This is a tough post to write.
With all of the joy and happiness that we've been experiencing lately around our house, there's also been a bit of sadness. As you guys know, this little blog has two official mascots- our two dogs, Maggie (on the left, a coon hound) and Tucker (on the right, a lab mutt). David rescued both of these dogs about six years ago and they've been faithful family members ever since.
David and I knew that bringing baby H home may stir things up with the dogs. After all, there would be a totally new dynamic in the house. So we read up on how to integrate the dogs and the baby- talk to them about the baby coming, bring home a baby blanket from the hospital for them to smell, etc. We thought we were fully prepped and ready to mix and mingle the pups and the pea pod.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The day we brought H home from the hospital, the dogs were wild. We thought it might take some time for all parties involved to get used to the situation, but there was something about Maggie's behavior that really bothered us. She was abnormally tense- her muscles and jaw were completely tensed up and she stood postured, as if ready to pounce. And she wouldn't relax. In fact, she would sit in front of me holding the baby, panting and posturing for hours. She made us nervous. She made Tucker nervous. It's hard to explain, because it's not as if she snapped at the baby or anything... it just didn't feel right.
What happened to our sweet, loving Maggie? We're not sure. But after several attempts to have her and the baby in the same place over the course of the last couple of weeks, her quasi-aggressive behavior didn't change. So we called the adoption agency that David rescued her from and discussed it with them. They agreed that the situation didn't sound good. The agency, which is a no-kill organization, explained that they would take Maggie back if we decided she was no longer a good fit for our family.
We tearfully talked it over with all of our friends and family and everyone agreed that it was best not to take any risks with Maggie's behavior around the baby. How bad would we feel if her quasi-aggressive behavior turned full-on aggressive and she hurt the baby? There's no way David or I could live with that. Plus, with the way she was acting, there was no way we could ever feel comfortable enough to do things like lay the baby on the floor or in a bouncy seat sitting on the floor.
So, as hard as it was, we decided to give Maggie back to the adoption agency. Poor David had to make the hour drive to the center to drop her off... and of course, I had to stay with the baby, so he had to make the trip alone. It was a very sad day for all of us. More than a few tears were shed.
But the upside is that David and I are 100% sure of our decision. Sweet Tucker has relaxed even more now that Maggie isn't around. He is such a loyal and kindhearted dog. He watches the baby for hours on end, sniffs the baby when he starts crying and likes to lay with us on the floor when we do tummy time. Tucker even gets up (albeit with a sigh!) to accompany us in the middle of the night for feedings or diaper changes. He's the best big brother around.
So it's kind of a sad story, but hopefully has a happy ending. Maggie can find a home and a new family that suits her better while we continue to grow our family with baby H and Tucker.
Have you ever had to make a tough choice like this to protect someone you love?