A few years ago, if someone constantly anthropomorphized their dog, then I would probably roll my eyes and say “you do realize a dog is not a person, they do not have feelings like you or me?” Quick side note–how many of you had to look up anthropomorphize? I thought people were stupid for thinking their dog was sad or depressed. Then again, I did not like dogs…so it was probably easy for me to think of them as dumb animals.
Now though, you can probably guess, I have a different opinion. I know that Samson has a full range of emotions. I feel horrible when we go to work and he runs to the window and watches us leave with the saddest expression ever. And yet, I am elated when I come home and can see him still at the window, tail wagging so hard that I can hear it from outside as it hits the sofa. I know when he is playful and when he is mad. I am not special or anything, every dog owner will tell you the same thing.
The big question has been: how will Samson react to Payton? Most people seemed to think he would be jealous of her. I was not so sure. I think he could tell something was happening, especially the last few months as Payton began to move around more inside the womb. He would rest his head on Lindsey’s tummy and feel her kick. Do I think he knew she was pregnant? No, but he definitely was witnessing changes and could probably smell something different.
The day of the birth was crazy. We left the house at 8:45 a.m. and as we walked out, Lindsey said to Samson “don’t worry, we will be back in a little bit, we love you!” Imagine from his perspective for a second. We leave and are gone for a very long time. Then, Aunt Kayla shows up and takes him outside, but then she gathers a bag and leaves too. And then after waiting another long eternity, Grandpa comes and takes him to his house. Samson was away from us for six days! That is the longest he has been away from us since we got him.
The first day he came home was interesting. At first he was very excited to see us. Plenty of kisses for Lindsey and myself. I kept a small leash on him to grab if he tried to jump on Lindsey or Payton, but after awhile, it was clear that he was not going to jump on them. Once the excitement wore off though, then he became odd. It was like he remembered that we abandoned him. He just laid around and would barely look at us. I tried to play with him a few times and he would just get up and walk away.
The next day I took him for a nice walk and he started to come back to his normal self. He did not seem to hate us anymore. I also started allowing him closer to Payton. He was completely calm around her and even still he just likes to go up to her, sniff, then lick her face. She does not seem to mind. He also tends to sniff at her diaper when she goes to the bathroom, which is quite helpful for us. I just need to train him to change diapers and then it would be perfect!
For the most part, nothing has really changed for him. We wake up and take him outside. We play with him, take him for walks, play with him some more (we have our daily wrestling match), people come over and constantly pet him. And yet, there is a sadness. When we hold Payton (or stop playing with him), he just has this sullen look. I wish I could explain to him that nothing has changed. I try. I go over and rub his belly, or give him kisses (don’t judge me).
I know what you are thinking and yeah, he probably is a little jealous. However, there is also a protective part in him. At night, he still sleeps in our bed. Payton’s bassinet is next to where I sleep (there is not enough room on Lindsey’s side of the bed). Most nights, he will hop out of bed and curl up around the foot of the bassinet. Also, when we get up in the middle of the night for a feeding, he follows us to the nursery and just chills on the rug while she eats. The look on his face is not the same, it is almost like concern (I know, that sounds crazy–old me just rolled his eyes).
Finally, whenever anyone comes over to hold Payton, Samson will jump on the couch with them. He sniffs her, licks her face, then curls up with the person. It could be a little jealousy, but I like to think it is mostly love. Older children tend to show both emotions for a new baby brother/sister, right? Why would a dog be any different?
This is my family and I love them more than anything in this world…