Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Until I got a dog, I had no idea what this really meant (Guest post from Cheyenne)

funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures

Not long ago, I got a dog.

I'd been thinking about getting a dog off and on for a while, and always deciding against it. I was living in an apartment, with three cats, and I'd want a good sized dog. And while my apartment was nice, and kind of roomy, it was not big enough to add in another 80 or so pounds of good sized dog.

But life changed. It does that, you know. Rather a lot too. Bit of a nasty habit sometimes. But it changed, and I found myself moving from a kind of roomy apartment to a fair sized house, and switching states while I was at it. Everything old was new again - sure, I'd had the bookcases for years, but not in a long room that's bright yellow. I was no longer an apartment dweller - I had moved on, to become a home owner. True, I would be responsible for my own upkeep and repairs, but if I want to paint the walls, I can paint the walls. I can paint them black if I want to. Or orange. Bright orange. And then go over them with paint the color of raspberry sherbet on a textured sponge.

Which might sound weird, but my sister actually did that in her room at Mom's, and it doesn't look that bad.

But it was my home, and thus my rules, and I had been wanting a dog - so when the opportunity arose, I picked up a puppy from one of my neighbors. Suddenly, I was not only a home owner, I was a dog owner.

Moreover, I was part of a pack.

The Editor has three dogs, and I've heard her talk about separation anxiety before - but it's not quite the same. Cats can watch you come and go all day long, and they generally only get concerned if you're feeling particularly bad or if the food bowl is empty - at least my three cats only get concerned at such times. Dogs, though, want to make sure that everything is all right. They want their pack to be safe and stable, regardless of how big or small it is. If my dog - Jake - can't find me, he comes looking for me. I've left him in a good sleep, snoring good and hard, in one room and gone to get a book or some water or to put something away, and within five minutes, he's up and on his feet, almost asleep, following along to see what I'm doing. When I have to leave the house, he sits near the door waiting for me to invite him along right up to the last minute. He'll hop up on the couch to watch me head to the car. And when I come back, if he's not on the couch napping - waiting on me to come back home - he's usually running up from another room, tail wagging so hard his butt moves and tongue flapping right along with it. Doesn't matter if I'd been gone for a couple hours or if I walked to the mailbox. Simply by coming back, I have made everything right with Jake's world.

And I'm noticing the same things happening to me too. When I sit down at the computer for any extended length of time, I glance one way or another every few minutes to see where Jake is. If I hear him walking across the linoleum in the kitchen, I look to see where he's going. If I realize that it's been a while since I've seen him, I go looking for him. If Jake isn't there when I come through the door, I go looking for him. The groceries will be fine - where's the rest of my pack?

I love having Jake around. The cats can take care of themselves pretty much - I'm only important because I have thumbs and can refill the food and water. Jake can get along without me well enough, but he's a bundle of happy when I'm around. Doesn't matter if I'm not feeling great or if I'm busy. We're a pack, Jake and I, and that makes him happy as all get out.

It does wonders for me too, if you were curious. Right now, he's asleep behind the printer stand, snoring lightly. And having my pack close by, should I need him - for any reason or none at all - makes me happy too.

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