Here & there: Live like a dog

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FEATURE — I’m new to the world of dogs. Over the summer I got snookered into it by my long suffering family and then reeled in by the wiles of a sweet Aussiedoodle. I hadn’t been fully warned about the dangers of puppies: their sweet breath; their soul penetrating gaze; their joyous tail wagging.

But now I’m a dog lady. More precisely, I’m THAT dog lady. The kind who treats her dog like one of her children. The kind who buys special food at the special dog store. The kind who lets her dog sleep in the bed when her husband is out of town.

And I don’t even allow my children to wear their shoes near the beds. I tell them, “Think of all the spit and dead worms and dog poop on the sidewalks!”

My former anti-dogite self would be disgusted.

My mom, too. Being THAT dog lady means I’m probably like one of those come-late-to-the-parenthood-party parents who annoyed her when she was raising five kids. Back then she’d say, “They think they’ve suddenly discovered the holy grail about life and parenting by having their first kid at 40. Hello, the rest of us have been here for a while.”

She particularly disliked Madonna for this reason. Not so much for her provocative style or because she sang about teen pregnancy (although I’m not really sure my mother ever listening to any Madonna songs), but because of the self-righteous parenting.

So, think of me as the Madonna of dog ownership. Now that I’m here, I have all these life changing insights. And yes, I’m sharing them with you:

  • Observation No. 1: Dogs like who they like and leave the rest. They get to the dog park, sniff each other’s behinds and they know. They play with who they like; they ignore the others. We should be more like dogs.
  • Observation No. 2: Dogs aren’t afraid to show their excitement. Their humans come home after being away? They pee with excitement. Friends of their humans come for a visit? They pee with excitement. They see the neighbor girl who they like on the morning walk to school? They pee with excitement on her shoe. The peeing isn’t awesome but the feeling behind it is. And so is the outward expression of that feeling. We should be more like dogs.
  • Observation No. 3: Routines are good for the soul. Dogs are great at routine: wake, pee, play, poop, eat, poop, sleep, play, eat, pee, sleep. Repeat. They know when they’re on their favorite park route. They know when to start pulling their owner into an awkward walk-run lope at that 2-block park radius. And they go to sleep happy at night; their needs met. We should be more like dogs.
  • Observation No. 4: Loyalty is not overrated. There is a reason dogs are branded “man’s best friend.” They are loyal to their people. If their people are loyal to them. My father-in-law talked lovingly about his childhood dog, Ring, on his deathbed at age 78. That’s a 70-year bond. My boys, two of whom struggled with friends last year, already feel that loyalty from our dog. He nuzzles them on the couch when they are sad, and he keeps guard of them in the front yard when they play, and he licks them awake in the morning, as if to say, “I’m going to have your back today.” We should be more like dogs.

All of these life gems and it’s only been two months! What other brand-new and earth-shattering insights will I be able to share with the world after four?

I’ll look to Madonna to show me the way.

Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • hiker75 September 30, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you! What a delight to read and so true.

    Consider adopting a shelter dog that has been waiting and waiting for their forever home.

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