Monday, March 07, 2005

interspecies integration

Today is one of those days where you can just feel Spring trying to break through. Trying and failing, because it looks like it's going to snow again by the end of the week..but I applaud the effort. I took the dog to the dog run for a little exercise, but we had to cut the outing short because she was being a surly adolescent dog, snapping at puppies and absconding with another dog's toys. She doesn't even want to play with the toys, because she drops them right away once no one is paying attention to her anymore. She just wants the things that other people have.

Which brings me to a touchy topic. How to deal with the dog once the baby comes? I say touchy because more than a few people have already asked us if we're getting rid of Cooper because of the new addition. And they asked us all casually, as if such a decision were assumed. Out with the fur child, in with the hairless one. Well, I can tell you right now that the answer is no. We have not considered it, we will not consider it. But that's not to say that there will not be issues with integrating the the two youngest members of the family. Problems that I can forsee right off:

  • The dog gets jealous. Even when Joe and I are hugging, she has to run right over, and starts whining and howling until one of us breaks away. I would like to think that she's jealous of Joe for the attention that I'm giving him, but knowing how much she LOVES Joe, I think it's probably the other way around.

  • The dog likes toys. If you don't have a dog, you probably don't know this, but many dog toys and baby toys are virtually identical, especially those of the stuffed, squeaky animal variety. Sure, babies don't play with giant thick cords of "dental" chew rope impregnanted with flouride, but unfortunately, there are few baby toys that a dog would not find very attractive. But Coop doesn't just play with the toys. She destroys them. For her, the fun in the toy is ripping a hole in it and pulling out all the stuffing. So fun! Stuffing everywhere! Whee! So I don't know what we're going to keep her from laying seige to the baby toys, unless we keep them locked in some toy chest somewhere, in which case they're no fun for anybody.

  • The dog is very protective of the homestead. She could be dead asleep, but if she hears a pin drop in the hallway, she's up and running to the door, barking like a madman. Right now, this is just annoying, but I can imagine that "annoying" won't just cover it when we have a sleeping baby in the house. I would start buying stock in those white noise machines if I were you, because I think we're going to end up with 20 scattered all around the apartment.

This is making it all seem very dire and terrible, like we have some sort of an incorrigible mutt, and we are threatening the very life of the baby by bringing him into the same home as the Hound of Baskersville. But Cooper has some very promising behaviors too. For instance, she's never posessive of food, and she never growls when you get near her bowl or try to take it away. She can be a little touchy with other dogs, but she's always friendly with humans, even very small humans that we've encountered on the street or in stores, what with the tail-wagging and face-licking and whatnot. And she's just generally a good dog. She's goofy and playful and fun, and much of the reason that we got a dog in the first place is so we'd have a nice family dog when we started having kids. I do think that Cooper's going to be that nice family dog. But I'm not saying that she doesn't need a little help to get there. Any advice that the more experienced of you out there may have to offer on this issue I would be more than happy to receive.

(But don't advise us, "Get rid of the dog." Because that's off the table.)

I'm on oncology cross-cover tonight, but since last I covered oncology, I think the hospital has been hiring moonlighters to cover part of the service overnight in addition to the slotted resident. I guess the "safety" arguments finally kicked in, what with a census this year regularly topping out at 30-plus onc patients. So if there's a second person on overnight, that should make my night a little lighter, at least patient-load wise. I'm not crazy about the idea of sharing a call room again, though. I haven't had to share a call room with someone since being on the wards in November, and at that point, the top-bunk-bottom-bunk shakedown was not an issue for me. But now, being somewhat more unweildy and with my center of gravity being thrown off, I think I'm going to have to request--nay, demand--the bottom bunk. It's hard enough for me to roll out of bed now as it is. The idea of tottering down a bunk bed ladder in my socks in the pitch dark is not something Cletus nor I want to contemplate.

Currently craving: Chinese noodles from down the street. I think it's time for lunch.

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