As Dog Parents, We Are All Faking It

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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9 thoughts on “As Dog Parents, We Are All Faking It

  1. tammy

    you are in no way a failure…i understand about the depression. i am older and my dogs are younger and sometimes i wonder if i am enough for them….would they be happier with young ppl….all i know is that they keep me happy and young and i will work to the best of my ability to take care of them and keep them happy and safe…. you and bp are great parents…we all have a overload of slaps in the face to get thru in different parts of our lives…..take care and i hope only the very best for you, bp and the pups….

  2. Karen Hampton

    Rachael love…( forgive my familiarity) but as a follower/fb friends for a few years now, I feel like a distant relative, lol. And, NO!! You are NOT by ANY measure, a ‘failure’…you are a success…you have your Nathan, Brickle, Digby, human family in the Florida place , shelters & animals YOU have helped save…given awareness to the rest of us to work in our own communities!! Not failure by ANY definition!! Depression, yes, I fight that demon, also….but not a failure…. because we continue to WIN….not easy, by ANY stretch, but… ultimately..WIN!!! I was just two days w/o water, wifi, cell service…in Eastern Ky. Had a minor pity party for myself…then, remembered you all…felt guilty..!! Worse part? Not being able to keep up on my TTD ‘family’!! Sad, huh? And…horrors…NO WINE!!No pup, either!! Get out of La. You’re so CLOSE!!! Project your vision to the beach & dog park in FL where you’ll be in a month or som. It’s my coping mechanism. Hope to see you in the Florida place this summer. Love, prayers, good vibes & big old HUG to all…if Sheriff would allow it, haha. Love always…End of ‘Volume One’..’Grammy’in Michigan’ 😘

  3. Margaret

    Thanks for you very timely post.
    One thing though…”forgot to wash their favorite blanket”?…
    More like WHY did you wash their favorite blanket? 🙂

  4. Rachael, stop beating yourself up. Your dogs love you no matter how you feel or what you do. You are a terrific dog mom. Your life is all about your dogs, and they know it. We all make mistakes no matter what we are doing. It is not a human attribute to be perfect. Faking it for your dogs is not going to get it. They understand you better than you do yourself and are aware of your true feelings. They love you no matter how you feel, and are there for you no matter how you feel. You are doing the best you can under difficult circumstances. Depression is a hard row to hoe. Give your dogs lots of love, and the love they give you in return will help you. I hope everything gets better for you soon.

  5. Christine

    My Gram used to say everything comes in threes, right? So, this week the RV had a breakdown, the Jeep has a breakdown and you had a breakdown. Now … ta da … brush your hands together, TAKE A DEEP BREATH and think to yourself … “there … all done with THAT threesome!” Because, after all… what else can you do? 🙃

    Enjoy the ride … we only get one. Sometimes bumpy, sometimes uphill, sometimes plodding with just one foot in front of the other and dragging some type of burden behind us but most often incredibly beautiful.

  6. Virginia Weldon McDowell

    Oh gosh Girl Person! Please know that you are an amazing mom to those babies! And you have such a beautiful heart for all fur babies. Don’t ever second guess yourself about how you take care of Brickle & Digby. They’re in the best hands possible. You were meant to be their mom & if there was an Olympics for how we take care if our fur babies, you would take the Gold Paws down! I know how depression can get the best of you sometimes. Life is so hard at times that you just wonder how you’re going to make it to the next day. You just have to Pray. Jesus loves us & He will always be there to get us through whatever giant we are facing. I’m sending love & Prayers your way & please don’t worry, Jesus, Boy Person, Sheriff Brickle, Digby & all us fan persons love you! The sunshiney is out & it’s gonna all be ok!

  7. Oh lord, Miss Racheal, 2018 hasn’t been kind to all kinds. My monster has had me twisted, and I know when you aren’t moving, it gets you. And when I’m in mine, I can seem unkind. As you probably feel as well. But we can’t let it win. You and Boy Person, Nate!! and Brickel and Digby are such a driving force, that I truly believe that truth and honesty will prevail, even on the seemingly worst of times. And a year from now, we will laugh at this time and be soooo much stronger for this. I love you guys so much. WE ALL WILL GET THROUGH THIS. XOXOX ❤❤❤❤👣👣🐾🐾

  8. Lynne M Smith

    Our dogs love us unconditionally! No matter what happens. They just want to be with us.
    We do our best for each if our own situations.

  9. Sorry to hear you’re broken down and depressed. That is hard. I hope you are able to get back on the road soon and into a place that inspires you. Try to look for small victories. I like how you are putting a smile on for your pups and in return your endorphins are increasing and causing you happiness. Sometimes my dogs pull so hard I can’t walk both of them and it frustrates me so much, so I totally get how getting pulled into the mud would bother you. Wishing you the best and looking forward to more stories about Mr. Brickle and Deputy Digby (I hope I got there nicknames right).

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