My dog Honey knows when I’m going out and if I’m taking her with me or going alone. She understands that if she barks for breakfast before the scheduled time, I’ll tell her to settle down for a few more minutes. And she knows, if she’s uncertain about anything, to look to me for help.
But as well as we understand each other, there are still so many more things I wish I could explain to my dog.
Dogs Don’t Understand
I feel bad when I think of how puzzled Honey must feel by the strange things we do. For example
Foster dogs - who are these creatures who keep coming to stay with us and when are they leaving?
All Honey knows is that we introduce her to a new dog or puppy, they stay for a while, and then they go away.
I have no way to tell her what we’re doing. How long these dogs will stay. And sadly, no way to thank her for being such a gentle host to these fuzzy strangers who pass through our house on the way to their forever homes.
Vacations - why are we leaving Honey behind and when are we coming back?
The worst part of our trip to Panama was not being able to tell Honey that we’d be gone for a month, she’d have a great time with her favorite person while we were gone, and that we’d be back to see her as soon as we got home.
Work - what’s a deadline and why does it force us to take our walk late?
Honey often settles down under my desk when I’m working. But she can’t figure out why I’d rather be sitting inside when I should be walking her.
Sustainability – why did we get rid of the car?
When we had a car, I took Honey with me when it was safe to do so. She loved it.
She doesn’t understand why she no longer gets to enjoy car trips with us. To this day, if someone opens their car door on the street in front of our house, she’ll try to jump in.
Boundaries - why is it ok to crawl into the lap of the mom or the dad but not that nice person who came to visit?
Ok, this is partly my fault. I’ve never set good rules for what’s okay with us and what’s okay with outsiders.
Honey only knows that she loves cuddling with everyone and can’t understand why some of them don’t appreciate a fifty pound, shedding lap dog.
My Dog Always Understands
I wish I could explain my strange expectations for Honey to her. But if she understood everything I said to her, Honey would be a human (with all the complications that involves) instead of a dog.
Luckily, there are some things Honey always understands without me having to say a word to her.
I love her. I want what’s best for her. I will always make sure she is safe.
And I guess that has to be good enough.
Your Turn: What do you most wish you could explain to your dog?