The Ugly Bald Puppy, Part 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, P and I had no fears about Kona’s acceptance of our baby.  Lucky for us, she proved us right!

Out for a walk - Kona's leash manners are excellent when she is with the stroller.

Out for a walk – Kona’s leash manners are excellent when she is with the stroller.

O and I went home the day after his birth.  As Kona hadn’t seen me in over 30 hours, P took O into the living room so that I could greet Kona alone in the Kitchen.  Well, I needn’t have bothered.  She had NO INTEREST in seeing me, and instead was staring intently at P in the living room.

The baby hadn’t made a sound, but she knew someone new was there.  P brought O into the kitchen and Kona went into excitement overload – her tail was wagging a mile a minute, and she was sniffing and nudging P intently.  Unlike when a new adult arrives though, she was exceptionally obedient, listening and obeying every command she was given.

That first week at home Kona was very attentive to the baby.  Every time he cried she would rush over, tail wagging, wanting to “help” (aka lick baby from head to toe).  Eventually she stopped rushing over, and instead stared at me as if to say “aren’t  you going to do something about this?”.  But if a stranger is holding him when he cries, she will run right over to check things out.

Also in those first two weeks Kona finally had the incentive to try a “jail break” from the dog zone of our house.  She would stick her nose out to stop the gate from latching when one of us left the kitchen and then wait.  10 or 20 minutes later we would look up and discover Kona had come to find us upstairs.  In our state of sleep deprivation it took us several days to realize what she was doing!

Please can I play with the ugly puppy?

Please can I play with the ugly bald puppy?

Luckily, while she is still keen on licking him, she seems to understand that we don’t like it. We recently moved his swing into the kitchen and I thought I’d have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she stayed clear of his head and hands (he loves to chew on them, she loves to lick them, not a good combo!).  I was happily surprised to find she leaves his head & hands alone, and instead will lie on the floor and nudge his feet as he swings.

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Ooo! Ooo! Here it comes!

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Let me help you with this swinging thing

P and I couldn’t be happier with how well Kona has adapted to life with a baby.  We can’t wait until our son is older and the two of them become the best of friends.

The Ugly Bald Puppy, Part 1

When I was pregnant, probably the most asked question after “when are you due” was “how will Kona react to the baby?”.  It isn’t surprising then that the most offered piece of unsolicited advice given to us was how to introduce a baby and dog.

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Our first “baby”

P and I weren’t concerned about Kona’s acceptance of a baby for a number of reasons.  She’s a labrador retriever, which is a breed well known for being excellent with children.  In fact my Dad told us stories about my parents’ black lab, Domino, who was a bit nutty, but very good with toddlers and children.  We’d witnessed her reactions to children, toddlers, and even an 8 week old infant.  In all cases, she was happy and excited – in fact, she gets as excited about kids as she does about other dogs.  Once she discovered strollers contain children, they became one of the things she would run to if she was off leash.

Me and Domino, 1979.  Who needs a Bumbo?

Me and Domino, 1979. Who needs a Bumbo?

But being a young lab (only 18 months old when our son was born), Kona doesn’t know her own strength.  When playing with small dogs or puppies she is noticeably more gentle.  Still, we are very vigilant when children are around, especially those learning to walk.  A loving nudge from Kona and they will tumble to the ground!

Countless people suggested that P bring a receiving blanket home from the hospital so that Kona could get used to the baby’s smell before we brought him or her home.  Great in theory, but not practical in reality as we spent very little time in the hospital after the birth (less than 16 hours which included an overnight stay).  Thankfully, it also proved to be unnecessary…

So how is Kona with our son?  Well, a few weeks after we brought him home, I saw this picture on Facebook:

Source

It perfectly captures Kona’s relationship with our “ugly bald puppy”.  More on their first meeting and their friendship to follow!