Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kisses from puppy brother

Now that I'm a father I have endless blog post topics. Now that I'm a father, the only time I have for said blog topics is a quick note where they get lost on the page with other seemingly great ideas. Maybe I'll have to embrace brevity as my new best friend. And so, in the spirit of that briefness, here is the story of how we brought our healthy daughter, Lily, home from the hospital.

Internet research began long before going into labor, paired by discussions with friends who have paved the way with children and dogs. We discovered scent is everything. I packed one of Lily's future blankets into the bag we took to labor and delivery. We used this blanket for about a day after Lily was born, wrapping her in it as much as possible.

Then, the day before bringing Lily home, I brought the blanket home. Just like any new item we introduce into the house, Charlie must be there to inspect the contents and the blanket was no exception. But it was unlike other new things we've put in the house; the second I let him smell it, he couldn't get enough of it. His tail curved down, still wagging. He buried his nose in the blanket, sniffing. This introduction session could have lasted longer than the duration of five minutes I allowed, but I was on a timeline to shower, grab some necessities, and head back to the hospital.

I walked up the stairs to the bedrooms, blanket in hand, and Charlie right at my heals the entire way. I simply dropped the blanket into the crib in Lily's room. Charlie stood there, smelling, walking around the crib. He returned several times as if to check and ensure the newly scented blanket was still there.

A day and a half later, we put Lily in the Subaru Outback for the first time, giving her the first ride home. Michelle walked into the house first to give Charlie an opportunity to greet her. Then I walked in a moment later, carrying Lily. There is no way to know that Charlie knew Lily was ours, but I'm certain he knew.

He excitedly followed me around the house and I got down to his level so that he could meet his human sister. Immediately he wanted to devour her with love, giving the all-so-famous Charlie licks. He started with her feet and it didn't take long for him to try to do the same on her soft infant head. We put a quick end to his obsessiveness, trying to keep him from going at Lily too quickly or jumping near her.

Now Charlie accepts Lily as part of our family. He is patient with her and with us as we all try to figure out this new way of living with each other. Like the loyal and loving dog he is, Charlie is present every moment, right there, alongside us.

He still loves giving puppy brother kisses to his human sister, licking her cheeks, forehead, arms, hands, and feet. Lily tolerates it with her infant-stink face. And I, too, am often the recipient of that same exact stink face.