By Js Kendrick
Not exactly sure when it happened, but it happened this year for sure. It might have started in June, when we took a week vacation and had family members check on our animals. Or maybe it was that weekend when we boarded her, since we were going to be out of town (family too). By July, when we boarded her for a wedding we attended, it had definitely happened. My dog had left me emotionally.
“Come on Jess, wanna go outside?” I would say to her when I came home from work.
Jess would raise an eyebrow, then go back to sleep. I noticed this was a habit of hers of late. Ignoring my existence. She would just sigh, and turn her head. I was no longer of importance. I think she ignores me better than my ex-wife did.
Jess, or Jesse, was originally my daughter Kayla’s dog. Yet as often happens when your 16-year-old gets a dog, we inherited her. Honestly it was easier all the way around. My wife wanted to get a dog, my daughter, now an adult, lifestyle (and new apartment) wouldn’t allow dogs, so Jess came to live with us.
Jess used to wait for me impatiently as I put all my belongings down when I got home from my 2nd shift job. Wagging her tail and anticipating going outside. I often had to tell her to back up so I could open the door. Labs take up a lot of floor space.
Outside I would kick this ragged volley ball and she would chase it. Then stop after mid-chase to go potty and come back to me with a look of wonder as to where the ball magically went.
“Um, Jess you dropped it, go get it.” She would cock her head at me, look to where I pointed the go ‘oh yeah, forgot’. She forgot often. But chasing the ball was her favorite pastime then.
As I said my wife wanted a dog. Because families, especially with small children, need a dog don’t they? I was very hesitant. I was raised with animals. Dogs? yes of course! Cats? oh heck we had hundreds! (Okay maybe 2 to 3 when I was growing up) But we also had…Ducks, Geese, Chickens, Turkeys Rabbits, and a “pet” raccoon. The raccoon get’s quotes because they truly are never a pet. It’s more like an arrangement really. Yes I grew up on a farm.
Yet unlike any other animals, dogs are different. Although the internet is filled with stories of unconditional love from dogs, and how dogs are just like ‘children’. Which is patently false, has your puppy ever bought Trolls three times? (didn’t think so.) But dogs, unlike any other animal, has your back.
Unless you piss them off. When you piss off a dog, lord help you.
We’re not talking bite you mad at you. Or shit on the carpet mad. This is more of the I’m going to ignore you exist mad.
Me: Comes home, opens door.
Dog: Opens one eye, ignores me. Closes eye very slowly and goes back to sleep.
Wife: Comes home, opens door.
Dog: Gets up so fast, possibly throwing out her back in the process, stands to greet her and wags tail enthusiastically.
Me: Asks the dog if she wants to go out.
Dog: Half opens right eye, sighs and closes eye. Again, slowly.
Wife: Just happens to walk by the door.
Dog: Leaps off couch, navigating two kids playing shopkins on the living room floor, steps over cat (who runs down the hall like the devil bit his tail) and goes to the door. Stares up at door expecting it to open soon, as wife walks away.
My dog does not like me anymore. She has packed her emotional bags and left. I am nothing anymore to her. If I was by myself at home and fell breaking my leg, because I slipped on a shopkin, and my phone fell just out of the reach of my hand. I am sure she would bring me her ball… and drop it on my phone. Probably as the cat climbed on my chest to knead me and purr.
So yeah, me and my dog broke up. I am sad about it. Thought about flowers and a card. But she would just bury the flowers and chew on the card. If I am ever to regain her affections, it will be through constant petting, scratching her belly, and not ignoring her. Never ignore your dog.
Of course I don’t think she is too mad at me. I still feed her, and just like a man, a dog’s heart is through her stomach.
[No animals were harmed in the taking of these photographs. Despite their contorted postures, they are all healthy and happy. Tad overweight, but active nonetheless.]