Today is Isaac’s birthday. (Happy birthday, Isaac!) Unfortunately, he’s been in class since 8AM, and won’t be home until 10:30PM tonight, as he is running an exam review for a thermodynamics class. Not exactly the way I’d prefer to spend my birthday! (It should be noted that Isaac isn’t really into birthdays.)
This leaves the dogs and I to our own devices. We’ve done a fantastic job of holding down the fort while Isaac is away. I’ve been catching up on blogs and read a few chapters in a good book I picked up over the weekend. The dogs have been sleeping, snuggled on the couch. Though this is not quite what I had pictured for us…
Originally, I planned on enjoying the gorgeous spring day here in Denver and taking everyone for a solo walk. They like the extra time with me, plus it affords them the opportunity to do what they enjoy on walks. Sniffing. But, as I said, it didn’t happen and instead I found myself sitting inside on a beautiful evening reading a book. Which, okay – not a big deal! I’m an adult and I can do what I please, right?
It’s not the same for dogs. If I want to go for a walk, I go for a walk. What about if the dogs want to go for a walk? (Sometimes I wish they could walk themselves. Especially in the winter.) People have the entire world to keep them busy, but a dogs world is all people. Their people. When I come home from work I may want to kick off my shoes and melt into a puddle on the couch. However, Dio, Beatrix, and Coal are overwhelmingly excited and are ready to do All The Things. When I walk through the door I imagine them asking rapid-fire questions:
Where have you been all day? Did you go visit another dog? Did you bring me back anything awesome? Did you go to the pet store? Hey…Did you eat a hamburger without saving some for me?! Why don’t we ever get to go on all day car rides? That’s what you were doing, right? Did you stick your nose out the window? Of course not, you never do…
Hopefully they aren’t actually chiding me for my lunch decisions.
As owners we control our dogs environment. While we’ve been away and kept busy interacting with people, working, or whatever it is we’re doing, the dogs are hanging around the house twiddling their dew claws. Perhaps their sleeping, and I suppose that’s a comforting thought – that they aren’t actively missing us – but most likely they’re bored. They can’t call their friends to chat, or go see what’s happening in the park. So when I walk through the back door and my dogs are OMG!EXCITED I cherish it. Me coming home means all sorts of great stuff is going to happen for them: they get to go outside, I’ll feed them, we’ll play in the back yard after dinner, maybe a walk…unless I have a book I can’t put down, because apparently all my walking intentions go out the window.
Sitting here writing this I feel guilty. On my lunch break today I drove to a nearby park and took a 30 minute stroll. I enjoyed the warm sun and gentle spring breeze and thought “What a great day. The dogs would love to get out tonight!” Sigh. I certainly understand that I need time to relax and unwind, and it’s okay for the dogs not to go for a walk. They’re happy, comfortable, and I’m letting my emotions project onto them. Though, ultimately, my choice to sit and read meant no walkies for the dogs. Do they know this? Of course not.
But I do, and that’s why we’re going on a surprise! car ride to Good Times for a Pawbender treat after I post this. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have human children, because I feel they’d have taken advantage of me pretty well at this point.
What emotions do you project onto your pets? (I realize this is a thing us pet parents do, but I’m feeling a little silly here!)