Dealing with Post-Baby Pet Guilt

So…we’re pretty sure our dog is depressed. To be honest, I can’t blame him.

Tux is now four years old and he was/is our first baby. Pre-real-human-baby, that sack of fur had it good. He slept at the end of our bed. He got two long walks a day. Heck, he was part of our wedding proposal. How could this dog not have an ego?

When preparing for the baby’s arrival, our dogsitter/trainer told us that so long as we kept Tux’s routine, he’d adapt well. Done and done.

But when a tiny ball of flesh arrived on Jessie Drive last December and this thing cried throughout the night, Tux had PTSD. Even worse than I did.

Actually, he adapted really well. He immediately became concerned when Alex cried and he tried really, really hard to act cool.

But he didn’t get the kinds of walks he was used to pre-baby and he was, understandably, anxious. I constantly lost my temper with him and it was winter. Great combo.

One of the hardest parts of becoming a parent, for me, was dealing with my pet guilt. In the early days, I constantly looked over at Tux who stared longingly out the back patio door, likely imaging what life would be like if he had a set of thumbs and could open the backyard gate. I’m picturing a bindle.

Today Alex and I took Tux to the vet.

Tux's Helper

At the Vet: He Helped.

The first thing he has to do when he arrives at the vet is step on the scale. I knew it was going to be bad. I felt like Jillian Michaels on an episode of the Biggest Loser. But rather than training Tux to lose weight, I was pouring donuts down his throat.

He refused to look at me.

He refused to look at me.

Here’s the deal: we don’t give him human food and he never gets treats from us (Note: from us). Our sweet, elderly neighbour pops by the fence each day and throws Tux two biscuits. Tux literally sits outside ALL day, staring a hole through the neighbour’s back door, waiting for those two cookies. Combine the treats with reduced walks, it’s no surprise that Tux isn’t going to be on the winning end of the scale.

When he stepped on the scale, I was still upset. But more frustrated with myself. He has gained five pounds since Alex arrived. Right then and there I made an oath: get this dog fit.

He’s good to us, and he is patient with us. The least we can do for him is give him the exercise and attention he deserves.

Here’s our plan:

  • Give him a 10-minute walk first thing;
  • Get him out for a 20- to 30-minute walk after Alex’s bedtime;
  • Take him swimming once on the weekend; and
  • No excuses: saying we’re too tired isn’t a good enough excuse.

Actually, I kind of made this oath earlier this week. Tonight was night three of getting back into our walk routine. Already, he’s got an extra spring in his step.

For our next vet visit, I want to not only see a better number on the scale, but I want to bring in a happier pup.

On another note, I want Meaghan Mikkelson’s body. So does Tux. He told me.

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4 thoughts on “Dealing with Post-Baby Pet Guilt

  1. From one mom with pet guilt to another- I can totally sympathize! Our poor Guinness has spent the week eating the garbage (his way of telling us he’s ticked) and I can’t really get mad at him because between work craziness, rain, baby #2 exhaustion and just life in general he has somehow made his way to the very bottom rung of the family ladder. Poor guy! I know I’m hormonal but when you wrote about your Tux being patient and good to you and deserving more I may have shed a tear for our furry friend. Ok I’m off to make a new promise to our guy. (wow this “comment” turned into a full on therapy session…. please don’t charge me)

  2. Pingback: Curtains, dog, no tv: updates | The James' on Jessie

  3. Pingback: February’s Focus: Our Dog is Fat. | The James' on Jessie

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