For those of us who are used to living with dogs as a regular part of our daily routine, I think we often take for granted how lucky we are to have them as a part of our daily routine. At least I can say that I am guilty of it.
After an exhausting day, (or night) at work, my first sight at opening my front door is two blurs of canine shapes wiggling their entire bodies in sheer delight that I am home. One farily quiet and the other crowing at the top of her Pit Bull lungs, they dance around like my repetitive arrival is the most joyous experience. The Min Pin chimes in with the exasperated yipping, (which sounds like "reek "reek") and frolicks about.
My training side says to ignore them, my headache says for the love of dog, stop crowing so loudly, and my tired legs are noodling from the thrashing happy tail syndrome. All I want to do is relax for a few moments and all they want to do is get a few moments of attention from me. It's as if they had been anticipating my home-coming every second of the day and are about to burst.
Sitting on the couch, Boada, my male Pit Bull, can't quite reach my face and in an effort to impress me with his French skills, he steps on my feet with his small, but heavy paws and claws. Not impressed by the tongue technique I jerk up in response and fuss at him for stepping on me. He pouts like a 3 year old. Actually pouts.
Then there is feeding time. I just have to walk by the dog food cabinet and the drool spicket from Ophellia's never-ending faucet of slobber begins. I feed as quickly as possible for minimum clean up. As she inhales every chunk without chewing I ask her what her teeth are even in her head for if she's not going to use them. Then I look at her like I expect an intelligent answer or a different result at the next feeding.
I often go about the dialy routine without stopping to remember my dogs are dogs, not people. I love them like I love people, but often forget that my exhuberant furballs don't understand headaches, or Mommy can't throw the ball because she's late, or your breath smells like the salmon oil I just poured on your food so no, I don't want one in the kisser.
Then the guilt sets in. Often I spend so much more time with other people's dogs that mine get the short end of the stick, when they should come first. Someone once told me that if you don't have time to put your hands on all of your own dogs at least once a day, you aren't giving them the attention that a good owner would.
Being that I know my dogs would put themselves between harms way and my children in a heartbeat, or alert me to dangerous situations, I have a lot to be thankful for in having them. Aside from our safety, they really are just ridiculously pleasant to be around. Who else in your life greets you quite as excitedly as your dog. Who doesn't mind the way you smell when you need a shower, or wants to kiss you even though you haven't brushed your teeth yet. I garuntee your spouse will give you that look if you pass gas in front of them, but not your dog.
We remind ourselves daily to live in the moment. Our canine companions could not be better teachers of that very philosohpy. They are quick to forgive, quick to love and always loyal. The lessons are immeasurable.
So... stressed and tired; out the door with you, and, as much as I hate Salmon, bring on the kisses. Our years together are numbered and I want to enjoy every moment. Maybe not the "you left me at home all day so I chewed up your favorite pair of shoes" moments, but then again...they're just shoes.
I work on fun activities to enrich the lives of my children, now it's time to play tug of war more and get a little muddy to enrich the lives of my dogs as well. Maybe I'll learn a thing or two along the way.