Confessions of a Neurotic Dog Mom: I Can’t Stop Comparing My Dog to Your Baby
It goes something like this.
“She was awake from 8PM to 4AM,” you, my sister, say about one of your newborn twin daughters, during a phone call from a faraway land.
“Wow. I didn’t know babies had the capacity to be awake for that long a stretch,” I say.
“Well, by the time she stops fussing, she’s hungry again, it’s a cycle,” you say, patiently.
“That makes sense,” I say, knowing I’m about to launch into an incomparable and completely irritating June story, but so desperate to prove my empathy that I can’t stop talking. Here I go. In one breath:
“Before June was housetrained, she’d start crying in the middle of the night, but once we took her out and she got a taste of the fresh air, she was so hard to settle down again.”
A few of the insensitive/ insane assumptions I have just made:
- My experiences raising my dog, who sleeps in a small cage and is an adolescent at nine months, exist somewhere on the same scale of intensity as your experiences feeding and nurturing your tiny, human children.
- The two-month period where June would only sleep for four hours in a row is similar to this time in your life, when you are lucky to get an hour of sleep before someone’s poop runs down the side of their diaper and onto your forearm.
- That my 2AM responsibility to strap a nylon leash to June, lead her out into the grass at the edge of the yard to poo, and go back to bed, has anything at all to do with your never ending, months-long cycle of feeding, burping, changing, dressing, prepping, feeding, burping, changing, soothing, prepping, etc.
I want you to know, so badly, that I’m there for you. The intensity with which I love and care for this animal can surprise even me, so it seems right to share… until I do. But with these inadequate stories, I’m reaching out the best way I can.
And you know how I know you understand? You haven’t once said, “Shut up about your stupid dog, already,” even with poop on your arm.