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Let Me Tell You ‘Bout The Birds -N- The Bees


Several years ago, shortly after we moved into our house, in our effort to live the American Dream (whatever THAT is), we made the executive decision to procure ourselves a pooch to call our own.

Despite not being much of a Dog Person myself, I have always HAD a dog, so this made perfect sense to me.

We trundled off to the many animal shelters in the area to scour the potential adoptees (I’m very not okay with designer dogs FOR MYSELF. Not only are they pricey, but since they’re often overbred, they have numerous health problems. Case in point: my parents German Shepard who has hip problems, a short urethra–i.e. prone to many bladder infections, and a neurosis to rival my own. Plus, the shelters are BRIMMING with unwanted dogs who need homes.), where we saw some of the most depressing animals on the planet. Sometimes, I even cried when I saw them.

But one day while checking out the mutants erm DOGS, we saw one that looked like he would fit in well with our family: he was ASLEEP while the other dogs were jumping around their cages like banshees. We took him to a room to meet him and found that he fit right in: he was lazy, friendly, and slightly pudgy. He was also the world’s ugliest dog (No California for HIM, either, obviously), which endeared him to me immediately.

What sealed the deal is his sob story (I’m a complete sucker for Sad Animal stories. Someday I’ll tell you about the CATS we adopted): he lived in an apartment with an old woman, who died. And when she did, her family lovingly took this dog, this well trained dog to the vet to be put down because they didn’t want to deal with it. The vet met him and just couldn’t euthanize him, he was too much of a good dog. So he called the shelter, and off he went until we came to pick him up.

He’s been a member of my family ever since. I even named him myself, Cash (to prevent me from petitioning to name my then-unconceived child that name, which FOR SOME REASON Dave didn’t care for), is his name (which replaced his shelter name of Pebbles) and he’s a Corgi mix. He’s easily found in my home, asleep on the couch, being fed scraps by the baby from his highchair, and occasionally peeing on the carpet. He’s like my doggie clone.

What unfortunately happened yesterday I should have seen coming. I know better.

Ever since Alex has been crawling, Cash has been immediately wary of him (although he adores kids who WALK), because I’m fairly certain he feels as though Alex is invading his space (No, I’m not a pet psychologist, but I DO play one on a cable access channel!).

My cheerio-sized bladder was aching and I left Alex alone in the living room to TCB (take care of business, for those sadly not in the know) for just a moment, and in that moment, he crawled up to the couch that Cash was sleeping on and pulled himself up on it. I can’t be too sure of what happened next, although I could hear Cash’s warning bark coupled with Alex’s immediate hysterical scream. Whether he was screaming because he was scared or because the dog nipped him (which I doubt, as I couldn’t find any evidence of this), I can’t be sure of.

But what a piece of shit mother *I* am for leaving the dog alone with the baby (I’ve done it before with no problems whatsoever) even for a minute and a half (told you it was a weensy bladder).

For now, because I don’t know what else to do (he’s not a kennel dog), I have been locking him either in the living room or the basement while Alex is awake (although, miraculously Alex is not afraid of Cash now), but I’m unsure how to proceed: I don’t feel right giving Cash up–I DID sign stuff saying that I’d take care of him for the rest of the days, and I take that VERY seriously– but I have to protect Alex.

My fingies are crossed nearly to the breaking point that once Alex walks, Cash will no longer feel as threatened by him, and I’m thanking my lucky fucking stars that nothing worse happened when I stepped away.

Fuck, fuck, fuckity-fuck.

21 Comments to

“Let Me Tell You ‘Bout The Birds -N- The Bees”

  1. On March 25th, 2008 at 11:08 am theramblinghousewife Says:

    We do have two large dogs (German Shepherds) that are not always in the house, but are at times . . .

    They don’t bite, nip, or anything like that. . .

    But they are natural herders, and love to herd the kids . . .

    While the Tractor thinks this is hilarious, the Choo-Choo gets knocked down and cries.

    Our office is completely gated off–so I put them in there, when I have to leave to room . . .

    It puts my mind at ease . . .

    And no, you’re not a horrible Mom .. .

    We have near misses all the time here . . .

    Not necessarily with the dogs, but with lots of other hidden dangers–

    oh, say . . .kitchen knives falling into the hands of a three year old . ..etc.

  2. On March 25th, 2008 at 11:13 am Tony Says:

    If he didnt bite, the Cash did the right thing. Because you dont know *what* Alex did that provoked him, and because Cash is otherwise a good dog, I’d assume that Alex made some kinda move that freaked him/hurt him and he responded by barking in a ‘your crossing the line, kid’ kinda way. Kid got scared, which was the intended result, and hopefully learned he cant do that to doggies. Cash was smart enough to measure his response in such a way that it got he message accross without doing actual physical damage.

    I grew up with dogs and got my share of nips (and even one very serious bit). Every time it happened, it was usually cause I pulled its ear or tail or did something else painfull and the dog just reacted in kind. Eventually I learned that you dont pull the dogs tail, ears or fur because it will result in some amount of fear/pain. Kinda like the first time I put a screw driver in an electric outlet. ouch.

    It may take a few scary incindents like you outlined, but you cant blame a dog for being a dog anymore you can a baby for being a baby.

  3. On March 25th, 2008 at 11:34 am Kristen Says:

    Aw, honey, don’t feel bad. Cash is part of the family and you had no reason to think twice. I agree with those who think he just scared Alex. I would think if you have a safe place to put him if you are not going to be in the room, everything should be just fine.
    …or you will be taking either Alex or Cash to the bathroom with you til the end of time…

  4. On March 25th, 2008 at 11:46 am Melissa C Says:

    Animals learn pretty quickly that they do not come before people if you are really stern with them about scaring/barking at kids. IF you really believe he didn’t bite (and a little nip may still just be a warning thing… if he didn’t break the skin, he wasn’t really biting to hurt) … yell at him, put him in his kennel, whatever punishment you use. Refuse to look at him for a while, and let nobody cuddle or talk nice to him for a couple of days.

    After that, you need to “introduce” them to each other again; supervised visits, “nice” petting, etc. If Cash gets upset, then you may have an issue. If he’s fine, then he probably deserves another chance.

    As well, perhaps Alex needs to play in the bathroom when you TCB if Cash is in the room… at least until he’s fully mobile (just to be safe)?

    I could tell you all kinds of pet stories (I got bit once in the face as a kid… I had a cat that was pure evil to my first-born for her first 2 weeks of life) that could illustrate both sides. Entertaining, but they won’t really help. If you can’t get to a point of either trusting the dog, or being able to separate them like the rambling housewife suggested then you need to find him a new home.
    If it were me, I’d not be at that point yet, but it is you that has to feel comfortable with the situation. As far as I can tell, it sounds like Alex either pulled some fur or startled Cash – a little scare in return is appropriate defensive measures in my books.

  5. On March 25th, 2008 at 11:47 am Kristine Says:

    Not the world’s worst mom. Seriously.

    You know your dog, you know your child. It sounds like the dog just scared him, and that’s a good thing. It will work itself out. And in the mean time, you can separate when necessary.

  6. On March 25th, 2008 at 11:52 am Pauline Says:

    You are not the worlds worst mom. These things happen all the time. They have whole books/classes about dogs and babies. It sounds like you have a reasonable plan. If you can’t be near both of them all the time, then seperate as needed. He didn’t bite, and that is a good thing.

  7. On March 25th, 2008 at 12:01 pm paisana Says:

    When my brother was about 5 months old, my dog knocked him into a table and made him get three stitches. My brother was trying to poke him in the eys. My brother learned pretty quickly that this was NOT the proper way to treat a pet.

    I agree with the commenters above that said that you can’t blame the dog for giving Alex a “Quit it, you fucker!” bark. I’m sure Alex got the shit scared out of him and that he won’t be yanking at Cashie any time soon. Until he figures out how to treat a dog, supervised visits only.

  8. On March 25th, 2008 at 12:30 pm Heather P. Says:

    Since you found no wounds I would say he just barked & scared the baby. Since he is a good dog otherwise I wouldn’t get all freaked out about it. But maybe you could get either a playpen, or a baby swing to put him in when you have to go out of the room, or baby gate the kid and the dog away from one another. You are not a bad mom!

  9. On March 25th, 2008 at 1:15 pm Joann Says:

    You are not a bad mother. The dog just has to get used to the baby walking around & getting around better. Give them time & i’ll bet they will be the best of freind. And as you said before he is a good dog,
    so hang in there, & keep watch…

  10. On March 25th, 2008 at 2:50 pm b Says:

    We worry about this with one of our face eaters..umm dogs. We have 2 labs and a boxer (pit bull probably) mix. We will not let Biki (the pit bull) around children, though she’s never bitten a person. We do hope that if we are lucky enough to carry a baby to term..that we’ll be able to introduce them..and that they will have a relationship. I wouldn’t trust her alone with the baby..but I wont get rid of her either. I think that if you have to leave the room, you either lock your face eater up, or snap on a leash and take her with you. I think you’re right..once the baby is more mobile..(responsive to NO, DON’t BITE THE DOG), your problem will be gone.

  11. On March 25th, 2008 at 3:27 pm Heather Says:

    We have two pretty big dogs (the Lab is just plain big, and the Springer is more fat than big) who are *great* with the kids, but because they are outside dogs, we usually keep a good eye on them because they aren’t used to the kids completely.

    If Cash intended to hurt Alex, he would have – especially in that instance. I think it’s more of a fear thing (which goes along with the personal space issue you raised) particularly if Alex is the first human that Cash has met who doesn’t walk upright.

    I’d just not leave the babe alone with him anymore, but he doesn’t sound like a danger – he’s your dog, though, and you know best.

  12. On March 25th, 2008 at 3:54 pm becky Says:

    Oh man – that’s awful, Becky. I’m sorry. But… and maybe I’m just going to expose myself as the naive dog lover I am and always will be… if he didn’t nip at Alex (to your knowledge), and Alex doesn’t seem to be afraid of him anymore, maybe you can just put Cash in the other room when you have to leave Alex alone for a moment? If you or The Daver are there with them, then you’ll be keeping an eye on the baby and dog. And he’s your dog and a part of your family… and he was probably just doing what came naturally when he felt threatened – not that that makes it ok, since obviously your first priority has to be Alex… I don’t know. I’m a sucker for the shelter dogs, too, and I guess I tend to make excuses for them since they’ve had hard lives. I think you should definitely keep him if you can figure out a way. He sounds like a good boy who had a minor blip in his record.

  13. On March 25th, 2008 at 3:55 pm Don Mills Diva Says:

    You are soooo not a bad mom. When dogs are part of the family youreally don’t think twice about things like that – it doesn’t sound like there was any harm done.

  14. On March 25th, 2008 at 6:17 pm Jessi Louise Says:

    I agree that you should just try to keep them separate when you’re not in the room. If it happens again or gets worse, then it might be time to take the next step.

    We had to get rid of a dog because it growled at our oldest when he was a baby and we didn’t know the dog that well (he was fairly new to us). Kinda scary.

  15. On March 25th, 2008 at 8:52 pm The Milk Maid Says:

    UMMM… aren’t they supposed to duke it out at some point? Don’t worry about it– watch from a hallway one day and see who really started it (probably a CAT!).

  16. On March 25th, 2008 at 10:09 pm Dolores Schwartz Says:

    Let me tell you… I feel your pain we own a crotchty ole bitch( No really she is!!) That likes to snap and bite the kids… And sadly we still have her… IN my expirence we just make sure the dog and babies don’t mix and we keep that babies away from the doggie food. It’s easier and safter that way. I would like to say it gets better… And it could… For me I just keep the COB away from the babies… And all is good!!

  17. On March 25th, 2008 at 11:04 pm Blondie Says:

    Maybe you should call the Dog Whisperer! Or a canine therapist? There may be some deep rooted traumatic memories that he hasn’t dealt with and is acting out. You could always put him on Zoloft.

  18. On March 26th, 2008 at 10:24 am Chicory Says:

    you’re getting lots of good advice here. I’ll just chime in with some overly long advice of my own, mmm-kay?

    We have two very large dogs. Oscar and Oliver. Oscar is fine, but Oliver is very affectionate and pushy with Sassa. She learned early on to lure Oliver into the bedroom and shut the door on him so she can get some peace. The summers are better because Oliver actually prefers to be outside, and so he spends 90% of his time outside when the weather is nice.

    To give Sassa (and us) a break from Oliver when the weather is not nice, we created a room just for the dogs (our glassed in porch, actually) where they can go be in comfort (and unmolested by toddler) and leave us in comfort.

    Oliver also has this thing where if you step on him (he’s a black dog so it can be hard to see him when he sleeps right where your feet need to go) he will bark and snap his head and teeth at you. He never actually bites, but it’s scary as fuck (especially in the middle of the night when you’re already hungover) He never did that to Sassa no matter how many times she fell/crawled on him, until she reached some invisible age and he decided that she was no longer a baby, but a kid. The first time he did it, it scared the shit out of her. She’s a lot more careful around him, now. If he ever misjudges and bites here, I’m going to slit my wrists, but for now I trust that he’s just communicating emphatically and they’ll work it out. Cash could just have decided that Alex is no longer entitled to the baby pass and is needing to set some limits wrt personal space.

    One other thing: my mother has a corgi. And I was reading that corgis have “little dog complex” where they’re the best dogs ever, but they have a self-image of being much bigger than they actually are. So that they get a bit cranky when they’re reminded that they’re not the big dogs they think they are. I’ve seen this in my mom’s dog. He’s the best dog, and he loves the grandchildren to pieces and plays really great with them — unless they try to hug him. I guess having little people put their arms around him upsets him (reminds him that he’s little enough to have that done to him) and he barks and nips. We’re teaching the girls that he doesn’t like to be hugged.

    Plus, if cash was mostly raised by an old woman, then toddlers might be a little freaky to him — a newborn is like a mewly doll, and a kid is just a small, loud, active human. But a toddler? They’re kinda freakish the way they lurch around and grab onto things and pull…

  19. On March 26th, 2008 at 11:16 am kalakly Says:

    I think Tony said it best, cuz if a dog wants to hurt, it will. Cash has to have a way of saying back off midget and meaning it, if the ‘grown ups’ aren’t around to help him out. I wouldn’t seperate them, that might breed resentment but I’d do the supervised visitation until the Alex knows Cash rules. Otherwise, you can always put Alex in a box on the curb, “Free to a Good Home”….

  20. On March 26th, 2008 at 1:37 pm Ames Says:

    I think Cash probably just scared him, at least from what I’ve heard it doesn’t seem like Cash is the type of dog that would attack Alex. I don’t blame you one bit for worrying though. Maybe making sure you don’t leave the two of them alone for a while is a good idea, just in case.

  21. On March 27th, 2008 at 12:21 pm g Says:

    I am a bit late on this, but I shamefully admit that I have a new hobby lately: Watching numerous episodes of The Do.g Whis.perer on NGC. Stop judging me.

    Anyways, sounds like you have reacted appropriately. One thing you need to be sure of now though, is that you aren’t generating nervous energy when the two are together. Be calm and assertive with the dog still (you are the pack leader as is any human including the baby). Ok, there’s my wisdom.

    We started watching the show because my so, so sweet dog has nipped at my niece twice now (to be fair, she spends hours brushing him backwards til he cant take it anymore after being told to stop… I think her parents need to be bitten hard by me for allowing it…). A lot of the show is about training the people more than the dog. Dogs are dogs, not humans. They are happier when they are being treated as such. But whatever, I said I was done with my wisdom.

    PHD in DogWhisperology

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