We’ve had Fluffy now for a month and a half. He’s the first little dog I’ve ever had, and after growing up with an Airedale Terrier who joined our family when she was three and I was six, and having our dear departed Golden Retriever/Basset Hound mix Waldo for seven years, joining our family right before The Pumpkin did, he’s definitely different.
He came to us as a stray, probably two-ish years old, friendly and playful. The girls laughed and laughed to watch him play catch with himself, tossing a ball over his head and running all around to get it again. And he’s still a funny, entertaining little guy. But we forgot that a dog, even if not a puppy anymore, can basically be like another kid. He needs affection, and attention, and as the only non-adult-human-entity who can be reliably left outside and alone at home for long periods of time and the only non-adult-human-entity who can’t tell us what he wants in English, it’s easy to ignore him amidst the daily scheduled whirlwind of household life.
It doesn’t help that The Button still backs up at the open breezeway door proclaiming “I’m scared of Fluffy!” whenever we have to go outside. Of course, I also know that making her spend more time with him will help her, and him, with that. It’s not fair to him, or to the rest of us either, to just have him to “have” a pet and not play with him, walk him, make the girls spend more time with him, take responsibility for him.
We’ve had to put up baby gates to keep him out of the living room and the bedroom hallway. He still doesn’t like the playard fencing that his bed sits inside of in the kitchen once we go to bed. He scratches to be let out and then scratches to be let back in right away. He’s another baby, a funny, hairy baby with sharp teeth and claws. And I need to treat him like a member of the family and not an inconvenience or an afterthought.