husband’s car each day, stroking the dog (but never taking her in) and then sobbing back to the house.
They approached Hubster, who told them the situation and offered to take Rosie in to help. She would be next-door-but-one. I could hear her bark at the post man and I felt better.
In the end she was there about six weeks. These dog-angels played Rosie the sound of babies crying over YouTube to prepare her for the noise. They taught her to sit and be obedient and to learn ‘no.’
You see, in the days before Boo, Rosie was my baby. She sat on my knee, was held like a baby, treated like an extended family member and I was wrong.
Despite her being my first-fur born, Rosie is a dog but she didn’t know. I think she thought she was my child.
It took six weeks to get to this.
She would come round for an hour each afternoon and she really had improved. Boo and Rosie got to know each other and, in the end, we went from the above, to Rosie being Boo’s greatest protector and now, her friend partner in crime.
When friends have brought their babies round, Rosie has sat next to their car seats and guarded them. She doesn’t even lick (unheard of for her).
I have worried about the new baby though and how she will we react.
It is different at the farm though, our living room is on the second floor and we sleep on the third so technically, she can stay down in the kitchen but I did hope it wouldn’t come to that.
She is used to the bustle and noise now with a giddy four-year old.
I would say though that despite loving Rosie with all my heart, she is a dog and she is a Jack Russell. I would be blind to miss the horrific stories in the news of dogs attacking babies.
I have never, ever left Boo and Rosie in the same room alone. One of them (usually the dog who still follows me like a shadow) comes with me and we have a series of baby gates because of all the stairs.
Dogs are pack animals. I have seen Rosie ratting. I know what she is capable of. It is nature. I read once that the reason dogs always go for baby’s faces is because that is what they are attracted to-the sound coming from their mouths.
Add into this that a small child thinks it is hilarious to ride the dog like a horse, tease it with food and generally poke it at any given opportunity, the risk of leaving them alone, even now is too great.
I am Rosie’s owner but I am a mother and it is my duty to protect my children. I don’t know at what age I will trust Rosie alone with Boo but definitely not yet..
On a more uplifting note though, here is Rosie with her latest charge, taking her role as big-fur-sister very seriously indeed. I do think it may have something todo with Rosie having fond memories of camping out under Boo’s high chair for nit-bits and her looking forward to thar with Beb.
Never, ever leave a dog alone with a baby or child. Even if the dog is a beloved family pet with no history of aggression. A second is all it could take.