Daily Archives: November 18, 2010

Dog + Baby = Love

This is Hazel’s story.

My parents had moved to Florida and I, living in the mid-Atlantic, hopped on a plane and went to visit them. I was 23. The day before I was to return home, I stopped into a pet shop at a large shopping center near their house. Even though I had been thinking about getting a chihuahua for a while, I had no intention of buying anything from that pet shop. I was just perusing the puppies when I saw a tiny chocolate-colored head rise from its curled up body, look me square in the eye, and then plop back down again. I think she cast a spell on me in the moment. The next day, I was on a plane home with her, much poorer, but infinitely happier (and slightly guilty for buying a dog at a pet shop, sigh). I was supposed to keep her in a crate under the seat in front of me. Instead, I wrapped her two pound body in a t-shirt and kept her on my lap the whole flight.

She was 10 weeks old. A few weeks after I got home, I broke up with my girlfriend who I had been living with, and moved into my own apartment.  I spent the next few months training the dog and appreciating her company. When Hazel was 9 months old, I met Nutella. Nutella was both a cat person and allergic to dogs. Luckily, Hazel is very cat-like (in the good ways, no hairballs) and she’s so small that Nutella’s allergies have never been that bad with her. Hazel won her over very quickly.

Fast forward 5+ years. Nutella was pregnant and Hazel was supremely attached to her heating-pad human mom, laying her head on Nutella’s growing belly only to raise it with a confused expression when something tapped at her from below.

When Curly was born, she would race to get us when he’d cry (which meant she was frequently running all over the house). She was curious about him…a little scared, but quickly got used to him. She would sniff him and lick his face. To him, she was just as strange as everything else around him. He didn’t begin to truly get interested in her until 3 or 4 months. At 5 months, he began laughing at her as she ran laps around the coffee table. She was the only thing that could always make him laugh, and still is. She is a constant presence at the bottom of his high chair, although not as much food falls to her anymore (but she may still pre-wash his tray now and then). He will lean over to look down at her, say ‘hi’ and wave.

Hazel is not into playing with toys, so Curly will frequently try to hand her a ball only to be left hanging. It took us a few months to teach him that he must be gentle with her, and give her soft pets versus quick smacks. When he is aggressive with her or too much in her personal space, she will give a little growl and bare her teeth, but she has never hurt him. Most of the time they ignore each other, but when they interact well, it’s adorable. They will give each other kisses and chase each other. It’s a good sibling relationship.

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