It’s a dog’s world
Paul E. Anna
To those who don’t love dogs, my devotion to my dog may seem positively insane.
He basically rules every aspect of my life. Just about every decision I make, every trip I take, every meal I eat and, yes, every word I write, is somehow based around the day-to-day schedule of my large, aging black lab.
I have had this dog since he was a pup. Now at age 12 he is graying a bit, slowing a bit and sleeping a lot more. Still, it takes effort to make sure that his daily routines are taken care of and that he is content in his existence.
From dawn, when he first extends his long legs, opens his eyes and sneezes — yes, in that order, precisely every morning in tune to the sunrise — to his evening constitution when he takes his final walk then heads up the long line of stairs to his (actually, our) bed, his day is the same. Rise, eat, walk, sleep, eat, walk, snack, bed.
There is little variance in the pattern other than when he may spy a deer or a horse or a FedEx truck in the vicinity of our, no his, mountain lair. Then he will open up with a ferociously friendly bark, no doubt hoping to get the intruder’s attention in case a treat might be his for the taking.
Walks with the dog take on the same sort of order. He used to be a runner, one who would take off for hours before returning with burrs on his ears, a wild look in his eyes and a mighty thirst that was seemingly unslakable. But now it is all about the smells. As we head out on our quarter-mile loop he stops incessantly, usually at the exact same places, inhaling deeply the exact same smells. There could be a spot where a coyote marked the sage a decade ago and he still has to make sure that he gets the whiff once more and then marks the spot himself once again. For the 1,000th time.
Yes, there is an order to his existence that I find comforting. He is not distracted by the things that shake up my day or week, as long as he can continue doing the things that he wants to do. Especially the eating part.
But that may be why we love our animals so much. They don’t change. They provide a regular routine. They set the tone and the vibe for our day-to-day lives. I only know that when I am away, or I have taken the pup to his home away from home, that I feel lost. Somehow out of order.
I’m sure those who don’t have dogs don’t get it. For those of you who do, I hope this somehow resonates.
If it does, break up the mundane. Give your dog a treat.
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In this week’s Writing Switch column, Ben and Sean throw out some basketball-related hypotheticals involving things everyone can appreciate: booze, gambling and partying like an A-lister.