It was one of those weeks that made me question everything in my life. You know how one thing goes wrong and then, well, everything goes wrong? Nothing I did seemed to matter, at all. Everything. Kept. Going. Wrong.
Actually, I haven’t felt this depressed in years. Being on the road for so long has kept us busy, and most times, the depression at bay. One thing though that I take pride in is my dogs. No, not because they are pure breds…which they are not. No, not because they are gorgeous…well, they are.
But I take pride in the fact that I take care of them to my best abilities, despite my depression, and they seem happy. But, this week, when everything was going wrong in my life, I began to question even my abilities as a dog parent. Was I acting happy enough around them? In other words, faking it? Were we hiding our concern that we were broke down and scared? What was I going to do if we had to get out of our RV and leave it to be repaired? How were they going to handle a hotel? What had I done with my life? Was this whole trip a huge mistake? What was I doing to them? I should probably stop rambling. But that is how I felt. I still feel like that today, by the way.
I know what to tell myself. That they understand. That they only want to be with me. That’s what I would tell someone else. And I do believe it, because I think that as dog parents, we really are doing the best we can.
How many times have you questioned how you take care of your dogs?
“Maybe I should be taking care of them like someone else.”
“Someone else surely knows that I am a failure. ”
“Everyone else takes better care of their dogs”.
Oh, those have been some of my daily thoughts in the past. But in a past life of mine in a corporate job, I learned one thing and one thing only. All of us are faking it. Whether we are a professional banker, a doctor, a mom to human kids…we are faking it. Whether we are a chef, a dog walker, a computer analyst, none of us know everything about our jobs. Sometimes, we want to think that we are an expert, but all of us still have a lot to learn. Some of us admit that, some of us don’t. How does this relate to my dogs?
We are human. We will make mistakes when it comes to parenting our dogs. Did I handle everything correctly this week while we were going through the trials of daily life? I did not. I found myself irritated by Digby pulling me into the mud. I found myself tired, so tired that I didn’t want to walk them. And I felt guilty about it. And here the depression came again. I was so bad at this. Surely, someone else could do better.
And then I thought, as long as I was faking it, I might as well make it count. I acted extraordinarily happy around them, and found my spirits lifted a bit. Even though it was fake. And I thought, hey, if I can fake this, I can fake being the best dog parent, and then maybe, just maybe, my dogs will believe it.
As dog parents, we will maybe feed them a wrong food from time to time, or forget to wash their favorite blanket. But don’t think for a moment that someone else would be a better dog parent to your dogs. They love you, even with all the mistakes that you make. And I truly believe in my heart that they laugh at us and our craziness sometimes too. We are probably very entertaining.
Who is an expert at being a dog parent? Even though we are all faking it, we are trying and that qualifies.
You maybe didn’t break down in the swamps of Louisiana this week. But I bet you had your own problems. Your dog thanks you for doing the best that you could.
-Rachael Johnson, Girl Person, 2 Traveling Dogs
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