“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.”
— Thom Jones
Recently our princess baby girl was sick. I handled it like any rational adult would. I freaked out, worried, snuggled her incessantly and went to the vet — twice.
Nova is a 5-year-old terrier rescued from St. Thomas between hurricanes in 2017. I mention this background to set the tone for why she is so deeply spoiled. She went through a lot to get to us. Her journey was natural disasters (plural), planes, automobiles, foster care and us.
I’ve decided all her days since should be secure and happy. She was on board with this plan from day one — hence her princess status. She’s probably actually queen, but we are trying to keep her humble.
It should be noted that Nova moved into a house where dogs were not permitted on the furniture. They also absolutely did not sleep in human beds. It took her less than six hours with us to change that. That should tell you all you need to know about our Nova.
Jackson was rescued the same day from a completely different place. We had put out feelers for adoption in multiple areas knowing how difficult adoption can be. What followed was a tense waiting game — you say “stalking,” I say “showing intense interest.”
As the good Lord and some luck would have it, both came through on the same day. We jumped on the opportunities, and I have never been happier with an impulsive decision. Jackson is 10 pounds of caramel-colored curls and love. He worships me, and that is heady stuff.
All of this to say that I swore for my whole adult life I really wasn’t a person to go nuts for dogs. I liked dogs but I wasn’t a “crazy dog person.”
Turns out I was wrong.
What gives me a sense of power?
- Calling my dogs names and they come?
It’s the third one. Definitely.
Both dogs come when called — most of the time. To be fair, they may sometimes be slow to answer because I have called them by one of the children’s names and not their own name at all.
Yes, on too many occasions to be merely an accident, I have referred to our dog by BoyWonder’s name and vice versa. I say the kid should be flattered.
During the pandemic, many found pets to be the ultimate solace. Dogs can stave off loneliness, reduce stress and anxiety, and they can keep us healthier if only because we are generally forced to step outside a few times a day.
I make no excuses for the comfort these dogs provide. They serve as child replacements. As we empty the nest (intermittently anyway), I find that the pitter-patter of little paws is what keeps me sane — and less smothery of their human counterparts.
Caring for the dogs — scheduling meals, baths, walks and strapping them into their harnesses and adorable outfits (yes I am that person) — has replaced the two decades care and feeding of human children.
Our dogs have a dedicated daily snack time. This fact caused GirlWonder to poke fun at me. I don’t understand what is so funny about this? I have snack time. Why shouldn’t they?
I further know they can mark the passage of time because woe to me if I miss the proper time for said snack. On that note, I need only say “want to go night night?” and two furry bundles of snuggle race to the master bedroom to be tucked in. It’s not reading Goodnight Moon three times in a row and singing lullabies, but I’ll take it.
It should be noted that I do not believe in using “baby talk” for humans but I am fervently a fan of it for animals. I tried not to do that with our children.
The difference being that Jack, our Shih Tzu, is never going to have to live on his own, vote or ace a job interview. He’s like 35 in dog years and still lives with his parents.
Recently the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled What Do Dogs Really Think? Pet Psychics Are Standing By. The gist? That there are a variety of humans now selling their services as psychic translators to dogs.
Look, I am not here to malign anyone’s talent. Nonetheless, I don’t need a psychic to tell me what my dogs think. They think they own us — and they are correct.
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