When I Decided My Dog Was My Friend And Not My Hobby

If you are reading this blog, likely, you love your dog.  You may even look at your dog and wonder what in the world you did to deserve him or her.  We already know that dogs love us unconditionally, give some of us a reason to get up in the morning, and that they may have even saved our lives in more ways than one. And more than once.  I do know all of this, because it applies to me.

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But as with any relationship in our lives, there is always room for improvement.  “A relationship with my dog?” you might be thinking.  Yes.  You have a relationship with your dog.  We all do.  No, this isn’t about a guilt trip.  It’s about your dog.

IMG_1440.JPGI might have mentioned before that when we adopted Brickle and Digby that I had unrealistic expectations.  I pictured in my mind teaching them plenty of amazing tricks to amaze my friends.  That would be amazing, I thought.  I pictured walking down the road and amazing everyone with how obedient they were.  I mean, weren’t all dogs supposed to listen to their owners, not exhibit any individualism or personalities?  You may disagree with me, and that’s ok.  You may be happy with your well trained dog, and I am amazingly happy for you.  If your dog is happy with that. And if that’s the case. Amazing.IMG_3303

You see, one day, as I was reading my fourth book on how to be a pack leader and how to be an amazing dog parent,  I wondered why I was so bad at this.  Here I was, spending all my time reading and learning and going to classes to figure out a way to make my dog a robot.  This was becoming a hobby for me…the hobby of being a dog parent.  The hobby of “everything dog”.  Was I losing sight of something?  Oh, I sure was.

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It was a normal weekend and I had taken my dogs to the beach.  There I was, worried about the things we normally worry about at a dog park. Would everyone get along, would the people be super crazy or just a little crazy?  And as I stopped to pick up some dog poop, I saw him.  Brickle had went to a section of the beach and was sitting there, just looking out into the waves.  He was looking.  He was thinking.  He was appreciating.

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There was a heart behind that fur, a real soul, my friend.  My best friend.  And he wasn’t just a dog.  He wasn’t someone I needed to control.  Yes.  Someone.  He was someone that deserved respect, to be treated like I would treat any friend or family member.  Why I was expecting him to know that he was my hobby?  Because that is what our relationship had turned in to.

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It was when I realized that I was in the wrong, that I began to think about why people abandon their pets, or give them up at shelters, or don’t value them.  They don’t see their pet as anything but a hobby.  And I don’t know about you, but many times, I start a new hobby and it lasts for about a week.  Banjo.  Piano.  Drawing. Running.  I could go on and on.  These people who were giving up their animals didn’t see them as anything but a hobby that they got bored with.

What are some things that we as persons long for?  To be understood and to be valued. I know that the best friends I have had in my lifetime have been ones that loved me for me.  Do you love your dog for who they are?  Do you see them beyond a hobby or your identity?  When we work on our relationships with our dogs, we not only become better dog parents, but we learn to treat even other persons better.  And once again, your dog does that for you.  Aren’t. They. Amazing.

-Rachael Johnson, Girl Person of 2 Traveling Dogs

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8 thoughts on “When I Decided My Dog Was My Friend And Not My Hobby

  1. Romanie Baines.

    I never taught my sweet boy silly tricks either, I didn’t ever believe it was something he needed or I wanted. So just the few basics, his housetraining, his name and to come to me, to drop the garbage bits of food he picks up in his mouth on the street, that’s about it. He’s my best companion, not a performing seal, and although he’s only 7.5 lbs he’s very much a “dog dog” with a dignity of his own.

    Like

  2. Kim Kaufmann

    Rachel you said it perfect! Thank you again for reminding us and emphasizing our “someones”. When oh when will all the madness stop for our 4 legged friends – it will stop with people like you because everyone needs a reminder!!

    Have a great Puppy Bowl/Super Bowl weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vivian Ortiz

    Yes…I agree. I have never wanted to make them do what i want. i try to ascertain what they are saying to me and what they want as individuals. Now I do use the word No if they are about to put themselves in harms way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Janet Schaeffer

    My four kids are diffenetly not hobbits each has his or her own personality from Cinnamon are matriarch 14 years blind and mother of Bandit my little boy that gives me reason to get up every morning and to go home when my husband was driving long distance from coast to coast. Then theres are Queenie she was my husbands best friend when he was recuperating from knee surgery she came into are lives and showed us that just because her previous owner didn’t want her that she was fine with living with who ever took her in until we caught her sucking on her own hip to sooth her self but we just reinforce the love we have for her. Then theres Buddy his life started with an elderly lady that loved him until she fell and her daughter didn’t want to have to take care of a dog to.the next 6 months where close to living on the street he was never tought to ask to go out he was tought to use pads so he did what came natural to him on the floor so they threw him out side. Now I will tell you all four of my babies are doxies of some kind but most important thing is they are all healthy and happy now.

    Liked by 1 person

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