Tui the Wonder Dog, usually one of my biggest fans, has become even more devoted to me since I became pregnant. Mum and I were talking about it on the phone last night and theorised that pregnant women might give off the scent of pregnancy hormonal goodness that their dogs can sense. Apparently our cock-eyed theories could be right:
At the moment of conception, a woman’s body starts to produce more estrogen and progesterone and to undergo other metabolic changes that will ensure the safe nesting place for the baby growing within her. The dog, since it too is capable of reproducing, may recognize the odors of these hormonal changes and understand that his/her human is going to have a baby.
Tui has become very interested in where I am at all times, and if I’m on the sofa she’s even more keen than usual to ensure that she’s glued to my side. It’s very cute. I’ve also noticed her lying with one ‘arm’ across my midriff, as if she’s giving me a cuddle. Or she rests her head on my tummy. Has she developed a strange fascination with my stomach? Apparently it’s not unheard-of:
Just how your dog will react to your pregnancy will vary according to your pet. Many women report that their once husband-loving pet has now abandoned that man for her and her pregnant belly. Often becoming more clingy and protective, dogs have been known to stay directly beside mom’s side, even waiting outside the shut bathroom door or next to the tub while you bathe and sleeping beside your bed every night, for the full nine months.
Other dogs may be more vocal in their protection, barking or growling at anyone who approaches the pregnant woman, sometimes even physically blocking people from the mom-to-be. And if your dog starts to take more notice of your belly, nosing it, smelling it or even trying to sit on it, don’t be surprised. She knows that’s where the change is.
Luckily she’s not trying to prevent anybody (Tristan) from coming near me – although she’s long been a fan of breaking up any cuddles she sees going on by leaping onto the sofa and trying to insert herself between the two of us. Attention seeker much?
She’s a cross between two very child-friendly breeds (labrador and English springer spaniel), and she’s got the most sweet and gentle temperament, so we know that she’ll be great when the baby comes along. I’ve started telling her that she’s going to be a Big Sister Dog, which usually causes her to prick up her ears.
Of course, this week her devotion to me could also be related to The Hunger and the fact that I’m a reliable source of food…