Riggins has never really been a kid friendly dog. It isn’t his fault. He just never had any children around him when he was growing up. When I moved into my current house I had a housewarming party and one of my good friends brought her adorable baby boy to the party. He sat, like a cute blob, in one of my outdoor folding chairs and Riggins would have none of it. He circled that kid, head down butt up, and growled and growled. I usually say Riggins doesn’t like kids because of their frantic energy or high-pitched squealing (let’s face it both those things bother us too it just isn’t social acceptable to put our butt up in the air and growl at them) or the fact that they are at his height staring right into his eyes and heading straight for him in what he translates into an attack. None of that explains why he growled at my friends baby. That poor kid wasn’t even old enough to talk. He was literally just sitting there barely moving.
You can imagine my concern when my sister had her children. I took time off of work when my nephew was born so I could be with them. After Logan was born I spent two nights in my sister’s house on my own discussing with Riggins that he was not to eat the new baby. I did all those things you read about. Brought a blanked (or something) to have him sniff before meeting Logan, etc. I have to say it was a shock how he reacted. He was cool with the kid. When my niece was born he was cool with her as well. I was shocked. I can only assume he could feel that they were family and more importantly if he did something to hurt one of them he would be up a creek without a paddle!
We have had our ups and downs. Riggins was extremely jealous of any attention the kids got. If there was a baby on your lap you can guarantee Riggins was trying to sneak up on your lap too. He was a master of pushing his nose under the lump of baby and wiggling his way in between the two humans. He still is jealous but as the kids grow it has gotten better. When we are home he can go weeks without wanting to come up on the couch with me and snuggle, preferring to spend his time in front of the open door or curled up in the dark under the dinning room table. Then we get to my sister’s house and he has to prove he is my baby. Most of the time during our visit he can be found draping himself on my lap.
I still have to remind both kids that running = playing. They seem to like being chased by the big black dog at first until they realize the next part of play is a tackle! We were at the local winery by my sister’s house once where both dogs and kids can run free. Logan took off giggling with Riggins in full flight behind him. Dogs are faster than kids so it was only a matter of a few feet before Riggins took the lead and did so by happily pushing Logan down. He was fine. He is short and his fall was on grass and a zillion autumn leaves but he was shocked and the laughter coming from his family did not help one bit!
The most amazing thing is what he allows my niece, Kira, to get away with. They love each other. When she was younger she would walk around the house behind Riggins with her hand on his butt. She is CONSTANTLY wanting to kiss him. Makes me nervous and I always have to remind her not to bother Riggins while he is eating or sleeping. He has allowed her to use him as an ottoman and a blanket and once while camping allowed her to put colorful smiley face stickers all over him. Every once in a while he will look up with a “well what do you want me to do? She’s adorable. We all make sacrifices for family” look on his face.
My family and I still watch the kids like a hawk when they are around Riggins. Like I said before dogs are animals and can lash out at anytime but Riggins has shown a level of patience I never expected from him. He has even gotten better with other kids. Better ….. not great!
I hope you enjoyed your end of the work week fluff piece! Have a great weekend.