"My Dog Delivered My Baby"
They bring us our slippers, inspire us to go out in the fresh air and sunshine to walk them, play catch with the kids and provide affection, warmth and licks on the cheek. Not every family has a dog and not all dogs are cut out to be doulas, but if you think dogs are only man’s best friend, read these seven incredible stories of dogs who doubled as doula, midwife, nanny and mama's best friend.
Photo Credit: Christina Kellum
Christina Kellum’s dog Delilah never had pups of her own, but this boxer-German shepherd mix stayed by Christina’s side during both of Christina’s home births in Olympia, Washington. Christina describes herself as a “loud birther.” Even though she sang a lot and cried out during childbirth, which included intense back labor right from the beginning, Delilah didn’t flinch. “She was part of my team,” Christina says. “It was very comforting to have her there.”
Photo Credit: Briana Beaulieu
Brighid, a rescue dog who was homeless for six months on the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, knew her mistress, Briana Beaulieu, was pregnant even before Briana and her partner did. Though Akitas are sometimes considered an aggressive breed, Brighid was always calm and gentle. “She was very careful about where she would lay her head on my body,” Briana remembers. While Briana was laboring at home, she leaned against her dog and draped her body over the pooch during contractions. After Briana left for the hospital, Brighid—whose name comes from the Celtic goddess of home and hearth—refused to eat. She lay whining by the door until Briana came home with her 8-pound 8-ounce baby boy.
Kateryn Tan of Morphett Vale, Australia, gave birth to her second baby at her mom’s house because her partner, a computer technician, had to be at work. Kateryn spent most of her labor in the bathtub. Her mom’s dog Mia, an English pointer, stayed by the side of the tub with her head right next to Kateryn’s. “It was lovely till she drank some of the water,” says this mom of three who is expecting again, “apparently labor support is thirsty work.”
Photo Credit: Zoey Boyles
Zoey Boyles and her husband adopted Copper, a puggle (pug/beagle mix) from a shelter right after they got married. Since Copper was their first “kid,” the Boyles were nervous about how he would react to having a human sibling. “He gave him a sniff on his feet and a kiss on his head then hopped down and walked away,” Zoey said. “Baby was officially part of the pack.” Since that first day three months ago, Copper is a constant companion, staying by Zoey’s side when she nurses and making himself useful as a four-legged house-cleaner: “When the baby spits up, he’s more than happy to be on clean up duty,” Zoey laughs. “Ew.”
Photo Credit: Pam Llewellyn
When Pam Llewellyn brought her 8-pound 7-ounce son home from the hospital, he had what she describes as “a pretty bad case of jaundice.” So Pam and her husband, who live in Maryland, spent the first few days with their newborn chasing sunshine around the house. When she put the baby in a sunny spot on the couch, her dog Abby, a mutt, would sit next to the sofa with her chin on the cushion and watch him, sometimes for hours, until he woke up. “As soon as he’d start to stir, she’d run to find one of us while looking back toward the living room and doing that prancing sort of excited dance that dogs do.”
Photo Credit: Abigail Kraft
Rufus and Newt
Abigail Kraft, a mom of two in Oregon, has two large animated dogs: Rufus, a German shorthaired pointer, and Newt, a pointer mix. The dogs both mellowed out and toned down their energy when the new baby arrived. They were very protective of the baby, staying by his side when he was awake and lying beneath his bassinet with one eye open to guard things when he was asleep.
Photo Credit: Leela Da Costa
Leela Da Costa’s American Staffordshire Terrier, Ruby, is as protective of her human sibling as she is of her mistress. When friends brought meals over to the new family Ruby would sit on the floor by the visitor with all of her body weight leaned on their legs and her chin on their knee right next to the baby as if to say, “just so you know, I’m here, so don’t mess with her.” Ruby is protective of Leela too. “I always feel safe when Ruby is with us, even when my husband has to be gone.”
Some first time parents opt to leave their dogs outside or with friends when labor begins to have one less thing to think about. Here’s our best advice on how to prepare pets for the 8-ounce bundle of joy on its way to your house. You can also take this quiz to see if your pooch is ready for the baby.
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