Recently, my parents added a dog sibling to my family and that little Chiweenie has effortlessly pushed aside my sister and me to become my folks’ favorite offspring.
When I was born, I was supposed to be a junior, named after my father. That plan went out the window when the doctor exclaimed, “It’s a girl!” A year and a half later, my dad got another shot at a namesake. Once again, my sister foiled the plan by being female. To help take the sting out of an all-female brood, my little sis shares my dad’s middle name. Knowing this, it makes perfect sense that the dog that kicked us off our parents’ pedestal is named Junior. My dad named him. It wasn’t up for discussion.
Our family had dogs growing up. When I was born, I took priority over Whiskers, a Dachshund mix who had happily lived with her mom and dad in bliss until baby Wendy interrupted that fantasy. Obviously, this is karma paying me back for that.
As my sister and I grew up, we had a family dog, Rambo, who spent most of his time out in the backyard being a dog. We adored him but he was our dog, not our brother.
As adults, both my sister and I have dogs who are treated as parts of the family and my parents took on the role of “dog grandparents” with enthusiasm. My dog, Riggins, has spent quality time with my folks when I had to travel for work. He has them wrapped around his paw, even managing to kick my mom out of her own bed, so he can sleep comfortably with my dad in the master bedroom. When I drop off Riggins for a sleepover my mom will exclaim, “I guess I have to go make the guest bedroom!” That’s where she’ll be spending the night!
I suppose it is partially my sister’s and my own fault that our new fuzzy brother has taken over. We treat our own pups like members of the family, so why shouldn’t my folks do the same? These two retired adults have thrown themselves into being pet parents again will enthusiasm and gusto.
My dad, who had to be persuaded — almost strong armed — into getting a dog in the first place, gets all gushy and mushy around his four-legged son. Junior will nap on his dad’s lap while he plays Sudoku for hours or he will curl up next to his mom on the sofa while she works on a sewing project. That little bundle of fur has a good life.
As the holidays get closer, my mom is already planning out their holiday card, making sure their outfits match Junior’s. She has suggested that her grandchildren may be a part of the picture, but my sister and I are out. The little fuzzball already had a Halloween photoshoot frolicking amongst the pumpkins.
Junior gets to go camping with my folks and, even though he has only been part of the family for a couple of months, he’s already had adventures in his personal camper carrier that my dad got for him. When I join in on a camping trip, my pup and I squish into a two-man tent. Meanwhile, my dog sibling gets the luxury of an entire motorhome.
My dog brother is no dummy. He’s playing the long game. Junior is very cautious around me — he’s obviously aware that I’m the eldest and therefore should be the most important. He’s started to warm up, but he still runs to hide under our mom’s legs if I move too fast. I’ve been through this when my sister and I were little. I don’t need another little snitch running to mom and dad to tell on me.
I suppose I get it now. All this and the kid is cute. He has the softest coat you’ve ever felt, and his blue eyes adds to his adorableness. I suppose now that my sister and I are adults, we can share the love of our parents with our dog sibling — if we must!
Tell us: I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has had a fuzzy dog sibling become the family favorite. Do you have a dog sibling who’s the family favorite? What do you think about dogs as family members? Tell us your stories in the comments below.
Thumbnail: Photography courtesy Wendy Newell.
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