As a dog parent I often say “Dogs are such good company.” I use that phrase when anyone questions why I have dogs or when I am talking to someone thinking about getting a dog. I fear it has become little more than a platitude. Is it just a reflex utterance similar to asking “How are you?” when greeting someone? What do I really mean when I say dogs are good company?
My husband often travels for his job, leaving the dogs and me to our own wiles. During his absence, I take great comfort in having my dogs by my side. Their very presence brings life to what otherwise would feel like an empty house and an empty life. I shudder to think of spending days and nights in a house that contained just me. The silence would quickly turn from quiet comfort to a heavy burden. Only emptiness would greet me on my return from errands; no wagging tails, and enthusiastic barking. An empty house would not tell me I was missed and that it was happy I have returned.
As I lounged watching TV, no head would rest on my lap, no paw would nudge me as a reminder to keep rubbing. There would be no tic tic of nails on the tile, no jingle of dog tags reminding me I am not alone. As I settle down to sleep, there would be no heavy breaths or sighs of contentment from the various sleeping posts around the room. I know my dogs are an early warning system if someone approaches the house. With no Moe in my life, I would not have the deep warning bark that assures me only the very brave or stupid would encroach on his territory without an invitation. Without my dogs, my life would be missing many bouts of laughter. Moe always the class clown entertains me nightly by tripping over a towel he has tried to steal or by prancing around bearing the trophy of a pink flip flop in his mouth.
I have found that dogs love routines and there is something reassuring in the simple daily chores of looking after your dog. It may be a sad statement, however, I find it uplifting that my dogs depend on me and I strive to not disappoint them. I can not lose myself in self doubt or submit to the minor depression of being alone. I have dogs that need me to take care of them. Despite the sameness in the daily routines, they are happy in their execution. Place a bowl of the same kibble down twice a day every day and the reaction is joy at having food; open the door for them to go outside and take care of business and they come trotting back with tails wagging. When you offer a small morsel of a treat, they come running, heads held high. The tails spinning in circles speak louder than any “thank you”.
In summary “dogs are such good company” and on reflection I know that that is not a platitude.