Baby’s Best Friend?

We have a dog. His name is Atlas. He doesn’t always look like a wet zombie (left). In fact, he’s usually pretty cute (right), and has a sweater collection that would make that guy from What Not To Wear jealous.

For the last year and a half, Atlas has been our baby. He keeps us company, gets into trouble, cleans our plates, eats our used tissues–you know, all the good stuff.

Did I mention he sleeps in our bed? I know. If you don’t kennel a dog right away you’ll lose them forever. And maybe we missed our chance with Atlas. But, he was adopted from a shelter, had been neglected, and when we did force him into his kennel, there was clear anxiety. Poor guy! How could we make him go in that mean kennel.

What’s the point, Nils. There are several. If you can’t show a dog who’s boss, how do you expect to gain the respect of a human? A human with many more needs and quirks, and someone who’ll demand constant attention. And how do you prepare a dog, who doesn’t understand that that comfy bed is not for dogs, for the arrival of a tiny new friend?

I’m not really concerned about being able to train Blanche as we may have failed with Atlas. I have heard many moms say they couldn’t resist letting the baby sleep in their bed. I don’t know if this will happen with Kristie, but I suspect the inclination will be there. Atlas will learn to scoot over, whether he likes it or not. His time as baby is coming to an end.

So how will Atlas interact with Blanche? He is a very gentle dog, and LOVES kids. He does really well when he visits my preschool, and in the limited interactions he’s had with individual kids, he’s done very well. He is very curious, and not afraid to introduce himself to the little guys. Our neighbors are always surprised when he runs up to their little girl; their dogs ‘have learned their lesson,’ they say. We hope that Blanche won’t teach Atlas any painful lessons, but she probably will. But what if he becomes ferocious? What if, instead of his toy turtle, Atlas decides to pounce at Blanche’s face?

We’re fairly confident Atlas will be a good friend to Blanche. He mostly loves to sleep and cuddle, and we’ll have to monitor him closely at first, but once he’s used to her presence, we think they’ll get along just fine. It won’t hurt that she’ll be bigger than him in a matter of weeks.

We’ll always love Atlas, and he’ll always be our special dog. It’s sad to imagine having to demote him to second baby, but I’m guessing we’ll have no problem elevating Blanche to the highest post. One thing is certain, though. As long as Atlas helps clean fish, he’ll have a place in our home.


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