This is part of our Saturday Editorial Series. Normally, we let the dogs do all the talking! Join us every weekday for a dog blog written by rescue dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake at www.2travelingdogs.com.
Have you ever looked at your dog and wondered how you got so fortunate to spend your life with this amazing creature? Or maybe you have looked at your dog and wondered how you could love so much.
Or maybe, like me this week, you looked at your dog and wondered how he could get so dirty, if he could pull on the leash any harder, or if he could stare at me any longer while I was trying to eat dinner. Yeah. Maybe.
As much as our dogs require work and effort on our part, for many of us, it has become second nature to take care of them as best as we can. And if you are like my Granny, who said to me one day, “I don’t know who would ever take care of Cuddles the way I do. How would they know the little things that she does and what they mean? How will they know to throw her treat a certain way or know when she wants to take a walk?”
I told her then, “Granny, I know. I will remember if something happens to you.” But I knew in my heart she was right. No one would ever take care of Cuddles the way she did. And guess what? No one will ever take care of your dog the way that you do.
You see, it is probably the rational thing to think that if our dogs had to be in someone else’s care that they would be just fine. And maybe they would. But being just fine is not as good as being great. You have a relationship with your dog that has taken years to build. And I am here to tell you today that if you are worried that no one can take care of your dog like you can…you are right.
I think that sometimes we tell ourselves things that make coping easier. I often look at my dogs and think that if I wasn’t around to hike with them or make their food that their life would still be good. And I am not saying that someone else would not love them. But if we all don’t value ourselves and the difference that we can make in an animal’s life, what is that saying? It is saying that it doesn’t matter so much the ways we take care of them. Don’t tell that to yourself. Realize that all of the awesome things you do for your furkid is what make their lives whole. Because they make your life whole. And together, a relationship like that should not be undervalued.
When my Granny passed away, and Cuddles was left without her in the house that she had always lived in, my Aunt moved in and Cuddles now had another caregiver. Cuddles had been with Granny when she took her last breath and when they took her out of that house. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to watch or go through, and I knew that Cuddles felt the same. As the days and the weeks went by, I saw the toll that being without Granny had taken on her. But I also saw a new and different relationship forming with my Aunt. Cuddles attached herself to my Aunt deeply, yet as I watched them, it was not the same relationship she had with Granny. No. It was very different. And I knew that Granny was right. No one would ever take care of Cuddles they way she had. My Aunt wasn’t neglecting her. And Cuddles pulled out of her depression over the coming months. But she was never the same. Because she did not have Granny. And that was the truth of the matter. Don’t we all have persons or pets in our lifetime that make a bigger impact than others? If that wasn’t true, no one would ever have a “love of their life.” And for me, Brickle and Digby are some of those “loves of my life”. For Granny, that was Cuddles. And that’s that.
We can all try to prepare for the day that we hope never happens. Yes, it is good to be prepared that if something happens to us, that we know our animals are legally going to be taken care of. But above that, valuing the relationship we have with our animals and knowing that relationship is true and real and meaningful is important as well. If more people realized that our pets depend on us, and that individually each of us is important to that one animal before us, would not less animals be taken to shelters or abandoned?
Don’t think like I used to that my animals only cared about getting dinner from me, or going on an adventure. Don’t think like I used to that they would be ok without me. Because as our relationship has deepened over the past two years on the road, I know this. We have something special. And you have something special with your furkids too.
-Rachael Johnson, Owner and Girl Person of 2 Traveling Dogs and Your Dog’s Diner
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