Worrying The Dog

My house is a mess. And it’s worrying the dog.

Who’d have thought she’d be such a neatnik?

Honey the golden retriever in front of stuff for sale.

There’s so much stuff with signs on it. I’m worried she’s going to put a sticker on me soon.

Messy House Worries The Dog

As the house gets messier, Honey gets more worried.

I’m not a big cleaner. But I do like to keep the clutter to a minimum.

But with less than five days before our moving sale, it’s getting pretty cluttered. And Honey knows something is up.

She’s getting clingy.

Usually I go shopping while Honey is having her after-breakfast nap. She hears me grab my folding shopping cart from the basement and she knows where I’m going and that I’ll be back in a couple of hours (it takes longer when you shop by bus).

Honey the golden retriever takes a nap.

What Honey usually does when I go shopping. And yes, she sleeps with her eyes open and that inner eyelid covering her eye. It’s kinda spooky.

But yesterday, she came running downstairs from her nap when I left the room. She wanted to make sure of me before going back to her nap.

The Good Side Of Worry

There are positive aspects to Honey’s worry.

We get to spend lots of time cuddling since she’s more likely to curl up next to me while I’m working.

Honey the golden retriever sleeps on  the floor.

Honey hates when I work at the desk. But she’s determined to make sure I can’t move without her knowing it.

It’s an excellent reminder to take more breaks to play or walk outside in the lovely, spring weather (which is good for both of us).

And it confirms for me that what’s most important to Honey is being with us.

Honey the golden retriever with Mike at Streets Alive.

So glad to be out of that dark basement. How could tools be more interesting than me?

A woman asked a cruising forum I follow for advice about setting sail with her pit bull. I think she meant to ask about breed restrictions she might face in other countries. But instead, she got dozens of comments from people accusing her of hating her dog and mistreating him if she thought he’d ever be happy living on a boat with her.

It started me second-guessing myself.

I’m looking at Honey all over again. I’m seeing that she’s a moderate-energy dog who can run all day if needed but won’t complain if she only gets a short walk with play time.

But most of all, I see that she loves being with us. And that her response to chaos or uncertainty is to stay close.

Eventually, our boat will become home. To all of us.

Cluttered desk before moving sale.

Ugh, who can work at a desk that looks like this? But I’m really going to miss my favorite puppy light. Isn’t it cute?

We won’t have any clutter because anything left out on a sailboat can become a projectile in bad weather.

But we might have to suffer from a little less cuddling from Honey. After all, she won’t have anything to worry about.

Your Turn: Does your dog change his or her behavior when things are confusing around the house? Do they take everything in stride? Or are you so super-organized that you never let messes appear in your home?


Note to my readers: Bloggers may have noticed I’m less likely to comment at your websites. And other readers will see I’m not replying to their comments. I do read every comment and try to keep up with my favorite blogs. But organizing a sale that involves tagging every box of paper clips and pair of alpaca socks (my sister said that seeing the socks on my inventory list demonstrated to her just what it meant to “sell everything”) is, for me, worse than packing stuff and moving it.

We’re also starting to look at boats so we can move quickly after the house closes. When we have some idea of where our new home will be and what it looks like, you’ll learn about it here first. 

Thanks for reading. And we hope to be more social soon.


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  1. Firstly, can you check I have subscribed properly to your blog. I can’t believe it would appear I haven’t subscribed before!!
    Now for my main insights. I think you rightly point out Honey will be fine and adapt. I think some of us animal lovers look at ourselves and only see our short falling, or worry we are being selfish. I worry constantly that I am not doing a good enough job for Poppy, being at work all day but then having a social life as well. But we do that best we can. You would never purposefully put Honey under any undue stress, and she will blossom and eventually become so happy on the boat. But you have to think of you and Mike too – you only get one chance at life and you have to grab it with both hands!

  2. Our dogs know when something is up. They stay under foot and are constantly on patrol. I think they do adapt and mostly need love and a sense of security from their “pack”.

  3. We moved a couple of times with Sally and Tino…he was oblivious, but Sally knew immediately and was much like Honey – got clingy and would also plant herself on the bed frequently. She knew we’d be taking that and so she stayed close to it. Good luck with your sale.

  4. Haven’t moved with dogs (yet!) but Harley gets antsy whenever I start packing for a weekend getaway. I can only imagine how he’d be if we were moving completely. Honey is fortunate to have you in her life, because you stop to understand and satisfy her emotional needs. It’s gonna be fine. Exhale girlfriend :)

  5. Haley gets a little clingy too when things are chaotic around the house. You’re right about spending a little extra time on the TLC, it can make all the difference in the world to them! I can’t wait to see your new “home” and good luck with the sale! :)

  6. We always get nervous when things are out of the ordinary. I’m sure she senses stress in her humans as well.

  7. We haven’t moved – or gone on a dog-less vacation – in about 6 years, so no advice there. But even when we have to leave the dogs for more than a couple of hours, I give them extra play time before we leave. And I know the sitter will give them plenty of TLC while she’s here. And they all seem to know that we will be back as soon as we can.

  8. Congratulations on moving forward. But how can you part with the puppy light? It is so cute. Maybe your sister would keep it for you.

  9. That poor woman! People can be utterly ridiculous in some online forums….would they prefer that she dump her dog? I think any dog can be perfectly happy living on a boat so long as they aren’t sick all the time and they are still being exercised.
    Congratulations you’re almost there!!

  10. Jimmy gets clingy, Wilson’s like “Meh! See you later!” and goes upstairs by himself.

  11. I love that you’re sharing what’s going on with the move towards your dream, it has inspired me to take a step towards mine. And, yes, my dogs know something’s afoot when I start to clean (apparently deep cleaning is abnormal around here) Zack gets very clingy, and herds me away from the front door when I head that direction.