How Scout (kind of) Prepared Me for Motherhood

Dogs and babies. They’re kind of the same thing, right?

Umm, nope. That’s just what I used to think, before I had a baby. Take pretty much everything a dog provides and multiply that by 100 and you’ve got the baby. The tough stuff, but the love, too (don’t tell Scout I said that, please).

Scouter has been with me since he was 10 weeks old. He just turned 12. That’s a long time (my longest relationship, actually). There are some ways in which having Scout helped prepare me for a baby. Here are just a few:

1. Choosing a name. It’s not quite as stressful as naming a child, but it’s up there. It’s a tall order to choose a name that isn’t too common or too weird. And if the dog comes first, there’s always the issue of making sure you don’t use your best name on the dog, in case there happens to be a baby in the picture later on. (Or, you could always be like my grandma and throw all the rules out the window and name your child the same name as your dog.)

2. The poop. Before having a dog, I only ever had to worry about my own happenings in this department. But once Scout was in the picture, that all changed. Much like with a baby, pooping is key. Enter daily walks to ensure a good poop outside and trips to the dog groomer to have his anal glands expressed (now there’s a word I really didn’t need to know).

3. Finding a dogsitter.  It’s frowned upon to leave your dog alone overnight or while on vacation (much like it is with your child). So, here starts the responsible search for someone to watch your furry loved one for you. I’ve been extremely lucky that all of my family + friends love my pup almost as much as I do, so we’ve always had wonderful Scoutsitters.

4. Dog-proofing the house. When Scouter was a wee ‘lil lad, he chewed on everything. I can’t tell you how many pairs of heels I lost, not to mention how many square feet of carpet. In order to save my stuff (and my sanity), I had to dog-proof. Those days are mostly over now that he’s 12 years old and has about 4 teeth left, but the days of protecting him will never be over. Is the outside gate closed? Did he get his heartworm medicine? Frontline? Is his hip still hurting him? The worry never ends.

5. The love.  Scout is the first living being I was responsible for besides myself (Let’s not count the hamsters in 5th grade. They didn’t fare so well.) Caring about him gave me a little glimpse into parenthood. Who knew I could love a little 7 pound furball so much?

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