When my husband and I were not yet married, living together in our first place, we did what most couples do after playing house for a few months – brought home a dog.
It was the winter of 2010, and we just returned from a kid-free, mid-20s vacation in Las Vegas (now that seems like a fever dream). In our haze of being jet-lagged with mild hangovers, we looked at puppies.
Franklin was the third puppy we met that day. One look at him and he was named, and it didn’t hurt that he was also on sale. Adorable AND a deal! We later learned he was a complete and utter sociopath, but that’s beside the point.
After Franklin came an engagement and another dog – an older, slightly used Yorkie named Snickers.
After Snickers, IMMEDIATELY came a pregnancy and, in turn, a baby. Then another.
Franklin went from being the spoiled, constantly held, snuggled, adored member of the family who always held rank on beds and couches, to the standard family dog.
He has his doggy bed now, versus mom and dad’s comfy big bed. He’s lumped together with his older stepbrother, Snickers, on all matters. Our youngest human baby, Jack, loves to “pet” him. And by pet I mean small slaps and a little pulling. The other morning when I realized I had run out of dog treats, my problem solving resulted in a handful of stale Corn Pops with a cheery “good boys!” to our scruffy furry friends.
Things have changed for our first baby.
I’m sure he would love for all the attention to go back on him. Unfortunately for him, the humans I produced are here to stay, and they love the "dog dog dog," his furry fur and how he’ll randomly run figure eights in the living room for five consecutive minutes. Nothing makes my 3-year-old laugh harder than when Franklin growls non-threateningly due to someone moving their foot – from across the room.
In short, I’m sorry, buddy, that you were the first, then the second and then the very last on the chain of attention. You’re a good boy and I alone appreciate the feet licking. You are loved and annoying, and I’m sorry the attention you wish came from me is now coming from toddlers. I promise someday they will understand when we tell them “soft touch,” and you’ll actually enjoy their sticky hands.
Until then, thank you for being patient with all of us. No one asked you what you thought of your constantly growing family.
Despite all of your quirks and without any choice in the matter, you became the best family dog for our family.
Kristine Rohwer resides in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, step-son, daughter, son and two neurotic dogs.