How your relationship changes with your dog when you have a baby

I spend a lot of time analysing and talking about Arthur’s relationship with Rupert, how it’s changed, the ups and the downs and what I hope it becomes in the future. These last few weeks however, I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with Rupert. This possibly stems from the fact that he’s had a few issues with his eyes recently which has meant countless trips to the vets and a strict daily medication / cleaning routine. As is the warped reality of life, sometimes it takes bad things to remind you of how much someone or something means to you and visa versa.

Rupert’s life pre-Arthur was varied, exciting and full of adventure. I was freelance so I’d often be able to take him to work with me, where he’d spend his days sitting in a fancy edit suite or studio, have endless amounts of visitors coming in for cuddles and lovely lunchtime strolls through some of London’s coolest parks. If I couldn’t take him to work, he’d go and spend the day at doggy daycare where his days were filled with long walks and endless playtime with all his buddies. Now, he gets poked and prodded by a toddler, quick walks round the block some days and has to wait until 7.30pm to get any kind of chill out one-to-one time, so it’s fair to say our relationship has changed a lot in the last 18 months.


In a recent episode of the E4 series Vogue, Spencer and Baby Too – a series which follows Made In Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews and his feisty (and uber cool) wife Vogue Williams in their journey of new parenthood – their dog Winston goes to see a pet therapist as Vogue is worried he’s been feeling down since the baby arrived. Putting the genuineness of the therapy aside, the conclusion was the Winston felt like “he’d lost his mum” and “doesn’t know what he’s done wrong”. Now, I’m not 100% convinced by the technique of the therapy itself (!) but I genuinely believe that Rupert probably feels the same sometimes and this makes me sad.


Rupert will often look at me as if to say “why is he still here?!” and he’ll sometimes do desperate things to get my attention, like chew Arthur’s toys or scratch against the wall. As soon as I acknowledge him he stops. I guess this is the difference between a dog who was there first and one who has joined the family when children already exist. Or maybe one who was treated like the baby before the actual baby came along…

Dogs live in the moment, so I don’t think they necessarily know why they feel sad, but they can feel sad. Dogs that are bored and unstimulated often resort to behaving badly, they need attention, they need to be challenged and Rupert is a dog that needs love. It’s ironic as the amount of time I spend with Rupert has increased since Arthur came along yet the amount of quality time I spend with him has decreased.

For me and my family, a happy dog plays a big part in creating a happy home, so…my aim and my promise to Rupert and myself is that I will try and spend one to one time with him whenever possible. If I go to meet friends for an evening and the place is dog friendly I will take him with me, if Izzy and I have a business meeting post babies bedtime we take the dogs with us, if the vet has evening appointments (which luckily ours does) we opt for those, on a weekend either myself or Nick will take Rupert for a long walk on his own with no toddler to slow him down. I make these little promises to him to show him that we do and I do love him and always will.


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