Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jada, The Big Sister!

When we first got Jada, I was very unsure that I ever wanted to have children. I was fine with the idea that I would just be a dog mom for the rest of my life. Jada was our baby and was treated just like a child.

As time went on, and after my husband and I had gotten married, my feelings had changed (that darn biological clock started ticking!).  In September 2009, I found out that I was pregnant.  My husband and I were very excited but something in the back of my mind had me worried ... how would Jada act around the baby, since technically she was the baby first?

I asked other people (which I found out while being pregnant isn't always the best because every situation is different!), and it only made me feel more worried. I was told that "oh, she's a little dog, she's going to get nasty and jealous" and then I was told "you are going to have to get rid of her because a friend of mine had a little dog and it bit their baby and blah, blah, blah ... " I became sick to my stomach of the thought of having to get rid of Jada. I, of course, wouldn't want anything to happen to my child but getting rid of Jada was never an option and completely out of the question! She would just have to learn to be nice to the baby.

I went online and did some research on not only how to prepare to be a new parent but also how to prepare my dog for baby.  One article suggested using a baby doll to get your dog used to the idea that mommy has to give some attention to the new baby.  I also made it smell like a real baby with baby powder so Jada would get used to the scents before the baby was actually here. Well, this sort of work but she would still jump on my lap and actually sit on the baby doll and try to nudge it out of the way to get to me. I noticed that she was getting jealous. I was heartbroken but I wasn't giving up. I used the baby doll off and on and eventually just left it in my room to get used to the idea the baby was "still around."

After we had the nursery set up, Jada had to learn that this was her new brother's room. I would take her in and show her everything and even let her smell the lotions, powders and clothing.

Finally, on May 1, 2010, two weeks earlier than expected, we welcomed a healthy baby boy, Braylon. My husband stayed with me most of the night but then went home to sleep. From my internet research, I told my husband to take one of Braylon's blankets home that he was wrapped in to put in Jada's crate for her to get his scent.

I was only in the hospital for 2 days. I was nervous all the way home, with not only being a new mom but also, how is Jada going to react?! We got into the house, (and like almost every dog, she was super excited to see us). We put Braylon down in his car seat and let Jada sniff, staying close the entire time. AND ... she was fine with him!  Gave a few sniffs and nudges and then came into my arms. Whew! The first meeting was a success!!

Over the next few days, we all adjusted to having a new baby  in the house. Jada was very curious and would watch over me constantly.  We knew the key was to also give her the same and acknowledge her just like before Braylon.  I also think it helped that I was home with her being on maternity leave so when Braylon was napping it was just me and her.  After a while, we started to notice that she dislike the late night/early morning feedings of the baby because it distrubed her sleep :)  With me getting in and out of bed every 4 hours, she would have to move over or get up and she did not like that at all.  She actually slept in her crate the first month!
Jada is very tolerant and patient with her little brother, especially now that he is crawling and moving around. She lets him touch her and sometimes he gets over excited and pulls her ear or pinches her but we correct him to "pet the puppy nice" and he loves it.  She will only growl to leave us know "that's enough baby brother" and never snipped at him. All this time I worried and here she completely proved everyone wrong. Jada is amazing!!
Monkey See, Monkey Do!
Jada also helped Braylon's torticolis (his neck muscles were not stretched on his right side, therefore, his head would constantly be looking to only that side), by assistanting in his therapy.  Since he is always interested as to where she is, he would have to move his neck to see her and stretch out those muscles.
Staring Contest

Best Pals!
Sneaking puffs to Jada ... no wonder she's always hanging around!

Please share that snack with  me, brother!
Overall Jada has adjusted very well to her little brother and is a great big sister!


Amusing Bunni said...

This is the sweetest story, Melissa. I'm happy everything is turning out so well.

Braylon is SO handsome and looks like such a wonderful and happy Baby. Jada is the perfect sister and best friend for him.

Thanks for sharing all the adorable pictures.

24 Paws of Love said...

I think it is wonderful the bond that happens between humans, children and dogs. Though we don't have children I have witnessed such love and it is truly amazing. Dogs can adjust quickly and have an unknowing willingness to protect and love.

I come from an unloving home, but we had a dog that gave me that nurturing and care that I was missing that I held on to dearly all my life. And now I am surrounded by it.

What a beautiful experience you shared with your son and Jada. So happy they have each other.