Updated: Apr 12, 2018
Anyone who knew me before Winnie came along would tell you I was the biggest cat lover they knew. And it’s true, I still love cats. But then my husband convinced me that even though I was 12 weeks pregnant, we should get a brand new puppy. Everyone told us we were nuts, and they were totally right.
I will never forget the moment we drove up to the house where Winnie was living. The most adorable, tiny goldendoodle puppy was running around the front yard. I about died. I couldn’t believe that sweet pup was going to be ours forever. Winnie and I bonded instantly and she is now my main sidekick (in fact, she is laying against me as I write this). We had her for about 6 months before the baby came, and it was so fun to watch her grow, just like my belly.
I had the baby 3 weeks early so I wasn’t prepared to leave my life with just my fur-child and bring home a human one. Our baby had to be in the NICU for a few days after birth and I remember sitting in the hospital missing Winnie so much. I finally got home and she was so excited to see me, like she always is.
She didn’t know what to think of the baby at first, she smelt him and then just looked at us like, so what’s this little guy doing here? How long is he here to stay (yes, I believe my dog actually thinks like a human). I never really thought about how things would change when the baby came. But they did.
I didn’t have time for her like I did for those first six months. Which is pretty expected when you have a baby. But I felt so guilty. I would be staring at her on the couch and she just wanted to play, but I was nursing, or rocking the baby to sleep, or just too tired. My schedule changed, my energy changed, I changed.
Winnie stayed the same.
Sometimes Winnie barks and wakes up the baby 5 minutes after I finally got him to sleep. Sometimes she wants to go outside right when I’m in the middle of feeding the baby. Sometimes she knocks the baby over now that he's walking. ALL THE TIME she licks his face, his mouth, his hands, everything. Having a baby and a puppy is way too much sometimes.
Winnie has also been there for me in motherhood in a way that was completely unexpected. I know that sounds crazy. I know I sound like one of those dog people. But hear me out.
When I was up at 3am trying to nurse but wasn't sure what I was doing, Winnie was always there. When the rest of the world was sleeping she was laying next to me. Those hours of the night can get lonely, so I feel blessed I was never alone.
When I was extremely emotional from my hormones being a tornado and sleep deprivation was my new normal (which by the way, I’m still not out of this phase), Winnie never left my side. My husband is an incredible support, but in the real world he cannot stay by me all day (you know, he has to work and such).. but she could.
When I went back to work and I was trying to figure this new balance as a therapist and a mom and a wife and things just felt confusing, I always knew when I got home I would be met with my dog holding her ball in her mouth doing her little booty dance that she does.
When everything seems so chaotic, Winnie isn’t. She is stable, consistent and so dependable. She has literally never been anything but love to me.
My heart breaks when I think about the shortness of a dogs life. That’s one of those things I’m going to have to bring up with the big man upstairs someday.
In a different life, I would have gotten her earlier. When it could just be my husband, me, and her. Where I could take her for walks and play fetch everyday, and bring her in every car ride I went on. A life where I didn’t have to share my attention.
At the same time, I thank God for this furry little creature He created and knew I needed the exact day I got her. Not just because I love her as a dog, but because she has helped me be a mom.
So here’s to all the dogs- never just our pets, but our family. Our best friends. The greatest companion of all the creatures created. And here’s to Winnie- my helper, my sanity, my entertainment, my first baby.