Delilah loves animals! She has five pets to love, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. We have two dogs named Diesel and Wash, and Delilah calls them Doggo. We also have three cats whose names are Kraken, Mindy, and Penelope, and Delilah refers to them as Ki-Ki. She won’t consistently say Ma-Ma or Da-Da, but she’s got Doggo and Ki-Ki down. She also likes to say uh-uh to everything I say, which we have her grandma to thank for that one!
I call them Delilah’s pets but we actually had all of our pets before I was pregnant with Delilah. Kraken and Mindy even moved with us from California. I remembering hearing stories of pets acting differently when you’re pregnant, but I never really had that experience. The dogs didn’t seem to notice at all and only Penelope really paid much attention to my growing belly out of the cats, but I think she just liked using my belly as a pillow to sleep on.
When I was pregnant I had some concerns about how it was going to be having a newborn baby in the house with all these animals. And almost all of them slept on our bed at night, so that was one of my first concerns. The second was mostly with noise from our dogs – I love them to death but our dogs love to bark. We live on a quiet street, so the slightest noise sets them off. They also run off to bark in whatever window is closest to the noise, which scared me even before I was pregnant. I would wake up from a nap on the couch to a dog jumping over my head! Luckily, they aren’t big dogs. My last concern was simply not knowing how the dogs would react to the baby. We had some knowledge that Wash had a positive history with young kiddos, but no idea about Diesel. He was really young when we adopted him so it’s unlikely that he had any previous history with children.
I didn’t have many worries when it came to the cats. Kraken has been around babies before and was fine. I remember when my niece was little she would carry him up and down the hall and he never seemed to care. Mindy mostly keeps to herself. My biggest concern was with Penelope. She’s my wildcard because I don’t know much about her earlier life. She just showed up at our door one day and decided she lived here, quite literally! I pet her a little bit on the porch and when I opened the door to go inside she walked right in, past the dogs and everything. She doesn’t act like a stray at all, but I know she was for at least a while because her ear was clipped when she showed up. I had no idea if she had ever been around kids or how she would react to the baby.
Fast forward to now, and Delilah is 11 months and animal obsessed, and very few of my concerns during pregnancy could actually be considered issues. When we brought Delilah home from the hospital the dogs of course needed to sniff her and all her stuff. I’m sure they were more concerned that we had been gone for a few days, than by us bringing the baby home.
After the initial excitement of bringing home Delilah, the animals for the most part left her alone. I remember feeling a little sad that there wasn’t any kind of instant protective bond with any of the animals and Delilah like you see in cute videos on the internet! However, I’d rather they leave her alone than constantly try to be in her face or worse, like accidentally scratching her.
When it came to the barking I was pleasantly surprised because it didn’t bother Delilah as a newborn. She could sleep through it and wasn’t startled by it if she was awake. I half wondered if she heard it so many times while I was pregnant that she was used to it by the time she was born. Now that she’s a little bigger the barking will wake her up from time to time, but it’s only a small issue compared to being afraid she’d never be able to nap because of them.
The biggest issue we have with the dogs their running when they get excited. They are so focused on getting to whatever window where they want to bark, that they don’t seem to notice anything in their way. This is one issue we really haven’t found a resolution for other than keeping a close eye on Delilah and making sure she’s not in their path when they take off. We use a baby gate to separate the living room and dining room and that helped a little bit by limiting the windows the dogs can get to when they’re in the living room with Delilah. And, we can keep the dogs out of Delilah’s play area when they are acting up.
For the most part, the cats keep to themselves. I think they actually care more about Delilah’s stuff then they seem to care about her. The changing table, the crib, the rocker and all her blankets are just cozy things for them to sleep on. As it was when I was pregnant, Penelope seems to be the only one interested in Delilah.
With the animals mostly keeping to themselves, I find it so funny just how much Delilah is obsessed with them. There are mornings when Delilah wakes up and immediately sits up in bed and starts calling for her Doggos. I noticed she’s started classifying all animals she sees as either Doggo or Ki-Ki. When she sees a bear in a book we’re reading, she calls it a doggo, but when she saw the mounted deer in Sportsman’s Warehouse, she called them Ki-Ki!
Because of Delilah’s love for her pets, we work really hard to teach her how to respect their space when they don’t want to be petted. Wash never seems to mind, but there are times where I can tell Diesel wants his space. Luckily for us he’s pretty patient and will just walk away and go lie down somewhere else. When Delilah pets the animals, we show her how to pet them gently. She usually is gentle first but the second you look away she tries to pull at their hair. When she does this I usually show her again how to pet them nicely and if she keeps pulling on their hair I move her away from them. Recently when I’m showing her how to pet the animals nicely she takes my hand and show me how to pet the dog nicely too, so I think she’ll get it soon.
When I saw how much Delilah was interested with our dogs I wondered if she would be comfortable with other people’s animals as well. Though she doesn’t get to spend time with other peoples’ pets often, she does seem to love them just as much as her own Doggos and Ki-Kis. It doesn’t seem to matter the size of the animal either. At my dad’s house, she chases his three little pugs around the room and when we’re at a friend’s house she laughs the kisses from their very large boxer. Her love for animals doesn’t stop at family and friends’ pets either. There are times while we’re out shopping when she makes us stop so she can say hi to the Doggos we meet!