Having a pet can bring so much to our lives for all the reasons you may have already ticked off in your mind-unconditional love, companionship, affection, joy. Oh… and they never get mad at you. NEVER. On the other hand, they can be as stubborn as the most stubborn mule. Or as sneaky as the sneakiest preschooler. Which in turn can make you rather frustrated with them. Take for example today-
I had to drive into the big city (remember my big city is 20,000). It takes me thirty minutes or so to get there (see my post “Small Town” if you’re curious about this).
And, as is my habit, I took Sunni (my dog) with me; not just because I was going to be gone longer than four hours but because I know she really loves the car ride. I mean-the entire 20 mile drive along highway 101 this morning, she was hanging over the back seat of my SUV. Her back legs were standing tall, front paws stretched over and hugging the top of the seat in between the headrests. Her head was bent as far forward as possible and hunched to avoid hitting the headliner as her eyes darted left and right out every window, looking for clues. Clues would be any solid green patches along the way. Clues that tell her – I’m going to play! When spotted, she pants heavily with drool thicker than honey only not as tasty.
I’m quick to notice and egg her on as I try to get her attention by looking in the rear view mirror, “How ya’ doin’ babe?” Her tail is sweeping faster than my windshield wipers in a downpour and I know she is thinking that any moment we will be turning in front of the dog park entrance and she will be in smell heaven.
Instead, I have to go from errand to errand with a couple of appointments in between. That translates to disappointment with a big D. Have you ever seen that look in your dogs eyes? It’s as real as the word-‘hangdog.’ Do they do that on purpose? Do you think dogs scheme? Before today…I really imagined Sunni was perfect. That’s my idealistic thinking again. Whatever…
Every single time I come back to the car my brain is telling me that she is disappointed… again. So, every single time I come back to the car, I give her a cookie or cracker…or whatever I’ve got that will tide her over until I can get her to the park. Honestly, sometimes I’ve forgotten to put treats in the car and out of desperation I drove through the gas station for a gallon of gas just so my dog could get a dog biscuit. Yup…Most all of the gas stations keep a ready supply of dog biscuits on hand here in rural Oregon. A cynic would say they do it for the business but honestly-up here it’s dog country. Nine out of ten vehicles have tongue-waggers riding around in them. So, besides filling your tank with gas and washing your windshield, your gas station attendants job is to spoil your dog. (It’s really a very nice gesture -isn’t it?)
So, I’ve been in this habit for a year or more now…because that’s how long I’ve been here. And, I’m usually loaded with treats. They’re hidden in my pockets-in the glove compartment-in a bag from the store-IN MY PURSE!
Soon after the first appointment this morning, I dutifully let Sunni out to go potty and to her dismay, I immediately make her get back in the car so that I am not late to the next stop. GUILT TRIP! I immediately reach into my bag and give her a cookie. Next errand. It’s a quick stop but I give her a cookie anyway (well…part of one), and it’s on to the second appointment. This time I grabbed my wallet and phone and left my bag. I was sure to hide it under my coat thinking it was safe. Do I really have to write the next sentence? Oh, I know…. It’s all my fault.
There she was-caught in the act! She had jumped into the driver’s seat, scrounged through my coat, my bag, her baggie (which I so uncleverly hid under the driver’s seat. Oh, if I could only blame her! Or the gas station attendants. I may accept responsibility for this rebellious, sneaky child-But as of now…I’m changing her name to Miss Piggy. Or I should call her the…Cookie Monster. She’s a little of both.