On parenthood and dog ownership

Whew, it’s been a hell of a long time since I last posted anything here!  Sorry about that to any followers I still have, things got more than a bit hectic here.  My pregnancy did NOT go well at all.  At 11 weeks we were told there was around a 60% chance there was something seriously wrong and a good chance the baby wouldn’t survive.  A million and one scans and a giant needle stuck into my belly later we were finally given the all clear at 20 weeks.  I had really bad sciatica type pain through most of the pregnancy, was diagnosed with SPD later on, my blood pressure was up and down like a yo-yo and eventually I went in to have my blood pressure checked and was told “you’re having this baby this weekend, you’re at high risk of seizures”.  Well their faces when I reminded them I was epileptic lol.  A little over 2 hours later I was being prepped for an emergency c section and Jack was born weighing 7lbs 3oz.  A week later we finally came home.  And oh boy was Spens nose out of joint!

Having a baby and owning a dog stories always seem to go one of two ways when you ask people, either it’s a nightmare and the dog ends up rehomed or it’s absolute perfection from the start, dog loves baby and all that.  Well for us it’s been neither.  Poor Spen has been an absolute star the last 9 months or so.  His exercise went from long walks on a daily basis to perhaps one long walk a week because I could barely walk across my tiny living room.  Hell, I could barely get out of bed some days.  I felt terrible for him but he coped brilliantly.  He got shunted around family while I was in hospital.  Again, he coped.  Although he did keep my brother up all night the night he had him stay there and apparently made a nest out of all his clothes lol.  He was most put out when I finally came home and brought a horrendously noisy creature with me to disrupt his life.  And his life certainly has been disrupted by Jacks arrival.  But again, he’s coped so well.

Spencer mostly ignored Jack for the first couple of months which was fine by us, we didn’t want him obsessed with the baby.  We let him have a sniff when we first brought him home but he wasn’t overly interested.  He’d come and nudge me in the night when he heard Jack stirring but I’m not sure whether that was just so I’d shut the noisy thing up sooner lol.  He doesn’t like being in the room when Jack cries even now, I think he noise must be too loud for him.  Yet if he cries while we’re somewhere other than home he’s right there to make sure everything is okay.  Once he knows someone’s noticed (although how we couldn’t notice I don’t know!) he’ll happily wander off again.  So Spencer and Jack haven’t been a problem really.  The problem has been getting into some sort of routine.  We’re 13 weeks in now and just about have a very general routine going on.  Get up and feed Jack around 5am, go back to bed until 7ish, give him second breakfast, get him dressed and a bag packed for going out.  Offer him another feed, even if it’s just a top up.  Get Spens harness and leash on.  Get Jack wrapped or in his pram, whichever I’m using that day.  Go out for a walk.  We’re usually out and about somewhere between 8 and 9am now.  I’ve found that if I don’t walk Spen first thing then he generally doesn’t get a walk.  Which isn’t fair to him so I try to make sure we head out first thing.

Then there are the practicalities of walking a dog with a baby.  Take a pram and you often find yourself thwarted in your walking attempts by horrendous mud.  Or stairs.  Or gateways that are too narrow for the pram.  Or stiles.  So I looked at baby wearing and I absolutely love carrying Jack hands free.  But there are still downsides to it.  What if someones out of control dog jumps at me?  What if I’m knocked down from behind?  What if a dog grabs his dangling foot?  What if it’s icy out?  We’re tending to stick to the same 2 areas for walks.  Dogs are mostly off leash (Spen is on a flexi as I just can’t chase after him if I’ve got Jack with me) and meet and greet and move on for the most part.  Owners are generally pretty good at moving their dogs on or intervening if it’s needed.  And it’s rare we meet a dog who’s jumping all over everyone.  So I feel reasonably safe.  It’s also reasonably pram friendly as long as we stick to the tow path.

Now Spen hates walking with the pram so we’re working on that.  He’s okay in off leash areas when he’s got a bit more freedom with a longer lead (I use a walking belt with the pram so can’t use the flexi) but on the road walk part he’s clearly uncomfortable.  He’ll walk with it but he stays as far away as he can get.  And with the pram I have to stop and let other dogs pass on narrow paths, I can’t just walk past like I can with the sling.

So, how about some pictures!

Here’s Jack when he was first born

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Out on a walk with hubby

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First walk alone with the pram and Spen

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Just Jack

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Being carried on a walk

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And a family photo

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We don’t have many pics of Spen and Jack together as we don’t force the issue.  Spen will come along and have a fuss while I’m feeding Jack or he’ll lick his hands or feet (Jack hates his feet being licked!) but he’s not that interested yet.  Things will likely change when he’s mobile and eating food lol.

And some Spendog pics

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This one made me laugh.  I was preparing to bath Jack, put his changing mat on the floor with a towel so I could just turn and wrap him right up and someone decided it was a new dog bed.

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So yeah, it’s not been all sunshine and roses for us the way it seems to be for so many but we’re finally getting there with being parents and dog owners and getting into some sort of routine for walks and stuff.  We’ve had to stop going to class as they’ve moved location and it’s just too far for me to walk to.  Nor is there any bus that goes close enough for me to get there by bus.

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