Sibling Rivalry

We have two pets, a cat and a dog. Zoey is a six year old Maltese dog who enjoys long walks in the evening, cliched barking at the mailman, and snuggling with her humans. T.C. (short for Trouble Clef) is a short haired tiger who enjoys sitting in the window, sharpening his claws on my thighs, and silently judging his humans from across the room.

These two members of the family have been pretty understanding of all the recent changes in our home, considering the circumstances. However, they have not exactly gone without protest.

More than once I have been greeted by a big pile of dog turds near the front door. I couldn’t yell or be too angry at her. To be honest, I’m not sure she’s entirely to blame. Can’t you just hear the cat egging her on?

Igottapee. Igottapee! IGOTTAPEE!!!”

“Oh dog, stop whining and just do it already”

“Won’t the humans be mad? Yup, definitely mad, definitely.”

“They’ll never find out. After all, they’ve left us forever.”

“Forever?”

“And they left because of you.”

Change is a good thing. Just ask one of the great reinventors like Madonna or Martha Stewart. They’d say, when you’re through with changing, you are through, finished. Actually, Martha would probably say something like “Embrace change, it’s a good thing.” And she would be absolutely right.

Since Luke has arrived our lives have changed completely. I’ve gone from being a workaholic who spends twelve or more hours at work, six days a week, to trying to figure out how I can become a stay at home dad and still put food on the table. Bex has gone from being nauseas twenty-four seven, to being a new mom, to figuring out how she is going to go back to work. But nobody, and I mean nobody, has had to endure change more than our furry loved ones.

Their world has changed immensely in the last few weeks. They’ve gone from top dog and chief kitty in our lives, to being forced to take a back seat to the baby. It’s not that we love them any less but between diaper changes and bottle feedings we sometimes forget to scoop the box or I don’t have the energy to go on an evening walk. Before you call P.E.T.A., I promise we are taking fine care of them. We just aren’t pampering them like we did before.

They let their disapproval be known too. I once laid down on the couch for a five minute nap. Twenty minutes in, I’m woken from a sound sleep by the cat biting my finger. Apparently, it was time for his supper.

At first, we were a little nervous to bring Luke home to meet his furry siblings. So we decided on a game plan. Before bringing our boy home, we would first bring home a blanket that smelled like him. That way T.C. and Zoey could get used to his scent and hopefully accept him as one of there own. It sounds like some crazy Gorillas In The Mist stuff to me now but in the early baby days we were nervous new parents and we felt we had to be prepared for anything.

Well, astute husband and father that I am, it was my job to bring home the smelly blanket. Surprise, surprise, I forgot. Gee, I have no idea how that happened. It’s not like life got really crazy for a couple days there. Thankfully, Bex never brought it up so I never had to admit my lack of follow through.

It turns out that it didn’t matter after all. On the first day we brought Luke home, we set his carrier down on the floor so T.C. And Zoey could get their first look at him and would you believe that neither animal showed the slightest interest? Completely snubbed him.

They could have at least said congratulations but no. We are blessed with self centred pets. Zoey was more happy to see us, more likely she was happy that someone familiar was home to let her out to pee. T.C. was his usual self, one cool customer watching from a distance.

As a few days passed, Zoey showed more interest. She started out by cautiously sniffing him. Eventually, she looked to Bex or I to get permission to lay near him. Of course we always give our blessing. Ever since, she has been our little nurse dog. She’s got her nose in every dirty diaper. Eventually, I plan to save on wipes by teaching her to lick the baby’s bottom clean. Yeah, yeah, you can go call P.E.T.A. now.

T.C. is still suspicious of Luke. He usually takes the high ground when he wants to see what’s going on. He’ll sit on the back of the couch or the head board of the bed and look down on this tiny, almost human, that is taking so much attention away from him. Then he taps me politely on the shoulder for some cuddles. When that doesn’t work, he head butts me until I’m forced into a scratching session.

Despite our worries, I think it’s safe to say that our fur babies have embraced this big change with open paws and sloppy wet kisses. Together, the five of us make one very happy family.

Anyone want to take bets on who will be the most uncooperative when we shoot the christmas card? My money is on Bex.

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