Dogs: The Cure for the Common Life

Have you ever found yourself halfway to work when you realize you meant to drive in the other direction? It is Saturday, after all.

There’s a scientific name for that. It’s called being in a boringus rutus.

The best cure? The Canis Domesticus.

Digging the rut

Golden Retriever looking out the window

I must always be vigilant. I'd hate for one of those squirrels to think I wasn't watching.

We all have routines. You probably wake up at the same time most mornings. Drink your coffee the same way. Your stomach clock goes off at the same time.

It’s especially easy to fall into a rut if your work requires you to show up at the same temperature-controlled place every day. If it’s pouring down rain, you work. If it’s sunny and beautiful, you work. If it’s snowing, you work (except for you folks who live in Maryland and Virginia who start closing everything down in a panic the instant a flurry appears on the horizon).

No wonder we fall into ruts.

Dogs like routine, not ruts

  • Sure, your dog wants her dinner when you get home. But she wouldn’t turn you down if you decided to give her a between-meals snack.
  • He’s gotta check his p-mail every single day. But if you decided to turn down a new block, your dog will happily walk by your side (or pull like a demon on the end of his leash—it’s all good).
  • Your dog might decorate the front door with nose prints every afternoon you get home from work, but she won’t complain if you decide to take a mental health day.
  • And dogs never mind being woken up to have fun, until they’re around a hundred years old. We gotta cut some slack to the grouchy puppies in our lives.

See the dog; be the dog

Can we learn how to practice routines without being in a rut?

I’m not sure what part of being a dog makes this possible. But here are a few ways to break up the ruts we fall into:

  • Bark out the window at a squirrel.
  • Howl when a fire truck goes by.
  • Stick your head out the window when you drive to the store. Take deep breaths.
  • Get very very very close to something you’re trying to smell.
  • Scratch yourself with a blissful look on your face.
  • Chase someone. Then let them chase you.
  • Fall asleep in the middle of the bed. Make sure you sprawl out as much as possible.

At least one of those suggestions must be the key to being a dog of routine without being in a rut. After all, when was the last time you saw a dog stop in the middle of a walk and ask himself, “Now what am I doing here?”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Mom makes it a point to never go to and from work the same way twice in one week. She always looks for another route – that helps!


  2. So funny – thanks for the giggle!

  3. That was too cute! I’ll be sure to stick my head out the window next time!

  4. Jen says she knows that rut. Us 4-leggers are indeed what gives each day something new and exciting!

  5. One time my granddaughter and the dogs were playing in the hose in the backyard getting all wet and muddy. They were having so much fun that we adults thought about joining them. Then we thought of the consequences. We would have to take off our dirty clothes, take a shower and get dressed. It would be fun to live in the moment like children and dogs do. But it’s hard…

  6. Rooo rooo! I saw a human in a car the other day howling at the top of his lungs to a Celine Dion song on the radio. He looked like he had lots of fun and all other humans who saw him were smiling. I tried to cover my ears.

    I always howl at fire trucks, police cars and ambulances. I like to think I’m showing them support. But I’ve never seen any of my humans do the same thing :-)

  7. Very cute. I try to never go on the same walk two days in a row. Because I live in a residential area, there are only so many paths we can travel on. But I think Shiva likes to change it up as much as I do so we try to go on a different route every time, not returning to a given neighbourhood or park until a few days later. She gets to maximize her sniffing skills that way. :-)

  8. Erin, Rob, Texas & Bubbles says:

    Haha I love this post.

  9. Ha! You left out chewing up someone’s lip balm and then giving them a big sloppy kiss! 😛 I think it’s because dogs never see the world as mundane. It’s always an adventure waiting to happen!

  10. Effective immediately, I think I will bark at passersby the house in an effort to break up the rut ;0) Good solid advice Pamela. Just one question, can you get those nice wrap around white coats in other colors? White jackets just aren’t my style!

  11. Thank goodness for our pups. They truly help us see ourselves and teach us how to live life to the fullest. Rut vs routine…time to start barking. : )
    I also wanted to let you know that I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time now and really enjoy seeing your photo captures of the moments you choose to share. You deserve the Creative Capture Blogging Award. Please enjoy the fact that someone out here in the blogosphere really does see and enjoys your photo captures of the moments you choose to share. Stop by to get your badge if you would like to show others your award status. Keep blogging, keep photographing, and keep sharing. Congratulations! : )
    Award Info:
    Just Ramblin’

  12. Wow, that is so right! I find my kitties are totally in tune to “feeding time” and sit there and stare at me until I get up and do it. Sage knows the cues for a walk, except she thinks it’s every time I put my coat on (unless I tell her I’m “going to the store”). And, it’s play time after dinner. Pretty much routine!!

  13. I call it “autopilot” and oftentimes can’t remember being aware of my driving until I’m well past where I needed to turn. How I’m still alive is beyond me.

    My husband frequently chases Dewi around the house at full speed. (Don’t ask – it’s male bonding.) They laugh and snort like hyenas. Maybe I’ll try it tomorrow. :)

    BTW – I always had to go to work in the snow. It stunk. My kids, however, get snow days sometimes even for forecasted winter weather. It’s because of people like me who are driving in “autopilot.” :(

  14. Don’t forget: sleep on top of someone, or at least as close as possible. I say this as I look over at our Beagle sleeping on the back of C’s legs and our Terrier pressed against his hip. Not only are they both blissfully asleep, this way they are instantly alerted any time something “exciting” happens and C needs to move.

  15. Count me in on the “sleep in the middle of the bed” one. Not so likely to bark at squirrels or howl at fire trucks.

    I look blissful when someone else scratches my back…