A Baby’s Coming: Advice for the Dog

How to avoid banishment—a frenemy’s letter lays out the rules.
By Lu Pierro, May 2021
brining home new baby
When the humans decide to have a baby, the family dog’s world dramatically changes. Following is a translation of a letter that Tipsy, the cat who lives with the soon-to-be grandma, wrote to Emi, the 12-year-old dog who’s the best pal of the soon-to-be mom.

Dear Emi …

I hear there’s a new little one coming to your house. Before the arrival of “the blessed event,” I thought I’d give you some advice.



Our first love is food. The good news: All food that falls on the floor is fair game. The bad news: You cannot take food from the baby’s hand even if it’s dangled in front of you. You will be banished.


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The baby has toys, you have toys. Do not take the baby’s toys. Do not bite them. Do not lick them. You will be banished.



The baby is not leashed. You may think that’s wrong, since the baby gets into more things than you do. Life is not fair, and it won’t be until the baby leaves for college.



The baby may sleep in your bed. The humans may think this is cute, and even take pictures. You, however, may not sleep in the baby’s crib. And if you try, well, you will be banished.



Under no circumstances smell the baby’s diaper. While you may be curious about the pungent aroma that comes from the baby’s butt, trust me, the closer you get, the more horrible it gets. You will regret it.



You may be allowed to lick the baby’s toes. That will make the baby squirm and giggle. But resist licking the baby’s face no matter how delicious it smells. The baby will reach out and pull your hair, and yes, you may be banished.



You will find the humans oohing and aahing over the baby and you will notice a precipitous drop in their vocabulary level. Don’t be alarmed. It’s temporary. Play along and you won’t be banished.



The baby will ride in a carriage, and you, my friend, will have to walk on your four tired legs. No amount of whining or complaining will get you a ride. And if you persist, you will be left home next time (but probably not banished altogether). 



Babies love to sleep. Unfortunately, they do most of it during the day, usually around the time you like to go for your daily constitutional. Do not complain even if your bladder is full. If you do, well, you know the drill by now.



The first year is tough. But if you survive, you will find that the baby will grow into a friend, one who shares food with you, throws the ball for you, loves to cuddle with you and hug you, and loves you almost as much as Grandma and Grandpa do. Though I’ll never understand why.


Your frenemy,

Photo: Shutterstock

Lu Pierro, author, poet and teacher, has published work in numerous small press publications. Her journal, All Dogs Go to Heaven, ranked #1 in its category on Amazon for several weeks. Her newest journal, All Cats go to Heaven, provides a guided healing process for cat owners.