Our first kid was our dog Nigel. We’ve had this little Yorkshire Terrier since he was 12 weeks old. He’s recently celebrated his 10th birthday. Nigel is still blonde and steel blue, beautiful I say, but oh so stubborn! We also have a female dog named Sable that we adopted when we first moved out to LA. Sable is a terrier mix, part Affenpinscher and Cairn Terrier. I think Nigel still thinks Sable is here temporarily even though she’s been with us for 6 years. Since Teagan was born my husband and I have agreed that having dogs actually prepared us for parenthood. We got all our baby talk out on the pups! I really don’t think we ever talked to Teagan like she was a baby. Nigel got the bulk of the “oh the itty-bitty baby, oh you’re so cute, goo-goo, gaa-gaa” talk. Don’t get me wrong Teagan’s been showered with her share of cooing noises and funny faces from us but for the most part, we’ve always talked to her like we talked to anyone else. We tend to engage her in conversation rather than talk at her. Most important, these canines taught us about responsibility. We have to walk, feed, love, and take care of their health just like our children.
Sable wasn’t too fond of Teagan when the stork delivered her. Sable is definitely an alpha dog and I was worried about her being aggressive around Teagan. I think Sable knew that she was going down a notch in the chain of command and that Daddy had a new favorite. There was talk of giving Sable away but my husband insisted on waiting and see how things matured. I am glad we did. Nigel pretty much kept his distance from Teagan. He knew that whatever this thing was, she definitely meant a lot to us.
Teagan is almost 3 now and she adores the dogs. Sable likes the attention and realizes that Teagan will play tug of war. Nigel still keeps his distance but will occasionally offer Teagan a kiss on the nose. Pets teach kids responsibility from early on. Teagan tries to be gentle with them and often participates in walks, feedings and bath time. They make her laugh and they are her “friends”. They’ve all definitely bonded, even though there are times when they have no choice. The dogs drive me nuts (BARK!) but I love them. I even think that Teagan has not suffered from colds and other sickness because of the dogs. There is something magical about owning and sharing life with dogs. Our dogs are both unique, have very strong personalities and they complete our family. =)