The Life of Bon: An Ode to Maverick: How We Helped our Dog Transition to a Baby

Monday, June 08, 2015

An Ode to Maverick: How We Helped our Dog Transition to a Baby

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Maverick had a rough time when June Bug was born.  All of a sudden he was plummeted from VIP status to “after baby is fed and mom has napped and house is clean and lessons are planned and essays are graded” status.  It’s quite the status drop, even for a dog!  The adjustment for all of us was rough and in our most harried and stressed moments, our puppy did what puppies do best- he jumped on furniture, he whined for attention, he got into garbage.  He smothered us with with puppy love and wouldn't let us two feet out of his sight.  It was a little rough.

June at five days old.

Despite the sometimes stressful adjustment period, however, I have been immensely grateful these months to have Maverick.  He is so loyal to me.  It’s kind of weird the tenderness I have felt for him in these months.  He’s my midnight partner.  Every time June wakes up in the middle of the night, Maverick is right there by my side.  I’ll hear her cry at 3 am and roll over with one eye open.  I’ll see Maverick stir from the foot of the bed and look over at me.  “Here we go again”  he seems to say to me.  I roll out of bed and down the hall and Maverick trudges behind me, to June’s room where I feed her in her nursery with the moonlight pouring in.  Maverick plops down on the floor beside me and dozes while I nurse June, rock June, and put her back down.  Maverick follows me back to the bedroom, or if needed goes down with me to get a drink of water or waits for me to go the bathroom.  We make it back to the bedroom together.  If I forget something and have to get back out of bed, Maverick gets up with me.  My middle of the night best friend.  He doesn’t like being awoken from his slumber any more than I do, but he does it willingly and maybe even kindly, not leaving me alone to do my midnight bidding.

Now, as June gets older, it is especially fun now to see June and Maverick start to interact with each other.  My family is not “dog people” and so it’s kind of crazy for me to sit here and see what it’s like to raise a dog with your kids, to have the dog be part of the family.  June loves Mavvy.  He’s been a part of her life since her birth- as constant in her every day as mom or dad.  It kind of blows my mind to see how she arches her little body in excitement when she sees him, the way she lets him tug and pull on her legs, the way she unknowingly taunts him with a tennis ball.  (Or is it knowingly?)  It is such a joy to see these two play with each other.

 June at ten months old.

I hope Maverick knows how much he means to our little family.  How much it means to me to have him there when I come home from work, to feel him at the foot of the bed, to know that he’ll bark if a stranger comes in to our home.  I wonder if you can ever repay a dog for everything he has given to you and your family?  I suspect the answer is no, but here’s a couple of things I’ve done to show Maverick my appreciation during this transition time and to help him adjust to his expired only child status:

1.  Walks walks and more walks.  It’s a no brainer, but if Maverick gets his daily walk he is so much better behaved and the garbage eating and couch tearing are kept to a minimum.  I think, too, in this changing year, that walks have been the most important thing for Maverick to help him feel safe.  There’s a new crying entity in the house, new smells, new people, but to me, when Maverick is getting his walk he is reminded that the world is constant and nothing in his life can ever go permanently wrong.

 June at three months old.

2.  Tennis balls.  Maverick is a tennis ball nut, to put it lightly.  It is his heroin!  He wouldn’t be able to stop even if he was starving to death!  He’d run right off a cliff to get a ball!  MY DOG DOES NOT THINK CLEARLY AND DOES NOT MAKE GOOD DECISIONS WHEN A TENNIS BALL IS INVOLVED.  Greg or I try to throw the ball for Maverick  for at least a few minutes each day.  We can usually just go outside our front door and throw the ball down our empty street ten or fifteen times  a day.  Kind of like his walks, the tennis ball is a sign of comfort and stability and helps Maverick to know that we're here for him no matter how much his life seems to change.

3.  Bath time.  I don’t have a lot of experience with dogs besides Maverick so I often wonder if this is unusual or not, but Maverick loooooooves getting a bath.  After he gets the bath I comb through his hair and run the blowdryer on him until he is warmed up.   He cuddles right up to me as I do it and loves every second of it.  Maverick, if all you need to be happy in this life is a little bit of warm air while I comb your hair, then no problem, I’ve got you covered.

4.   Bed sharing.  We never used to let Maverick lie on the bed with us, but shortly after we had June we caved and let him sleep at the foot of our bed.  I realize that even the foot of the bed is a slippery slope that leads quickly and dangerously to all out family bed sharing, but I feel like it’s important for Mav to have this time with Greg and I.  June goes to bed an hour or two earlier than the rest of us and Maverick gets to remember what it was like before the baby came bursting in to his life.  I think having him sleep with us in the room too is kind of a way to show him that he is different to us than June.  He might not get to come with us to run errands, but he does get to sleep on our bed and June does not. 

5.  Food!  I have found that something that has been super important this past year is to stay consistent with Maverick’s food.  When we go up to Greg’s parents house, Maverick often eats the food up there and then he inevitably ends up with some stomach and pooping issues.  Keeping his food consistent to what he likes and to what reminds him of home and stability has been crucial for us.  We love IAMS dry dog food from Target and Maverick can’t get enough of it.  Having IAMS dog food as part of Maverick’s diet helps do the following:  boost immunity, burn fat, promote healthy digestion, maintain muscle, and reduce tartar build up.  I make sure that June is getting the healthy, properly balanced food she needs to learn and grow, so it only makes sense that I do the same for Mavvy.  Also, IAMS dog food offers different food according to the pup’s life stage so IAMS can be with us throughout Maverick’s entire life.

Shopping at Target for pet needs is a no brainer because 
a) I am already at Target at least once a week.
b) I can use Target’s cartwheel app to get even more money off.  If you don’t already have this app, it is seriously the way to go for Target shoppers.  You get extra savings on so many products.  Now through July 25 IAMS dry and wet dog food is 10% off with the app, (click here for deal) IAMS dry cat food is 10% off, (click here for deal) and IAMS wet cat food is 5% off (click here for deal) with the app.  Cat food is on sale until July 11.  
c) I can pick up all of my pet needs in the same stop- toys, treats, food, etc.  No need to head to a specialty pet store, Target’s got it all in the same place I buy my razors, my clothes, my groceries, my home supplies, YOU KNOW HOW IT IS WITH TARGET.

IAMS dog food is super easy to find at Target.  It is, naturally, where all the dog food is.

I'd love to hear how your pet handled it when you brought a new baby into the home.  Was it as hard a transition as it was for us and Maverick?  And when we bring the next baby home do we have to go through the same process all over again?

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