Back before I had a human kid - I had fur kids. Well, to be honest, I still have my fur kids - but no in the same capacity. When I'd call home, my parents would as how the dogs were doing. The animals were featured on Christmas cards and in family portraits. Hell, more than half of my facebook pictures were pet-related. Now, I find myself thinking of things like "(ugh....) you need to be fed today, too??" and "I'm not crouching down to fill your little water bowl again. It's not my fault that you're scared of the big self-filling water bowl. If you're thirsty you'll drink out of the kiddy pool." I no longer spend long intimate moments trying to get the perfect dog shot (without psycho reflective dog eyes) or even spend much time "talking" one on one with either of them.
My priorities have obviously shifted.
I'm busy, and most of the time if I have time to socialize the baby is on, beside, beneath, around, under, above, or any other adjective...me. The dogs want their Momma and no baby time, and unless they grab it while I'm falling asleep in bed it just doesn't happen all that often. Most of the attention from me is of the clenched teeth variety when they bark at nothingness and could potentially wake the baby.
I feel bad about that, but the hubs makes sure that they aren't completely neglected.
When we moved to this house, the big yard plopped in the middle of a wooded lot was a dream come true for my eldest dog who'd lived in small apartments, on cables and cords for years. We decided to purchase an electric fence to contain her.
For those who don't know, you can get electric fences now that don't require burying a cable. You just plug the receiver in and it creates a bubble at an adjustable radius depending on where you want the dog to be able to go. When the dog leaves that bubble, the collar gives a warning beep (which is all either of my dogs need anymore) and then if they remain outside the bubble, they get a shock to the neck.
The old dog learned quickly, and the new dog has only known the shock boundary -- so we're very happy with the system. It's kept both dogs happily contained - so much so that resident deer and rabbits wander freely just outside the line (think Bugs Bunny cartoon on the torment level).
The one problem we've had with this system is that during a thunderstorm, if the power goes out, sometimes the collars register that the dogs are outside the bubble. Sometimes, they just get beeped. Other times they get zapped. This sucks. BIGTIME. The old dog has always been a freak during storms, and now that the younger one was recently inducted into the got-the-shit-shocked-outta-me-for-no-reason club she shakes uncontrollably at the first rumble of thunder.
We've had one thunderstorm after another throughout the Midwest these past few weeks. I've taken the batteries out of both collars to ensure that no superfluous shocking occurs, but I usually end up flanked by both panting, shaking, drooling, 80lb dogs during a storm. This is ok, when the baby is sleeping - but I've found myself on more than one occasion in the last week with the baby and one huge dog in my lap - IN MY RECLINER - and the other whining to climb up.
No longer are they asking for my attention - but demanding it.
I'm hoping that when the storms subside, the younger dog will forget her fears and return to her normal oblivious self. In the meantime, I need to find some sedative for the dogs (and/or myself) or we aren't going to survive this stormy season!!