Here are my boys in their younger days. They were so energetic that I had to hire a dog jogger to help me wear them out. In the winter I worried that they would get too cold jogging, hence the picture with fleece jackets and reflective ice resistant booties.
I’m not sure what they thought of their get ups but I felt better. They had color coordinating outfits as well as light weight and heavy weight gear.
You’ve probably figured out that I did this for me as much as for them. I refer to them as my furry kids. I know that a pet’s life is not the same as a human’s but the bond I feel with my dogs is similar.
Gunner died 2 years ago (the white dog) and I still get teary thinking about how much he was a part of me. He was my one in a million dog, almost perfect in every way. Bubba (the brown dog) was my ‘project’ dog. He was willful, proud, naughty, sassy and demanding. It wasn’t until he turned 6 years old that the light switch flipped on for him and he decided to listen to me regularly. I never regretted rescuing him because he was soooo friendly and happy and funny. But he was a challenge. I joke that everything I know about behavior and dogs is because of him.
And yet, I’m going to mourn and miss him more than Gunner when he dies. It’s coming. He has a multitude of health issues and I know he’s in his twilight. I’ve been thinking about his life every day and how much deeper my love has grown for him.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved and cared for him, but I’ve been surprised by how much more of my heart he takes up. Physically and mentally he’s deteriorated and so he doesn’t like me to be out of sight. He insists on snuggling in bed as early in the evening as possible. I bring him with me everywhere (work, errands, friends) in part because I can’t bear to be away from him for long. We both have separation anxiety when we’re apart and I’m probably suffering from it more.
I really don’t know if this is healthy or not. I do feel that it is a reflection of who we are as a society. Our pets do play a much larger social role in our lives. I don’t regret loving my dogs or worrying about them as much as I do. I know I’ll be okay when I lose Bubba even though it will hurt unimaginably.
But. It’ll be a while before I rescue another dog. I’ll need time before I love another one again.
I’d be curious to know your thoughts.