Before I had June, my dogs were my children. I cuddled with them, played with them, went for long hikes in the woods with them, took pride in their accomplishments and generally talked to them like a character on Sesame Street. (If you have pets and no kids at home, you know what I’m talking about.)
And then June came along, and suddenly Cowboy and Sunnie were relegated to mere house pets. It was a stark transition. At the time I didn’t have much time to think about what was happening because I was too busy tending to a squalling creature whose needs outpaced those of the animals by a factor of five thousand. But there were clear indications things were different, like when Cowboy sidled up to me as I cradled the baby on the couch, looking up at me with an expression like that of a child facing down the bad, neglectful mom on Dr. Phil. “How could you?” the imploring expression said. “Don’t forget about me.” And the baby would start crying and I’d forget about Cowboy. Pretty soon, he stopped coming up to me altogether, preferring to stick closer than ever to Jake, who was still his unwavering best friend. I felt terrible about this. Cowboy was my pal. I felt like I’d ditched him.