This is kind of a depressing post, so if you don’t want to hear it, don’t read on. But feel free to check out some other posts of mine…they generally aren’t too depressing.
Yesterday, I took my two dogs out for a walk in the woods. As many of you know, one of the dogs (Sunny) is the mother of the other one (Houdini). I’m very attached to my dogs, particularly Houdini. They are both very good dogs, so much so that I can walk them off leash with hardly any problems. So when I go to the woods with them I let them off the leash to run to their heart’s content.
Usually Houdini doesn’t go out of my sight. She’ll run ahead, but she always turns around to look for me. Not yesterday. And when I whistled to her, she didn’t come rushing to my side like usual. I started walking back towards where I’d last seen her. She wasn’t there. I started calling her, not panicked yet. No response. I was in the middle of the woods and couldn’t decide whether to look to the left or to the right. The view was more open to the left and I didn’t see her there, so I went a little way to the right. I thought she should’ve been able to hear me calling her even if she was at the end of the trail. Still no response. I started to feel panic and my voice started to rise in pitch.
Sunny was following me the whole time and I thought it was so weird that she didn’t seem to know that I was looking for Houdini. She was unphased. Maybe it was ridiculous of me to believe that she would understand what I needed at that moment, but panic makes you think differently.
You would think by my description of this event, that a long time had passed, but probably it was only 5-10 minutes that passed. It felt like an eternity as I thought about if I were to never see my sweet, little puppy again. All I could envision was that she had either wandered into the path of that fox that has been haunting the neighborhood, or that she had wandered into the road and been snatched up by some dog kidnapper. Looking back, I know that neither of those things would be very likely to happen, but like I said, panic makes you think differently. By the time she came back in sight, I was bawling like it was the end of the world. Even after she made her appearance, I could not calm down for quite a while.
I know there are plenty of people out there that can’t relate to the way that pet owners feel about their pets. It’s possible that I was amongst that group before this puppy came along. I’m not sure why that is, but I have my theories.
For one thing, I raised that puppy right from birth…obviously not by myself…but I felt responsible for her. It’s kind of like the difference between babysitting and having your own child. Responsibility to another being binds you to them, don’t you think? The more responsibility you have for them, the stronger the bond you feel for them.
The other reason why I think I am so attached to that puppy is that she has come into my life at a point of transition for me. She is helping me through the transition of my kids becoming independent and (eventually) leaving home. I feel a little guilty putting that burden on her. I didn’t know I was doing that until it was too late. I remember coming to that realization when I was reading the end of a teen parenting book. The author was talking about the transitions that his dogs had helped his family through. He knew.
I don’t know how people cope with their kids leaving home. I’ve been trying really hard to accept it and not burden my kids with the fact that it’s breaking my heart just to think of the impending separation. That’s not fair to them. It’s natural and healthy for them to grow up and leave home and it wouldn’t be right for me to make them feel bad about it. (Luckily, they don’t read my blog enough to run across this post).
So, that’s my little sob story. It kind of sucks that getting it off my chest didn’t even help. But, now it’s out there and I’m sure plenty of you can relate. Thanks for letting me cry on your shoulder.