Long before the days of Aisha, our little pup Nakita had the rule of the roost. She had three beds in the house, a million balls and squeak toys, and the undivided attention of all and any who visited. Our house rule was “please acknowledge the dog,” not because she was that important, but because she wouldn’t quit barking at visitors unless she received a rub.
When I was in the last days of being pregnant, Nakita took to lying at or on my belly, which I thought was pretty cute, and I hoped that she would be as attentive once the baby arrived.
And then the baby arrived.
Once the star of the house, Nakita was abruptly usurped as the new pink, wriggling, pooping thing quickly became top dog. Our poor little fuzzball couldn’t understand why, as with other small squeaky things in the house, she wasn’t allowed to chew on, drag or lick it. Loving words of affection and tummy rubs became “Nakita, no!” or “Stop that” and gentle shoves away when she got too close to the mysterious being.
I can only imagine that the displacement was similar to that of kids who were once onlies, and then having to deal with all attention going to the new kid in town. Feeling rejected, Miss ‘Kita fell into a sort of depression, and spent the first month and a half of Aisha’s life sitting on the outskirts of the living room, or leaving altogether when the baby was present. She stopped eating and would hardly raise her head when it was time for her daily walk. Or, every time one of us would hold Aisha, Nakita would try to climb into our laps, or whimper until someone else picked her up.
Slowly, though, I have noticed a change.
She will bark when anyone but family goes to pick up the baby – as if to say, “That’s our toy, not yours!” She also will come to the bedroom door in the morning and lie down right out front until I tell her it’s okay to go. She has NEVER come into my room or the baby’s without being forced (ha), but upon hearing Aisha cry, if the doors are open, Nakita will enter the room and sit at the foot of the bed until the wailing stops. Then she’ll trot out into the foyer and wait a few minutes until she is sure all is well.
When I bring Aisha downstairs and sit with her on the living room sofa, Nakita will hop up next to us and gently nudge and sniff the baby. “Nice…gentle…” I advise, and ‘Kita will kiss Aisha’s feet or nuzzle her sides, which makes her squirm (my wee girl is ticklish). However, if Aisha reaches for her, Nakita will immediately scamper away.
I suspect that it will be a while yet before they are true friends; Nakita is a biter when her toys and space are being jeopardized, so I will forever have to keep an eye her when the two of them are together. But for now, the dog finally seems accepting of the newest member of the household.
Time will tell.