When a new foster dog comes to my house, he takes a few days (or more) to settle in.
It’s no surprise. By the time a dog comes to me, he’s left the home he knows, been processed at a shelter, and delivered to my door. That’s a lot of change for anyone, much less a dog who doesn’t understand you when you tell him things are going to get better for him soon.
But some dogs (and humans) are different. They carry their homes with them in their skin. And because they always feel at home, they take less time to settle into a new place.
One foster dog moved right in as if he owned the place. Except for a brief period of anxiety scratching, he made himself at home the first day.
If he could speak, he’d tell me that as long as he had his toys, his sister, and a friend to play with, he’s home everywhere he goes.
I wish I could be more like him.
I do feel “at home” in some unusual places.
I’ve never lived in New York city but when I step onto a Manhattan sidewalk, I feel at home. Or maybe it’s just relief at being surrounded by people who walk as fast as I do. My little tent is home, no matter where it’s set up.
But for me, home is mostly about habits (can I read the weekend paper? eat yogurt every morning for breakfast? listen to my music?) and who I share it with.
Living in Panama the past month took me away from all my habits. I still had a sense of home because Mike was with me. But without Honey, it just wasn’t the same.
Our friend who stayed with Honey for the month told us Honey was “unsettled” the first night we were gone. She kept running downstairs and barking at noises outside. That’s very unusual for Honey.
Although she was “home” and staying with someone she loved very much, Honey knows it’s not really home if Mike and I aren’t there too.
In my first post after returning, I asked you to guess if Honey greeted us in her usual calm and ladylike way when we got home or if she went berserk with joy.
If you guessed she was her usual calm and mild greeter, you were right. We saw no licking. No jumping. No spinning in circles.
Honey just picked up a toy in her mouth and quietly said hello as we walked in the door.
She had no need to do more. This wasn’t a special occasion. It was just home. And there’s no place like it.
Your Turn: What makes home for you? How about for your dog?