I live with 4 dogs who I enjoy the company of, care greatly about and wouldn’t trade for the world. I like to think that they feel the same about me. But lately, as friends get sturdy puppies who are growing up to be confident and handsome dogs, I find myself feeling nostalgic about dogs from my past. And dreaming of dogs in my future.
Before this current group of dogs I could grab a map of local hiking trails, load up a backpack, get the dogs in the car, and head off for the day. There were no worries about what I’d do were we to run into children, men with hats, beards, and walking sticks, or other dogs. Don’t get me wrong, those dogs had their share of challenges. They barked too much at cars driving by the house, rolled in stinky, dead things, one could locate discarded baby diapers from 1/2 mile, and they stole their share of sandwiches from picnicking toddlers. But at the end of the day I could stop and visit a friend, the dogs either joining me inside or waiting contentedly in the car until I returned. Those were the days.
Now I live with dogs who require constant thought and planning. Annie barks a lot, likes to ride in the car but never settles if I leave her in it. She’s not destructive but I feel guilty returning after an hour shopping trip and finding her, front feet on the dashboard, in the same position I left her, watching for me. Nibbles is terrified riding in the car and the last time I left him for any amount of time, he vomited all over our suitcases. At home he’s always on alert, waiting for someone to jog, bike or drive by so he can charge and bark. There have been improvements in this behavior, but nothing is ever not a big deal to Nibs. Sunny can’t join the big, wide world except in very small and controlled doses. Thank goodness he’s ok in the car and doesn’t seem to mind having to wait in it when I’m gone. And then there’s Finn my border collie–my most normal dog is a border collie, if that gives you perspective.
I’m not complaining. I know that one day, all too soon, I’ll be missing those faces.