This is part of our editorial series! Join Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake every weekday when we let the dogs do all the talking on www.2travelingdogs.com.
The past two years have been a bit trying for our family. I knew that as my dogs got older, our lives would have to be altered a bit. I knew that adjustments would have to be made. But I don’t think I was ever fully prepared for the last few months with vet visits, and all the highs and lows of having two senior dogs in our RV and our hearts. I also thought I could handle it all. Living on the road full-time brings with it a sense of independence and reliance on yourself. And I have always been an introvert, a loner of sorts. But as usual, my dogs have taught me that I needed to step back and learn some lessons. They are always ready to teach me.
I am a person who doesn’t like conflict or to question those who I place in high esteem. But when it comes to my dogs, I am different. I question everything! That food in a bag you want me to feed them? No. You want me to leave them in boarding with who? Let me do a background check. And at the vet’s office, although I am intimidated and often emotional, I have learned to even question their treatment there as well. I personally don’t want to put my dogs thru every test, surgery and procedure recommended until I do a bit of research. But even then, I often second guess myself. And I have been a wreck. An absolute wreck the past few months.
One day, I would think I had it all together. Then, something else would happen. I felt alone and also irritated with myself that I couldn’t handle it. But this was my dogs’ lives. I started to reach out to my friends. But not just any friends. My dog parent posse. Some of my posse I have known for years. Some of my posse I only know online. Some of my posse are my literal family. But they all have something in common. At times, they need me too. And together, we are rocking this crazy world of dog parent trials.
One day, as Digby got extremely ill, I was torn. Here we were in a very rural area and I knew no vets personally. So I messaged my friend and author Laurie Duperier whose book is a life changer, by the way. I took video of Digby and his symptoms. She told me her thoughts, but she didn’t just stop there. She found a vet for me online, she researched vets where we were going to next, and well, she might have just saved Digby’s life that day. I can tell you, I couldn’t make a decision. She could.
Is every time that I turn to my posse a serious one? No. If I think about it, my posse started long before now. It started when we adopted Brickle and Digby as puppies. Instead of books, I asked friends. Was their advice always right? Let’s just say, on a few occasions, I would have been better off asking Brickle and Digby themselves. But we all grew together, and now, it’s funny to see where our dog parent journeys have taken us. Some of my posse had human kids of their own. Some are still with us, some are not. But we all remain friends. Because once you are in the circle, you can’t get out.
Then, there are the ones in the dog parent posse that take my messages and calls regarding collar choices, snack options and the “I cannot believe my dog did that” occurrence. I feel like I can voice anything to them. Even if my dog barked at that kid, humped everyone in the dog park, or threw up in my bed. Yeah, I can tell them all that. And I need that. I truly need that.
I feel like deep down, we all want to belong to a group, ones that make us feel like we aren’t such a weirdo. One of my closest friends runs Rambo The Puppy. Are our dogs anything alike? They might be polar opposites. But through our dogs, we have built a friendship that allows us to be mad when we need to be. Sad when we have to be. Laugh when we should and we reach out to each other often. We don’t always agree. But we always will have each other in our circle. Because the strongest friendships I have found are those that don’t tell you what you want to hear. But those that tell you what you need to hear. Life as dog parents shouldn’t be a competition. Go to a dog show for that.
On a recent occasion, I found out that I had friends in my dog parent posse that would do anything to help our family. A vet we saw one time on our travels made a big impression with us. His quiet demeanor and solid knowledge, combined with common sense reassured us. And I found myself needing a second opinion as of late. This vet took my messages day and night. He provided me with relief from thousands of miles away. Not because he was charging me by the hour, but because he cared. It’s a sad statement, but I find that to be a rarity in today’s busy world. I often feel like I am protecting myself from being overcharged and shuffled around. It’s enough to go thru trying times with your dogs’ health. And then, making sound decisions in the midst of an emergency is even harder. If not for Dr. T in Bodega Bay, California, we would be in a much different situation now. Another person that could have just saved my dogs’ lives? Yes, he is in our posse forever.
So my question to you? Who is in your dog parent posse? Who supports you and who do you lift up? None of us should have to do this alone. Dog parents understand that our job is important. Dog parents understand that our dogs are our lives. When the world around us is telling us that we don’t matter as much as parents with human kids, or that we are crazy, well, we know who we can count on. If you are like me, you embrace the crazy. If you are like me, you are thankful for those furry individuals that have been entrusted in our care.
If you call yourself a dog parent, you do understand how important the role is that you play in your dog’s life. Don’t underestimate the impact that a dog parent posse can have in making that role easier, more enjoyable and fun. Be there for ones that need you, and reach out to your posse when you need them. We are not saying that our friends are a substitute for vet care. But they can guide us when we can’t think straight, and they can give us a pat on the back when we do the best we can.
My mom always told me that when driving a car, “never think you have this driving thing licked.” Well, that’s how it is with the dog parent life. We will never know it all. But that’s the fun part. You may be a “dog person” like me, but don’t ignore the human persons in your posse. You may need them today!
Thank you to our dog parent posse! You know who you are…our rescue friends we have met along our travels, our followers and all our dog parent friends and family! Say thank you to your posse today!