A woman I work with recently went on a trip, and asked me if I could watch her dog while she was gone. The dog comes to the office with her so it wasn’t a total stretch to ask me to dog sit for a few days. Still, you have to seriously question anyone who feels comfortable leaving their pet, child or elderly relative in my care.
We had a great time while she stayed with us. We did all of the typical things I expected: we went for walks, did doodie duty, fed her, and let her wake us up at an ungodly hour on the weekend. What I didn’t expect was that her brief stay with us would be peppered with wisdom only a dog could dispense.
Don’t hold grudges.
During the time the dog was with us I scolded her for barking at our neighbors, and for her attempt at earning her Peeping Tom certification when she snuck up on me while I was showering. I was amazed at how she always quickly forgave my harsh, dictator ways. If I wanted to go for a walk, she was ready and willing. If I called her name for some belly rubbing, she came to me without hesitation. Dogs don’t freeze you out for periods of time because they don’t see the point of it. They won’t let a little disagreement come between them and future games of fetch.
Always be excited to see the ones you love.
I’m not kidding when I say this dog was more excited to see me after five minutes of separation than some of my friends are after not seeing me for five months. The look on her face when I’d leave and come back always said, “OHMIGODOHMIGODOHMIGODOHMIGOD!” When someone leaves us we’re never guaranteed to see them again, and dogs don’t forget that the way people do.
If you don’t like someone, you don’t have to pretend to.
Growing up we’re taught to smile in a person’s face even though we intend to plot their demise the moment they leave the room. Dogs don’t understand this concept, and will let you know (in the form of barking, growling, or humping your leg at the most inopportune times) that they hate your face. I’d love it if someone who didn’t care for me would just boldly say, “Jen, you suck. Not just a little, but large, sweaty donkey ball suckage.” You always know if a dog loathes you because they make it clear that they’d gnaw on your jugular if given the opportunity.
Relax a little.
Pets don’t have full-time jobs, they don’t have bills to pay, and they don’t have the stress of family/friend/relationship drama. This means they don’t have anything getting in the way of serious relaxation. They know the value of a good nap in the sun, or stopping and smelling the roses. I’m convinced that if they had the ability, they’d light a cigar and have a scotch the moment they got home.
Don’t worry about what you look like.
Being a dog is kind of tough because you get very little privacy in all of life’s most precious moments: going to the bathroom, taking a bath, or licking of the private parts. Most of us are too afraid to dance in front of strangers, or laugh uproariously in a restaurant for fear of what others might think. Dogs realize life is too short to be bashful, and will plunge their noses in other dogs’ butts even if there are onlookers.
Parting is such sweet sorry. After I dropped her off, I felt a little emptiness inside. Memories of our time together flooded over me: her furry little face in the morning, her horrible doggie breath after taking a nap, and the way she would jump from the back of the car to the front so quickly that I’d nearly drive off the road. Still, I knew I had to give her back. Not only is she someone else’s lifelong companion, but I could have sworn I saw her eyeing my jugular.