Doggies Are A Girl’s Best Friend

Every girl needs a loyal friend, and so far Madelyn’s bestie is her doggie, Princeton. Even from the beginning when we first brought Madelyn home, the two of them have been inseparable.

Everyone always asks how Princeton does with Madelyn joining the family, and I’m always so proud to say that he’s adjusted beautifully. At first, he didn’t really care either way about her, but then realized she was sticking around and wasn’t just a temporary house guest. After a couple weeks, he became curious, but timid, unsure of what her sounds meant or if her arm reflexes would hurt him. Then, finally, the magical move happened that every girl dreams about: during a quiet time, when the mood was just right, and the outside world seemed to stand still, he kissed her. It was delicate and sweet, but nothing ruins the moment like an overprotective grandmother (mine, not Madelyn’s) who shouts “Oh, no, no! Don’t let the doh-awg kiss the bay-bay!” (She’s a New Yorker). But you know what? We’re all family. And if he gives her a lick to say he’s cool with her, then I’m cool with it.

I’ve noticed over the past couple months that Princeton has done more than just tolerate the new baby in the house. He cares about her the way he cares about Bryan and me. The first time he showed signs of protection, he had such good intentions, but really, nothing to worry about. My cleaning crew — a brother and sister team — were over at my house. They are very nice and love babies. The brother went up to Madelyn who was sitting in her little chair, and he talked in his baby voice to her and said nice things in Spanish like, “Ay! Que linda!” or “Madelyn es muy bonita!” and Madelyn cooed and smiled back because, like her mother, she’s a sucker for men who pay her compliments. Well! Mr. Princeton did not like that this man was speaking to his sister like that and from afar, he growled and made Tony Soprano look like a wimp.

Princeton watches over her and protects her because that’s what his doggie instinct tells him to do, but I really believe he accepts her as a part of his pack. When Madelyn is in my arms as I feed her and rock her to sleep in her dim bedroom, Princeton guards her as he lays in front of her door and keeps watch. His ears twitch at every noise and his furry eyebrows hop around as he scans the room for the boogeyman with his eyes and nose. It’s not until Madelyn is safely tucked in her crib, armed with her pink poodle lovey, that he gets up to leave her room. But he doesn’t go past the door until he knows it’s closed and I say it’s okay to follow me away from the nursery. It’s these times that our 14-pound, goofy terrier mix suddenly embodies a Secret Service canine who takes his job very seriously.

And when Madelyn plays, he watches her. I know he’s a little nervous about her touching and grabbing him, but he still takes the risk and leap of faith to be by her side even with his ears or tail in jeopardy. Recently, her curious hands hooked onto a chunk of his fur on his rear thigh. I was in conversation and not watching very closely, but heard a soft, breathy whimper from Princeton, looked down, and saw that a good deal of his leg was in her tight grip. I quickly unwound her fingers from his fur, apologized profusely and praised him for handling it so well when he could have snapped or ferociously barked at her. And when he was free from her grasp and could have jumped away to a safe and baby-free zone, he licked her head and stayed between us for more cuddling. Loyalty like I’ve never known.

I knew life would change when we brought Madelyn home. I often heard from others that “Princeton had no idea what was coming!” or that “Princeton is your child now, but once your baby arrives, he becomes The Dog.” People told me all the time that Princeton was in for a rude awakening and that my priorities would change. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to love another being the way I love Princeton. In fact, the morning we left to go to the hospital for the induction, I cried and cried and apologized to Princeton that his life was going to change when we walked back in that door with a baby in our arms. I told him that I was sorry that I was going to be cheating on him. I’m so glad to say now that I was wrong and so was everyone else. Madelyn did not replace Princeton. Princeton did not go down in rankings. I love both my babies immensely and love even more that they love each other. They can’t speak to each other or me, but they still know how to communicate and show loyalty that only a dog and an infant can know.

  1. Mimi
    2/14/2012 11:01 AM

    Dear Madelyn,
    There is nothing like the love and devotion you will receive from your 4 legged brother/best friend, Princeton. I will love watching you and Princeton bond & grow up together. He will teach you to be kind to all animals & to know the feeling of faithfulness. I’m so happy you have each other.
    Love you both! Mimi