You see that? Just laying there. Not playing with toys, or the kids. Or you! Bored. Annoyed. Sighing heavily. In and out of consciousness in a matter of fact sort of way. Coming to think of it, you haven’t played fetch in ages!. Or hide and go seek, or Doga, or learned new tricks.
Remember when the dog was new to you? Man! You used to run with the dog, walk with the dog, talk with the dog, shop
with the dog … see? You would cook with the dog, pray with the dog, show off the dog to friends and family. Yep. You were buds….best buds. Do you remember? Why did you adopt a dog anyways? But now, your furry friend is looking back at you and asking what was I adopted for in the first place? Except for the next meal or the next relief, no one is paying attention to me. What is the purpose of me? What is the point in my being here?
I remember the preparation and planning that took place as I considered adopting a dog. First, falling in love on a Sunday afternoon at the gas station. Two terriers barking loudly at their dad. I remarked on their beauty. Their pet parent told me that those were his girls…. Gucci and Prada. And that they loved him more than his wife!
As he filled his gas tank, he asked if I owned a dog. ‘No’, I replied …’but I am thinking of doing so soon.’ He says confidently that it is the best thing he ever did and that I would never regret it. ‘Go on and do it now! Adopt a dog and see if I am right!’, he says. With a big smile and two terriers in his lap, he drove away.
That did it. Now where do I begin? For starters, the public library is great resource for books and magazines on how to adopt a dog. What is the best dog for you?. What is your lifestyle? What sort of work do you do? Are you in good health? Do you enjoy walking and physical exercise? Are you a couch potatoe? How much do you think it costs to own a dog? What about medical expenses for one year … what do you think that would cost? And, what about toys and training? Will you compete formally with your dog? Will you breed your dog? The list went on. Well. That was a cold and snowy day when Gucci, Prada, and their pet dad rolled away. 6 months later I had answered all of these questions and more. I had surveyed my bank account. I had reviewed my schedule. I assessed my health and other stuff. Then I looked around for my pick. According to all of the graphs, charts, and questionnaires a Teacup Pomeranian would do. The books stated we would absolutely love one another other.
Then reality set in. 5000 $$$$ for a pup. Not much less for an older dog. Then there was the news on puppy mills. Sick dog adoptions, cases of abuse, misrepresentation, and false breeders. Hold on, dang it!!!!!
Let me check in with the local animal shelters first. Go see what’s going on in there. I told myself that there are probably lots of great potential family dogs ready for adoption. Right now. Also, I am ready for a new friend and I don’t want any shiesty business.
I struck out at two small animal shelters. And though the Red Mini Doberman Pinscher was not on my list of breeds just right for me, I almost picked him. Sigh. Stay focused. Re-tie your shoestrings girl, and get on down to the county animal shelter.
What an adventure. First of all, there were so many dogs. Heartbreak numero uno! Second of all…. I had to eliminate the boys. Sigh. Next, I discriminated based on size. It’s true. I did. Then …. she saw me from afar. Yelp yelp!! Energy high… I mean her energy was through the roof … and she was nervous. Nervous, she would be passed over yet again. No, not just nervous. Frantic, actually.
Perfect. I jotted down her name and returned to the reception desk to report that I had finished my tour. I inquired about her and one other. I received a stern look and was asked to clarify my intention. Whom, exactly, did I want to see? There was not going to be any touchy feely business up in the shelter. I was not to give anyone false hopes. No m’am. From there, the interview began. Paperwork, I.D., … answering questions. Very pointed questions. After a bit of this I was taken to an interview room where I would meet Sophia. I had to be checked out. I had to be observed. I had to be watched. They weren’t sure of me at first. And I could sense the dog snobbery in the air. If Sophia was getting out of there, it would be for forever. Tentatively, I was given a collar and leash and we (Sophia and I) set out on the approved walking path, park and play areas. 34 minutes later, it was love. And after bit more money and paperwork, we drove off into the sunset.
After a few weeks of walking the dog, indoor and outdoor playtime, and scheduled play dates with great new people I had began socializing with at dog parks and pet stores, I canceled my gym membership. She had become my pal and confidant, my workout partner, running buddy and dinner friend, personal escort and bathroom attendant. This is great. I had grown to hate the gym anyways. The pickup lines were coming in and the weight wasn’t shedding. That guy at the gas station was right. Rescuing Sophia was the best thing I had done. On the other hand, I’d say Sophia rescued me! Not the other way around. I do feel a camaraderie and sense of loyalty that had been lacking in my otherwise NORMAL life. That’s why I adopted. I wanted a friend. And, I mean a good one.
Nowadays, of course we have our tiffs. She gets mad if I look at another dog. I am not allowed to coo and awwwwww at the site of a great haircut on a dog or a cutesy little dog. And there is absolutely no cross petting. She’s not having it.
Well. Our financial ♂️ walk is the labor of love. I’ve mentioned this before. About the cost. The real cost of owning a dog. For some people the cost becomes the reason nobody does anything anymore. Just feed it. Wait and let it out into the yard, or whatever. And back inside. That is boring.
What Can You Do To Rekindle The Flame?
I suggest ..
1. Watching Out For Doggy Likes And Dislikes.
For example, are you petting and caressing their back, or is it more like slapping and patting? Pay attention.
Reach for their head. Do they shrink from your touch? Is petting their head a no go, or is the dog leaning in for more?
2. Communicating Clearly.
Are you yelling? Is your voice shrill? Experiment with pace and tone of voice.
Try new commands to challenge the dog.
Try old commands stated differently.
3. Spending More Time Together.
Make playtime standard, please. Look forward to it! Find one or two daily activities to share with your dog. Use the time to strengthen and rekindle your bond.
4. Being More Playful.
How about grooming and petting frequently? Clean those eyes and brush that coat.
How about playing hide and seek, or trying new music and sounds to get a reaction?
That’s it. Remember why it was you wanted a family dog in the first place, then go back and rediscover how awesome your furry friend is.
What have you learned today?
You should be providing your fur baby with more than enough exercise.
You should ensure that there is a daily routine in place for your dog.
And, play with your pooch frequently to bust up bouts of boredom.
Thanks for stopping by.