Nala, our dog, was our first baby…..well, our second…Cody our cat was our first (sadly, he passed away last year before Liam arrived). Nala is a rescue dog from ARF Ontario. They are an amazing rescue organization that takes in stray puppies and puts them into foster homes until they are pretty much trained and ready to be adopted out. The adoption process for Nala was pretty intense. We were surprised by how many questions they asked us, and how rigid their expectations were. However, we realized that they only want their dogs to be placed in FOREVER homes, and never want them to return to a shelter or to be given to another family. They made sure that Nala was a perfect fit for our family….and she sure is!
But Nala, our timid and sweet dog, is a sensitive soul. She takes things to heart. If we raise our voices at her, she pretty much sulks for a day. She is SO well behaved so it’s rare we have to raise our voices to her. She needs constant socialization with other dogs (yup, she even goes to “doggy daycare” twice a week to play) and she needs a lot of love and affection from us. Nala was my baby before Liam arrived. We did a lot together…walks every day, lots of playing and trick training, etc. After the baby, that was put on hold for awhile. We still walked, but my time was taken up by this little bundle, and Nala wasn’t impressed. She started chewing things (boxes of tissue, pens, every lip gloss I own) and her nose was a bit out of joint. Every time she wanted attention, I had a baby in my arms to feed or to soothe. It made me sad I couldn’t give her the attention she needed, but I knew that the baby would need less of my time and Nala could get more of it as the months passed.
To summarize, Nala was jealous. Extremely jealous. I had no idea that jealousy was such a natural emotion that animals can express it whole heartedly. But, it is! We knew Nala cared for Liam, as she would gently sniff him, give him little kisses and she would get excited everytime we would bring him in the house from being out. But, she was also jealous. As Liam has grown a bit, he has taken quite an interest in Nala. He just looks at her and smiles, he giggles when she does tricks, and (happily for Nala) he has learned how to feed her Cheerios from his highchair. Now, I’d say they are pretty close to being buds! She’ll love him even more once he can run around with her and throw a ball for her.
I was taking photos of Liam the other day and Nala walked in the studio and laid down beside him. These are a couple of images of them together…They melt my heart and I can see their friendship budding and an understanding between the two of them beginning! I think Nala is even smiling in the first photo 🙂