Yes, I have a child. But I’m still a fur mom too.

“Once the baby is here, Duke will just become a dog to you.  He won’t be your baby anymore.”

When Ben and I got married, we both knew the other was an animal lover.  I already had a dog, Duke, who was without a doubt my baby.  Before we were married, I adopted a kitten named Grayson.  After the wedding, my childhood cat Sassy joined us in our new home.  Another dog, Hank, was adopted soon after.

By the time I got pregnant with Skeeter, our house was full of four legged babies.  Our Facebook profiles were covered with pictures of Hank, Duke, Grayson, and Sassy.  We spent afternoons in the backyard playing fetch with Duke and wrestling with Hank. Duke and Sassy snuggled up in bed with us every night.  We enjoyed watching Grayson and Sassy play together.  We laughed watching six pound Sassy put the fear of God into 100 pound Hank.  Hank and Duke even came along to most tailgates and cook-offs we traveled to.  Everyone told us things would change after the baby was born.

In a sense, they were right.  Things did change after Skeeter was born.  Sadly, Sassy passed away right before Skeeter was born, so we ended up with even more of an adjustment period than we’d anticipated.  Combine that with Skeeter’s NICU stay and you could probably expect everyone’s predictions to come true.

But instead of pushing the animals to the back burner, we just let our relationships with them evolve and grow.  We did try unsuccessfully to let Duke and Hank continue to tag along to tailgates and cook-offs, but it ended up being a little too much for us to keep an eye on them and Skeeter.  So instead, they do stay home with a dog sitter.  And sure, they don’t get as much attention on our Facebook pages.  But guess what?  They’re still part of our family, and they’re still very loved.

Babies and FurbabiesIn fact, I would say they’re even more loved.  Our animal loving personalities poured over to Skeeter.  Guess who gets excited for her “chore” of feeding the animals in the evening?  {Of course, she’s supervised.}  And she and Hank play a wild game of chase throughout the house that leaves us all in stitches.  I even caught Skeeter and antisocial Duke snuggling on the couch the other day!

They still get adult attention too – Ben and I take turns walking the dogs in the evenings after Skeeter’s bedtime.  Duke and I still snuggle up in bed every night.  Hank has an endless supply of rawhides.  And Grayson?  Well, he’s a cat, so he just gets into a lot of trouble.

Yes, they sometimes drive me crazy.  But you know what else sometimes drives me crazy?  Toddler tantrums.  The endless pile of laundry.  My husband.  {Oh, I went there.}  But I really do love all of those…well, except the laundry.

Regardless of how busy we are with work, gymnastics, doctors appointments, traveling, etc, we made a commitment to our animals.  We will care for them and love them as long as we’re allowed to.  Yes, they hold a different part of our hearts than Skeeter, but they’re still our babies too.  For us the word “family” includes those with two legs AND those with four legs.

{Read more about our transition from fur babies to human babies here.}

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