Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eliza and Ga

Eliza and Scooter getting acquainted.
Almost from the time we found out I was pregnant we worried about how Scooter (our 5 year old miniature schnauzer) would feel about the baby. Would he be protective? Would he be territorial? He didn't have a history of liking kids, but we hoped that he would feel differently about a baby in his own family.  For the first six months Scooter didn't really seem to like Eliza. He ignored her as much as possible, and as she grew to be aware of her surroundings she was more and more fascinated with Scooter. Scooter had a bad habit of waiting until Eliza was napping and then barking uncontrollably. He is usually quiet and lays in his spot on the couch, but if something gets him going, it's hard to get him to stop and it is loud and annoying.  Many a nap was interrupted by Scooter. We had heard that the baby will be used to sounds like dogs barking because she'll hear them while she's still in utero, but that didn't seem to help when Scooter got going.

Everything changed about the time we started to give Eliza solid foods.  Suddenly, she was interesting to the dog because she had food.  And she dropped food. And he could eat the dropped food. And that changed everything.  Instead of resenting Eliza or ignoring Eliza, Scooter became Eliza's best friend even when she didn't have food.  He was much more tolerant of her. She can play with him and he will play back in his own unique way. (He growls when he's playing, it makes other people nervous to watch, but we know it's his play mode.) He lets her grab his toys out of his mouth. He lets her hug him. The only time he gets frustrated with her is when he's in his kennel. And of course Eliza wants to be wherever Scooter is, so I'm trying to teach her that the kennel is Scooter's place and she needs to leave him alone when he's in there.

When we were in San Francisco recently Scooter went to stay with Shawn's brother who lives nearby. About halfway through the trip Eliza did the sign for dog (patting her leg) and then looked at us and said "Ga?" Ga is her word for Scooter. (She doesn't say Mama yet, but she has a word for the dog.) She wanted to know where Scooter was, and it melted our hearts.  When we came home from San Francisco Eliza chased Scooter all over the house yelling "Ga!" over and over again.  Our little family was reunited.

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