I am asked this question almost daily, “How is Lucy doing with the baby?”
When we arrived home after our long plane ride from Uganda Lucy and I had our reunion together before she met Kira. She was wild with kisses and spinning circles to show me her happiness at my return. It took her a solid ten minutes to complete her greeting with me. It is so wonderful to be loved and missed that much, six weeks was a long time to be apart. One thing about my relationship with Lucy is that I am her main person and though she accepts so many others it is me she looks for every day. I know every dog owner enjoys the same status. It is why I could never imagine my life without a faithful, obedient dog at my side. But this one, she’s got supreme status for as long as I live, and for as many dogs that might come after her. She’s top dog.
Craig carried Kira into the house in his arms, and Lucy frightened Kira, who screamed and scrambled to keep her feet from being drenched by a big pink tongue. Lucy was curious about this new living thing. She has not had much experience with babies. In those first few hours I took care of Lucy and Craig took care of Kira. The first two days we gave Kira all the space she needed to observe this big animal and see that maybe she would be a fun playmate. She was easily convinced.
Lucy was concerned with four things: 1) is my mama going to feed me, 2) do I still get to ride in the car, 3) will she walk me every day?, and 4) am I still allowed to follow my mama from room to room. The answer to all of her questions were consistently answered with a resounding “YES”, so Lucy accepted the nudge over to make room for Kira.
It only took a few days for Kira to find her dog a most fascinating part of her new American life. Kira was distracted from her hatred of her car seat because Lucy rode in the passenger seat everywhere we went giving Kira something to watch. It helped me, and assured Lucy car rides were not out of the question. After the passing of two weeks, Kira began to call her name, “oooo- see”. When they are on the floor together Kira will lay her head against Lucy’s big belly like a pillow and neither of them seems to notice it is unusual. Kira will put her face right up to Lucy’s nose to look into her eyes, and Lucy is interested in the smells of whatever she was just eating but does not lick her face. Kira is most fascinated with Lucy’s ears. She gets a hold of her ear and pulls her hand through the soft silk until it slips out of her grip. She does this over and over and Lucy does not seem to be bothered at all.
Walking has changed only in that she must stay on the side of a big blue baby jogger. This is ok because when the baby falls asleep, the walk is even longer than ever before. This is a bonus for sure. When neighbors come to meet the baby Lucy is hugely disappointed no one is interested in saying hello to her. She has never forgotten what it was like to be a puppy and everyone in the world thought she was the greatest and cutest thing they ever saw. That’s what growing up is all about. We don’t stay that cute, none of us, and some day even Kira will have face that truth.
It is Lucy’s dream come true to have me on the floor all of the time now. At first Lucy would stand right between me and Kira blocking our view. It was obvious what she was saying to us, “I was here first”. She eventually realized I have one hand to play with Kira and one hand to rub her tummy. It wasn’t long before Kira joined me in rubbing her upturned chest and so Lucy realized there was another bonus in this baby’s arrival, more belly rubs.
There are food scraps all over the floor around the high chair, and this makes a dog with no tail wag the whole back end of her stout body. She’s especially pleased when sweet potatoes were on the menu. Since Kira has discovered the joy of blowing raspberries with a mouthful of food- not something I find joyful at all- Lucy has plenty of residue for her pleasure on the floor.
Baby and dog are now so natural with one another I believe they’ve forgotten what life was like without each other. I do have the best dog, I don’t mind boasting that fact. She knows I understand her feelings. She is secure with my love, even as I bring in a cat who bosses her around and now a baby who tugs her ears and screams at a pitch that makes her quiver. She has not lost her mama, she’s just gained another friend. Playtime during the day includes a cat peering from up high, a dog and baby together, and one happy mama to have all three in my care.