Still, having Tucker definitely helped prepare us for a lot of the broader changes that come once babies of the two-legged variety arrive. Training, patience, discipline, working your schedule around someone who depends on you to be there for them. All of these things are readily obvious, but they're also things you can't fully appreciate until it becomes a part of your daily life.
There's other great dividends as well that people don't seem to talk about enough. With a dog, you never have to worry about the constant messes kids make in the kitchen. Dropped food is instantly slurped up by your very own four-legged janitorial staff. Your child has an instant playmate and real-life teddy bear. And (if you have a dog with protective instincts) you have an extra set of eyes watching out for the child.
The only bad thing is that once a baby arrives, it's inevitable that the time you previously had to focus on the dog has to be shared to focus on the baby. It's a shame as they give so much, yet ask for so little. I try my best to give Tucker a lot of time each day, but some days are better than others. Today has been a good one though. As I sit here typing this on my laptop from the couch, Tucker's head is resting on my stomach, his body firmly tucked (no pun intended) under my right arm. And we'll probably end the night just like we end most nights, curled up on the couch watching TV as we start to drift off to sleep. Always a great way to end the day.