Our daughter is two years old now. Two years since Lupo was no longer our baby. Two years of slower walks for little legs. And two years adapting to the whole family calling you Bupo, a name given by the baby who can’t pronounce L’s yet. We couldn’t help it, it just stuck.
I couldn’t wait for her to learn to say Lupo’s name, but that crucial L just did not come. As with a lot of things with kids, change can happen over night. One day recently she just said, clear as day, “Lupo!” and so the stage in our lives with a baby and a Dobermann came to an end. Replaced quickly with a toddler and the increased noise levels that come with that.
She will now repeat, sometimes embarrassing, phrases relating to the dog.
“Lupo get inside!”
There is a constant commentary about what Lupo is up to or what he is in the way of. Licking, scratching, sleeping or if he’s just “being funny”. The latter is reserved for when he is rolling about on the rug.
I’ve noticed now she is a proper little person, Lupo greets her when we come home with just as much enthusiasm as he does for me. She’ll go rushing to the baby gate that’s holding him in and I’ll hear him let out his unique whine/high-pitched noises to welcome us, with a toy in his mouth as a gift.
His favourite part of living with a toddler? Hands down it’s got to be the chasing games. Whether it’s racing from one end of the living room to another, or a game of tag, Lupo is really gentle and has learnt (through a few commands from me to help) on where to draw the line and where not to poke his long nose too hard.
I don’t want to paint Dobermanns as the perfect family dog. Mine certainly isn’t as biddable as a Golden Retriever. As let’s be honest, they are huge, they are excitable, their guarding nature means they bark very loudly and all that isn’t the best recipe for harmonious family life. But what family is harmonious all the time anyway? Why not have a dog that you love, just because? Lupo is our perfect family dog as he is just that, our family dog. We’ve learnt his limits and taught our daughter to respect him. There are times he just doesn’t want to be leaned on by an overly affectionate toddler, and that’s ok.
But there are all those other times. The times when he’ll lie still, humouring the pretend nurse who’s lovingly covering him in blankets. I hope Bupo sticks around a little longer.