Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

What Would I Do for My Dogs?

His name is Charley and, as long as I don’t hand him to overzealous groomers to have his personality shaved away, he’s fully as present as he looks in this pic. As he walks, from behind he looks like a toddler in a snowsuit. When he climbs into my lap and cuddles against my chest, I might give him the keys to my almost-new car.

Our second dog is Ralfie, a mixed breed as Charley is. Look into his eyes and you can see his sensitivity. He understands on a level that often astounds me. They say empaths feel the emotions of others, so they avoid over stimulation. That’s Ralfie. He’ll bound (we sometimes wonder if he might have gazelle blood) around you as you arrive, thrilled to have a visitor. But don’t take it personally if he won’t come to you. He’s fussy about who touches him and when. I also suspect someone at doggie daycare might once have been too rough as she clipped his toenails. Ralfie remembers. Dogs can practice selective forgiveness.     

Social media are rife with images of animals being cute, doing cute things, suffering terrible deprivations, choosing odd friends, etc. Animal lovers are passionate. When I had to leave our dogs in doggie daycare for a week during a recent vacation, I was awash in guilt. They who have never let me down had to spend seven days in prison. That was my view. Our doggie daycare isn’t meant to be punishment. Our dogs shared a cell, had separate beds (with blankets, toys, and food from home), and were allowed playtime in a fenced yard with other dogs. They weren’t especially impressed by their relative good fortune.

I didn’t dare let ranch sitters care for them. The sitters might not fully comprehend how hazardous roaming around on the property is for a small, fuzzy dog—or either dog, actually. A coyote once challenged our larger dog and was dissuaded from luring him into distant danger only by the loud report of snake shot. I tried to communicate to our dogs that their imprisonment was temporary, but like small children, they couldn’t grasp my words of time. They thought we had abandoned them. Unlike happy endings in the movies, they didn’t immediately forgive us when we finally picked them up. We had betrayed their trust.

Some say my husband and I spoil our dogs, and we do. We also “spoiled” our children as much as we could. Happy, well-taught, well-adjusted children or pets grow into happy, well-adjusted friends. They’re a small gift to our world. We would never willingly permit our dogs to be taken from us and delivered to cages or the care of strangers. We would never allow them to be adopted out to people we didn’t screen, regardless of the circumstances.

My heart bleeds for the refugee parents whose children sit in courtrooms alone, wondering what could be going on as adults ask them peculiar questions in unintelligible language. I can’t imagine the pain when those children are deported without the adults who have risked their lives to defend them. What kind of agony must a nursing mother feel to know her baby may be adopted and never know anything about family history or the love that brought him/her into the world?

Life sometimes demonstrates the difference between people who have matured on their emotional journey through life and those who are stuck in selfish cruelty. As I encounter those who will command or condone child abuse, ignore the plight of people desperate for healthcare or those devastated by a hurricane, and allow inhumanity in various other forms, I pay attention to the lesson. I will vote for blue checks and balances in November.

2 comments on “What Would I Do for My Dogs?

  1. Chelo Ludden
    July 15, 2018

    Yes, Susan, these days my dogs are one of my comforts when I watch the news, which gets worse everyday.

    • My dogs make sense. They’re loyal. They put love first–even before chewies. They should humble people who can’t be as civilized.

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