I’m constantly asked about Emma’s relationship with Noodle.
To give you some background, Mitch and I got Noodle shortly after we moved here. I’ll admit it: it was a bribe, and I took it. Mitch wanted to go back to Chicago; I wanted a dog — aaaaand here we are. In Chicago, with a dog.
Okay, I might be simplifying the reason behind our move a bit too much. ;) But getting a dog seemed like a natural thing to do given our situation at the time. We didn’t have children yet, we didn’t know very many people out in the Windy City, and I was going to be working from home all by my lonesome. So along came Noodle, our sweet little Miniature Dachshund, from a newspaper advertisement that my mother-in-law spotted.
I should mention here that we LOVE Noodle. We seriously do. As much as we joke about how crazy she is, she’s absolutely hilarious, she’s the best cuddler, she’s the most loyal dog you’ll ever meet, and she’s amazingly loving. She can also do some astonishing tricks! (Roll over, gimme 10, bang bang you’re dead, pound it, go sit on the pillow… the list goes on and on.) That said, Noodle comes with her fair share of quirks.
For example, when the doorbell rings or someone knocks on the door, she will bark for 20 minutes straight. No matter what. She’s also terrified of men, plastic bags, plates, and anything that she sees blowing in the wind. She’s been known to hump blonde guests (idk?); she needs constant attention; it takes her over an hour to calm down when someone new visits the house; and she’s stubborn and defiant, like almost every dachshund is.
We’d hoped that things would go well when we introduced a new baby to the Larkin Household. Not surprisingly, they didn’t. Noodle never did anything malicious, but she made our lives very difficult in our first few months of parenthood. She woke the baby up with her barking on the reg, and we were perpetually terrified that she would accidentally hurt Emma while playing as she lacked the slightest bit of self awareness. Also, she understandably, became even needier. In addition, She didn’t act out in jealousy toward Emma, but she craved attention… and when she didn’t get it, she’d destroy things Marley-style. (Or, my fave: pee all over the place right after coming in from a walk. Classic dachshund.)
We put a LOT of effort into correcting the problems. Also, we tried different training methods, new discipline techniques, new products, taking her on runs, bringing her to doggy daycare, spending more time with her–anything that came suggested or that we read about, we tried. (We even installed a doorbell that would vary its sounds! Worked the first couple of times, but then Noodle figured it out and started barking again.) Eventually, though, things escalated to the point that caring for our dog was more challenging and time-consuming than caring for our little girl… and we found ourselves wondering whether we were being fair. Fair to Emma, fair to Noodle, and fair to ourselves.
My in-laws, aware of our distress, offered to take Noodle for us for a few weeks so we could have a break and figure things out. Over that time, I cried a lot. (Heck, Mitch even teared up!) Life was so much nicer, though, and we were actually enjoying our time with our baby. But I missed Noodle. And I was scared that I knew what needed to happen for the sake of our family, and for everyone’s happiness.
But when Noodle returned to Chicago, something changed. My friends joked that she knew what was going on and therefore was on her best behavior, but it kind of seemed like that was the case, haha. Of course, she wasn’t a completely different dog, but she was different. Knowing how kind my in-laws are, they could have devoted several weeks creating a little dachshund boot camp. ;) Or maybe we all realized just how much we wanted to make it work. Or maybe Noodle was less of a spaz because she wasn’t feeling well or something. I don’t know. But things got better, and Mitch and I decided that we couldn’t let her go. (Especially since Emma had started sitting up on her own! So much safer.)
As time went on and Emma got older, the two began to bond. Wherever Emma went, Noodle went. (Undoubtedly because Emma shared her food with her, but I’ll take it.) When Emma laid out on her activity mat, Noodle was right there next to her, peering up at the colorful toys overhead. And when Emma watched Sesame Street, Noodle watched right along with her.
These days, the first thing that Emma says when she wakes up is “BEALE!!!” (By the way: Emma has renamed the dog “Beale,” and we have no idea where this came from.) They go on walks together. They visit the park together. They read books together. They eat breakfast together. It’s honestly something out of a children’s book. The love they have for each other is adorable. (I mean, just look at this!)
Yes, Noodle can still be super annoying, haha, and we’re constantly working with her to correct behavioral problems. A huge thanks goes out to FedEx, UPS, the USPS, our friends, and all our neighbors who now almost never knock or ring our doorbell but instead text us or just place packages behind the fence. 😂 And the biggest thanks goes out to my in-laws, who always offer to take her when we’re traveling or need some help.
At the end of the day, though, Noodle is a dachshund, and I think that many of her quirks are here to stay. We’ve all adapted pretty well, and Noodle is such a big part of our family. We can’t imagine things without her!
What’s your experience with pets? Have you ever had one that tested your family? Or did Marley-like things? 🙈
Let me know! First things that come to mind about my childhood pets are when our labrador ate a hole through our living room into our garage, when he somehow managed to get a container of hot chocolate mix open and then rolled around the living room in it, and when he ate the Thanksgiving turkey and my birth certificate off the kitchen table. (Two separate incidents, haha.)