For those of you who did things in the right order, (e.g. get married, graduate college, get dog #1, drop out of grad school, buy a house, get dog #2, get rid of dog #1, go back to grad school, get knocked up), you may be familiar with the stress that comes with introducing a new baby to your spoiled dog-child.
Lots of caring people have bestowed upon us oodles of unsolicited advice. We've been told to snag the receiving blanket with all the baby goop to give to the dog before we come home. We've been told to put out all the baby stuff and turn it all on (all at once?) so Buster can get used to it. We've also been told (by several people) to just lighten up and not worry about it.
That is not an option, so I called our vet for some advice. He basically told us to just make sure Buster is smothered with attention and exhausted all the time after Meatball comes home. When I mentioned dog day care, he concurred that it is an appropriate way for yuppies to let someone else deal with their needy dogs post-baby. He suggested we start before Meatball's arrival, so as to acclimate him to these life changes one at a time.
So today, Buster went to day care. I took him in early, so there wouldn't be too many other dogs at first (at the suggestion of the day care). I told him to behave himself, and handed him over. I got into the car, and was immediately filled with worry and remorse. What if he doesn't like the other dogs? What if he gets in a fight? What if he catches fleas or something? What if he hates me when I pick him up for sending him into a gutted warehouse in a sketchy part of town with 100 yelping latchkey dogs?! Ohmigosh I'm paying someone $18 a day to ruin my dog. He'll never forgive me.
I called the day care later to find out if he adjusted, and of course they were like "oh you have the best dog ever he's so cute and well-behaved and we'll see you when you pick him up." Click. Then I felt ashamed and entitled. Like they even know (or care) which dog is mine. They're dogs for pete's sake. They eat poop and tissues from the garbage. They sleep on the floor. Animals.
Almost immediately, I sensed the parallel of this situation. We're fortunate to have in-home child care for the time being, but that's likely not permanent. One of these days, I'll be dropping my own daughter off at day care for the first time, and if I felt this emotional about dropping my dumb dog off at a day care, so emotional that I called the day care like a meddlesome, self-indulgent parent to check on him, I can only imagine the crushing regret I will feel that first morning I watch Meatball go to her cubby to hang up her coat. Everything I feel for my dog, I will feel for my daughter times 100. Which also means that I will be 100 times more relieved when I pick her up, as I did Buster, and realize she survived. She probably won't hate us, and she'll probably be fine. I'm sure there are worse things we will do as parents than take her to day care. Just wait until she brings home her first boyfriend (or girlfriend).