I could tell my mom was laughing at me when I was texting her about how fast the years with our dogs have gone by. I told her if it goes by this fast with dogs, I can’t imagine what it will be like when our son arrives.

She responded by saying she is going to tell our little guy how I compared him to a dog named Pippin. But just like I told her, these dogs were our babies first.

Sure, they are little furballs who we had to train not to pee and poop all over the house, and while I don’t know quite yet what it’s like to be a mom to a human baby, I’m glad we had our fur babies first.

I’m positive things are incredibly different with human babies, but we learned so much with our pups. From house training to teaching them simple tricks – so far they have only gotten “fetch” and “shake” down, but we are working on “sit” and “stay” – we have been like proud parents, posting pictures on Facebook and sending videos of their crazy antics to our family. I find cute sweaters for them to wear in the winter, and bow ties to wear on their collars for special occasions. They go with us whenever we go away for a weekend, and if we can’t take them with us, we make sure to find family who will take care of them. We’ve had to figure out the best ways to make them feel better when they are sick and when we need to take them to the vet. And I truly miss them when I go an entire day without seeing their happy, sweet faces.

So yes, when I talk about how fast they have grown up and how I miss the days when they were tiny little balls of fluff, it’s because I feel like their mom and they are my babies.

Bringing a human baby into the mix does make me nervous. I’m sure there will be jealously and a lot of curiosity, but I really hope our dogs will love and bond with our human son just the way they have bonded with us. Maybe even more so. Because some of my best memories from my childhood – and I think my hubby would agree – were when our pets were involved. When I went exploring around our house or needed a good cuddle buddy, I always had a go-to pet that was by my side. And I want that for my son.

For Brett and I, the pets we have now are our fur babies, but for Oliver, I want them to be a sibling, a best friend and a constant companion. What’s a childhood without a dog to snuggle with on a Saturday morning, to smother your face in kisses when you have been away too long and to never leave your side no matter what the shenanigan? It’s the childhood we had, and it’s exactly what I hope for our human and fur children’s future.

Ashley Bebensee

Hi! I’m Ashley, a Nebraska girl living in Wyoming. I grew up on a farm in western Nebraska, graduated with a class of 28 and ventured to the middle of the state to attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney. It was there I met the love of my life and husband, Brett. He is the most romantic, kind and intelligent person I know. And he makes me belly-laugh (truly the best kind). We have two cats and two dogs that are spoiled rotten. I am a content manager at a weekly newspaper, where I get to spend my days reading, writing, editing and designing a newspaper. British television shows, wine and caramel apples from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are my guilty pleasure. Shopping with my mom, going to the movies with my husband, long phone conversations with my dad and spoiling my nieces and nephews are just a few of my favorite activities. While I try to plan out all the details of life like the good control freak that I am, God is always throwing in curveballs. And so far, each of those curveballs have given me a bountiful amount of stress and love, adventure and joy, and more blessings than I could have ever imagined.