This is Wrigley. Otherwise known as Wriggles, Wrigleyville or Mr. Wriggles. And this is his story.

Not long after my friend Jan got married and bought a house, she and her hubby—like many young couples—began to feel a growing void. As is typical with most newlyweds who put down roots and establish a home together, the need for “something more” takes a hold of them and they, in turn, take a trip to the local pet store.

Many sleepless nights, soiled and tattered towels, destroyed shoes, half-chewed squeaky toys and bottles of carpet cleaner later… they settle in with their newest addition and deem their squirmy little puppy the King of the Castle… Lord of the Manor… and Love of Their Lives.

They honestly don’t know how they ever got along without this furry bundle of joy and he becomes the center of their world… their baby. He is regularly walked, obscenely spoiled with designer toys and gourmet treats and taken to “Doggie Daycare” or the grandparents’ homes when mummy and daddy are away.

Fast-forward a couple of years. Biology has worked its magic and now there is a new sheriff in town. That’s right, folks. Procreation has occurred. You know the good ol’ perpetuation of the species and all that crap. A tiny new bundle has entered the home and nothing is ever the same. This one is hairless and cries constantly and unlike the furry variety, it seems to demand much, MUCH more attention.

And suddenly, without warning, the former King of the Castle is literally cast aside in order to make room. Chew toys, tug-of-war ropes and tennis balls are shoved into dark, dusty corners to make way for pack-n-plays, bouncy-chairs and activity mats.

Excuse me... Where are all of MY toys?

Zero sleep and constant feedings and changings have made mummy and daddy rather cranky and impatient and rendered the notion of a daily walk or a game of catch virtually impossible. Life feels as though it will never return to normal.

UGH. I personally don't see what all the fuss is about. I'm WAY cuter than she is. Aren't I?

I’ve seen Wrigley’s story play out time and time again as my friends have done their reproductive duty and multiplied. The animal—once so adored—has now become an object of scorn and frustration. During a recent visit to meet the newest human addition to my friend’s family, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Wrigley (I personally like to call him Mr. Wriggles). Me being a perplexed, non-parent, I asked my friend how it was possible for them “hate” their once-cherished pet.

“He’s annoying. He jumps too much, barks too loud and begs mercilessly for attention. We worry constantly that he’s going to wake the baby. He is just one more thing for us to deal with. Now that we have 2 kids, it feels like we actually have 3.” She answered.

At least she was honest.

They admitted to giving some consideration to the thought of handing Wrigley over to a neighboring family who could offer him more attention—but being the sometimes-optimist that I am—I see their oldest, Brady, approaching 3 and I believe that perhaps Mr. Wriggles will soon get back his throne. Maybe he will become King … (OK that’s reaching) make that Prince of Brady’s world. And before long, there will be someone to take walks and play catch with once again.

Um... Are you old enough to take me for a walk yet?


7 thoughts on “Dethroned

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    I keep a bulleted list of potential blog topics in case I heat one of those blogging “dry spells” I hear are inevitable. The top bullet on the list is “how Sai used to be my prince.”

    Sai is, of course, my dog.

    Reading this is thus a good reminder for me, in many ways. My dog is not as obedient now as he was before, and yet I know the difference is in what I’m (not) doing: These days, I’m only seldom taking the time out for positive reinforcement, which used to be 90% of my strategy. Now I’d say it’s maybe 10%.

    And yet, while my dog’s less obedient, he’s also proven he’s a blessing a millionfold in how sweet he is with my son. He patiently lets my two-year-old pretend he’s a pony, among other games I’m sure are not his favorite. Every time I see this, I’m reminded how important it is to take 5 minutes out daily and reward him for being pretty freakin’ close to how he was before.

    What’s changed far more is me and how I respond to him.

    This post makes me think in a concrete, non-“someday” way I should start giving him those 5 minutes a day again. Now. All in the house would benefit from it.

  2. This reminds me of how we gave away your sister’s cat when you arrived. HUGE mistake! That may be the reason you didn’t get along so well …. we were worried she might try to get her cat back with you as collateral damage.

  3. So very sad. People should try to make a much better effort to encourage the dog to love and get along with the baby. The poor dog just needs some attention just like the baby. What is so hard about that? A few strokes on the back, a kind word, and a smile. The poor dog, how confused and sad it is. It would be a lot better for all concerned if the new parents would just calm down and use some sense. And yes I have had many many dogs even when I had new babies. People don’t realize how attached to us that the animal gets. It considers it his/her job to protect us and be close. We should be treating them much better. I could go on but I won’t.

    • Hi Linda! How are you? Good to “see” you again 🙂

      I guess I should have said that they do love the dog, and they will keep him. They are just tired from having a new baby… and I found the interaction to be interesting enough to write about this weekend. Since I don’t have kids I have never experienced this. Their little boy loves the dog and Wrigley is so good with the kids. I really think that when they get older they will be able to run and play with him more.

  4. JT says:

    I guess we did things a little differently, When we had a six pack of kids that’s when we went to the humane society with a fairly new litter of pups. We sat the kids down in a circle and put the furry beasts in the middle and then we watched for a while. Sure enough after a spell it was apparent which puppy picked our family. We enjoyed many years with “Brandy” who at 83 lbs considered herself a lap dog even if no one else did. She was hit by a mini-van out in front on our eighth year together, and though she lived there was a lot of nerve damage. Five years later it was so bad We had to put her down. After that, and taking into account the fact that I am allergic to most animals, we have never replaced her. Those years were good years and I am glad we had the opportunity to have her as part of our family.

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