Reuben is many things to us. He's Brandon's first dog and our first "baby". He's part of the reason for a big break up in our dating years (so maybe it's not fair to blame the dog...hmmm). He cuts our vacations short, makes us seek out campgrounds that will accept dogs (Quebec is the worst place for that) . He's a bit (ok... a lot) of a spaz and if he loves you... he LOVES you. He's a garbage can and will consume anything that even resembles food (made himself really sick one year when he ate 20 kilos of Belgian chocolate on Christmas eve!) He's also the reason you'll find us (yes... all of 4 of us) out walking around our neighbourhood twice a day (I could write a whole other post about the benefits of those daily walks...)!
Poor Reuben has been demoted significantly in the last 2 1/2 years (the timing of which coincidentally coincides perfectly with the birth of Layla... interesting). For as much as I complain about that fact that he's becoming more and more annoying - I have to admit that I think he's adjusted quite nicely to the two new faces that have been added to our family.
Before bringing Layla home - we were a little nervous (or I was... Brandon is rarely nervous about anything) about how he would react to the new baby. He was already 5 years old. He'd been (for all intents and purposes) our "baby" for his entire life. He wasn't used to kids, let alone newborns. What would he do if the baby cried for hours on end?
So when we were ready to come home from the hospital, we had a strategy straight out of the "dog whisperer" to introduce Reuben to the new little one (that would replace him, usurp him and demote his place in the family forever - poor pup). I'm not sure that the dog whisperer technique had anything to do with it, but if my memory serves me right, everything went well. At first he was curious... and once he realized how little a newborn actually does (or moves for that matter) - he lost interest.
When the baby cried he would simply follow me around and poke at me as if to say "shouldn't you do something about this?". When the baby spat-up (and Layla was a spitter!) he would follow me around and clean up the mess left behind (I know... this is gross... but it sure beat having to clean it up myself!)
Nowadays it's not always so peaceful (or fun) for him. Layla sits on him. Meaghan has started to grab at his fur. Our walks don't include a lot of play time for him and are often really slow (because Layla insists on walking of course). He kind of gets forgotten in all the business of taking care of the house and the girls... And then when he misbehaves Brandon and I have less patience with him....
He's a good dog. A clean dog. A loyal dog. I think I take all that for granted. And though I get annoyed with him now, I know I'll miss him when he's gone. There will never be another "Reuben". His little dog life is weaved in and out of the last 8 years of my relationship with Brandon. He's shared a lot of important moments with us (and has comforted me more than once when I cried)... sigh... I need to remember to love him more...
I'm going to go and hug my dog now.