My husband and I have a two-year-old lab named Maya. I’m not a dog person and I was vehemently opposed when my husband broached the subject of us getting a dog. However, over the past two years she has nuzzled her way right into a very special place in my heart. After all, I was the one who got up with her at two in the morning to let her out, I taught her all the tricks she knows and I was the one who jumped up and down squealing when she went potty outside. Like it or not, I was her mommy and she was my first baby.
Maya was my confidante when we were trying to conceive. She comforted me during that stressful time, when I wondered if she would be my only chance at mothering. Often I’d sit, huddled on the sofa, crying into her fur. I loved my dog but I longed for a child and somehow I think she understood. I was overjoyed when I finally became pregnant but I worried about Maya and how she would adjust to playing second fiddle in a house she once ruled.
For the most part, Maya has gotten used to our new addition. We’ve made an effort to include her so she doesn’t see the baby as a threat and take her frustrations out on the baby. So far we’ve been successful, as she has accepted our daughter and often just goes into another room when she starts crying. Now, there have been moments of sibling rivalry, when she’s brought sticks in the house or ripped up one of the baby’s blankets because no one was paying attention to her.
I’ve lost count how many t-shirts and slippers I’ve lost to Maya’s puppy teeth. I’ve cleaned up more of her bodily fluids than I care to remember. Yet, I’m grateful to my dog. She taught me patience. She made me comfortable with putting myself second. She kept me from sinking when I was down, reminding me that simple things like going for a walk and throwing a ball can indeed bring peace and comfort. She was the first one who awoke the mother in me.
My heart and soul belong to my daughter. She will forever be the most important person in my life, as will future children if I am so blessed. However, I will always cherish my Maya. They say dogs are man’s best friend, but she’s most definitely Mommy’s Good Girl.