I know it’s a little silly, but I’m really excited for my baby and my dog to meet. I mean, how could I not, with the Instagram phenom of the Japanese toddler and his French bulldog, or all the other squee-worthy pictures (and these too!) of kids and puppies?
Finn, our border collie-kooiker rescue mutt, has been a part of our family since we adopted him in California in 2009. He is my first-ever dog and I never realized how attached to him I would become. Our family of three has undergone plenty of change—more moves than I prefer to think about (although Finn has come to love U-Haul trucks), graduations from two masters programs, cross-country road trips—and he’s been a part of my pregnancy, as well.
My reaction to news about Finn was one of the first times I knew I was under the thrall of super-powered preggers emotions. Eric was driving through Montana to meet me in Michigan for Christmas when they stopped at a rest area. Eric and I were talking when he interrupted our conversation. “Oh, Finn is limping,” he told me. Finn had probably hit a patch of sharp ice with his paw.
Logic and the fact that Finn was soon back to sprinting through the snow failed to stem the onslaught of pregnant lady tears. I was distraught, and Eric was helpless to comfort me from a thousand miles away. It was his first lesson in letting my roller coaster emotional reactions play out instead of trying to fix everything.
More recently, Finn has been acting differently toward me. He must know something’s up. When he and I went for a long hike at Haggs Lake last weekend, he acted like the best-trained pup in the world—which he is surely not. (Ask my dad, whose birthday steak he stole, or our friends who have to keep their bedroom locked so he doesn’t eat the bedside Kleenexes, or my in-laws whose chickens he nearly murdered, or any of the many other folks who have witnessed his less than exemplary behavior.) He loves to run ahead on the trail, but this time he paused frequently to look back at me. I imagined he was checking on me, making sure I hadn’t keeled over or tumbled down a hill like Humpty Dumpty.
And he’s been even more snuggly lately. He didn’t earn the nickname Cuddlebug for nothing, but nowadays he follows me around the apartment and looks for his chance to lie next to—or on—me. He’s even adjusted his way of sitting on my lap in the car to accommodate my bump.
What I’m most excited about (yes, more than the drop-dead adorable Kodak moments that will surely come) is that Peeper will have a loving companion and pet in Finn from his or her first day of life. Finn will be there to lick scraped knees. The two of them will surely conspire against us by sneaking Cheerios and bits of bananas from the high chair. Finn will make a great pillow for naps.
It is that unconditional friendship that will, in all likelihood, make me tear up again and again, pregnancy hormones or no.