A few folks were asking on Instagram for some specific info about how we introduced Burger to Clara, and how we tried to make the whole transition from living with a dog to living with a dog and a baby as smooth as possible for all parties involved. We definitely did a little googling and even chatted with our vet about what we could do to make things easier on Burger (and us) when this whole GIANT LIFE CHANGE happened, so here’s what we ended up doing, and how it worked out.
1. John left the hospital for about half an hour to bring Burger a blanket with Clara’s scent on it after a day of us being there (we stayed for 4 days due to our complicated birth experience), so John just dropped that blanket into his crate for Burger to sniff and snuggle for the next few days. He was being cared for by John’s parents, but Burger’s one of those dogs who actually likes his crate, so he spent plenty of time with people, and plenty of other time in his crate with his new blanket. We like to think that helped him get used to the scent of his baby sister from day one.
2. When we finally came home with Clara, Burger was already back at home waiting for us, and when we walked in carrying Clara in her baby seat, we also carried in a treat and a toy for him. We had heard that you can help a pooch associate the arrival of someone with something good if they get something awesome and exciting when that person enters the house. So giving him a treat and some nice snuggles along with a new toy while carrying Clara into the house for the first time seemed to lay the groundwork that she was a good thing, so he hopefully associated her arrival with awesome times.
3. We just generally tried to give him love whenever we could while juggling the whole “caring for a newborn” thing. Of course we had our hands full with Clara, and we were adjusting ourselves, but we were surprised how much time she spent either nursing or sleeping, which definitely freed us up to sit on the sofa with Burger snuggled right next to us, and we doled out as many rubs and snuggles as we could spare, just so he never felt replaced or ignored. I’m sure he sensed that something major had changed (we went from a family of three to a family of four) but we didn’t have any issues with him having accidents or acting out in any way, which we heard could happen. So we’re really grateful that it seemed to go pretty smoothly for the Burgs.
How did you guys introduce a new human to your pet? Do you have any other tips for folks who are nervous about it? I like to say that Clara shot up the list quickly a “Burger’s favorite” because she always has crumbs and sticky fingers (two of B’s favorite things). So I think they’re a pretty great pair.
At Clara’s preschool they celebrate “special days” since not every child has a birthday during the school year. Clara had hers last week and just like last year (which was really only back in March) it was a chance for both of us, plus Grammy and Tom Tom, to come into her classroom for a few minutes so her classmates could learn a bit more about her. Here’s an old photo from last year’s festivities:
We didn’t get any shots of the actual event this time around, but we did have a good time making her About Me poster. Last year we printed out photos so Clara could show her friends all of her family members. This time around we decided to take a looser interpretation.
We flipped through a few magazines together and cut out items that Clara likes. They mostly ended up being characters (minions from Despicable Me, Sully and “Mouse Kasowski” from Monsters Inc, princesses, and even the M&M guy) but she did grab a picture of a butterfly, a dog, some cookies, and even a drawing that she made to round out the collection. From there, we decided not to micromanage or even direct how she collaged them on to her poster (she picked the hot pink poster board too). So yeah, some things got placed upside down or on top of each other, but it was fun for us to just bite our tongues and watch her go.
Sherry did swoop in to help her place the letters in her name when she asked for some assistance with those.
Once at school, she sat on Sherry’s lap as we pointed out all of her favorite objects on the poster. Then I read “Secret Pizza Party” to the kids before she handed out stickers to each of her classmates. There were still 30 minutes left in the school day, so we got to join the kids for recess.
That’s when we got to see Clara’s love for the tire-swing first hand. Not to mention some of the new friendships she’s building. These girls are as thick as thieves.