In many homes, animals feel more like family than they do pets. But when that home grows by one human family member, furry friends often need some time to adjust to the change. Fortunately, there are steps that parents can take to make the adjustment a smooth one. And Deena Cortese's trick for getting her dog ready to meet her newborn baby is just one of the many ways to warm your pet up to a new little sibling.
Cortese and her husband Christopher Buckner welcomed a healthy baby boy Jan. 5. "Our Little Man has finally arrived. Christopher John Buckner (CJ) born January 5th at 4:41 pm at a whopping 20.5 inches..6 Lb 8.5 ounces," she captioned the announcement video posted on Instagram. She went on to explain that the whole family was absolutely enamored with the little guy. But one member of the family had yet to make CJ's acquaintance: her dog, Cali.
Cortese is getting Cali ready to meet her big brother, though. She posted a video to Instagram that showed the little dog cuddled up with CJ's hat. "Cali getting ready to meet her baby brother," she wrote. "Sent grandma home with his hat from today so she gets used to his scent..and she’s sleeping on it. She’s staying at grandmas while mommy, daddy and baby CJ are in the hospital."
Cortese has made her love for Cali pretty clear on social media, and her latest post is right up her alley. I mean, who can forget her post about collecting her dog's baby teeth? Eccentric? Maybe. Adorable? Absolutely.
And when she and Buckner first announced the pregnancy back in July, Cali was featured in the post, according to Entertainment Tonight. The first photo in the gallery-style announcement had a Fourth of July theme and "We're excited to say a little firecracker is on the way," was written on a red, white and blue sign in front of the smiling parents-to-be. Along with that photo, Cortese shared another snap of Cali beside a chalkboard sign with "It's official, I'm getting a new best friend. Guard dog duty starts December 2018," written on it.
Cali's involvement in her mom's pregnancy didn't end at the announcement though. Back in October, Cortese posted a video clip of Cali licking her growing belly.
She wrote, "Cali giving her little brother kisses idk if she just decided to lick my belly because she was bored lol or if she sensed the baby inside .. but still thought it was adorable. I mean they do say animals sense when your [sic] pregnant #furbaby#babyboy."
After nine long months of waiting, Cali is finally getting to meet the baby inside the bump — although I doubt she's going to be licking on CJ's face any time soon. In preparation for the big reunion, Cortese gave Cali some exposure to the baby's scent.
This move is more than just sweet, it's strategic. The American Kennel Club recommends getting dogs used to both the sight and smell of your newborn before bringing the baby home in order to reduce the risk of jealousy on your pup's part. "Acclimate your dog to baby smell, including lotion, powder, etc. Once the baby is born, bring an article of the baby’s clothing or a baby blanket home so the dog can get used to the infant’s scent," the AKC recommends.
Additionally, the AKC recommends playing recordings of the baby crying for the dog, and tapering off the attention that you give him or her a few weeks before the baby arrives. This makes the changes associated with a new baby in the house a little bit less of a shock to your dog.
Cortese's followers wholeheartedly agreed with her decision to let Cali sniff CJ's hat and shared other helpful pieces of advice. "They told me when I came home to make sure hubby is holding baby and you greet the dog," one person shared. "Then let her sniff him out herself."
Another opted to give her dog the full sensory experience. "What I did was carry around a crying baby doll with me while I was pregnant. Then the dogs didn’t care when the baby actually came home," they shared.
It is clear that Cali is an important part of Cortese's family and ensuring that everyone gets along is just one of the many responsibilities she will enjoy as a mom. And after Cali and CJ are BFFs, Cortese's followers can look forward to adorable photos of the two of them together. I'll fist-pump to that.
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.