Big Brother is Watching

Written by: Eric Weissleder

Abby and Logan

Logan keeps close to baby Abby.

photo courtesy Eric Weissleder

It never ceases to amaze me how intuitive my dog can be. Now, I’m not going to get all “he thinks he’s people” on you because I am fully aware he’s a dog. But I must admit, I get an extreme sense of satisfaction watching him interact with the littler people in my house. By littler, I’m referring to my two-and-a-half-year-old son Joshua, and our recent addition, baby daughter Abigail.

As I’ve said before, Logan’s great around kids. As a Labrador mix, this quality has been pretty much bred into him. Still, I always keep an eye on things when kids and dog are playing together. After all, he is a dog. Dogs can have bad days. They can have moments of “poor judgment.” We’ve all read the tragic stories of children being attacked by the family dog, the dog they thought they knew so well. As a father and a dog owner, I am constantly aware of this potential danger. Logan’s never uttered even an angry growl in my direction, save for the one time I tried brushing his teeth. Perhaps it was the prickly bristles of the toothbrush or the chicken-flavored toothpaste, but he simply didn’t like it. I don’t blame him but I also don’t understand it; I find the chicken-flavored toothpaste to be quite tasty. My wife disagrees.

When we brought Abigail home this past August, I didn’t hesitate to introduce her to Logan right away. I wasn’t three feet out of the car when he ran up to investigate. I put the car seat down on the porch so he could see her. He brought his big, black wet nose to within a whisker of her tiny little pink nose, took one little sniff, and then bounded off straight towards the trees in search of who knows what.

That evening, as soon as Abby started crying, Logan’s protective instinct kicked in the same way it had when Joshua was an infant. His ears perked up and he came over to alert me that the new kid needed something. I had to smile. I looked at this dog and thought: “I can’t get him to sit still for 10 seconds, he rolls in deer droppings, pees on my freshly-washed car, and occasionally eats his own vomit, yet when he hears this little helpless human creature cry out, he’s there to let us know.” It’s really something.

Logan got right back into his “Mr. Responsibility” role over the next few days; laying at my wife’s feet, sometimes under her feet, in some cases, curled up in a ball at her bedside, crammed between the nightstand and the bassinet, causing my wife to step on him in the middle of the night when she would get up to nurse Abby. Yet Logan doesn’t seem to mind. Like everything else he does, he meets this responsibility head-on, completing the job with enthusiasm to the best of his ability. That’s just his nature. He’s a true big brother.

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