My dogs are adorable. This isn’t an opinion, it’s a fact. People are constantly pointing and smiling as they pass by in their cars or stopping us to give them love when we are out for our daily walks. I get it. Swarley is a handsome boy. He’s a pure bread retriever which is one of the most popular dog breeds. Jersey is a retriever cross but she looks like a perma-puppy. Here’s the thing though, when I’m out for a walk with the dogs I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want to stop and let you love up on my dogs, as much as I know they would appreciate your affection.
I’ve just gotten home from work. I’m tired and hungry and probably have to pee. I’ve just sat in my car for 45 min to an hour depending on traffic. I’m still wearing my business casual clothing. I’m not wearing the proper shoes for a walk. As soon as I open the door to my apartment Swarley barks in excitement and Jersey starts to whine and cry and howl. It’s painful to listen to. There isn’t time to change my shoes let alone clothes or pee or grab a snack. Rain or shine, the first thing I do is take the dogs for a walk.
They’ve been cooped up in the apartment all day. They need to pee, they’re excited and balls of energy. Jersey, being only a year, gets so excited to be out that she’s too excited to do her business. Some times after a 30 minute walk she’ll still come home and pee or poop at the front door much to my dismay. Walking two strong dogs can be a challenge. My leash that fastens around my hips is a life saver but they still pull. Cleaning up dog poop while Jersey lunges at nothing because she’s eager to explore is not a fun experience. Swarley wants to sniff at and pee on EVERYTHING. Sometimes he’ll lie down in the grass and refuse to move if he decides he needs more time with a particular spot. Sometimes I feel like we’re stopping more often than we’re walking.
On top of all of that, factor in my anxiety. You know, that thing I take pills for every day? A couple weeks ago we were attacked by a much bigger unleashed dog. I still have a bruise on my leg from the incident. I live on a busy street. Trying to cross it to get to the trail that runs parallel to the stream across from me can be tricky with two excited pups. Five minutes in we’re usually okay. They’ve gotten over the initial excitement. By the time we’ve gotten to the bridge we cross to get home they’ve stopped pulling and are pretty calm. That’s when we’re back on the street.
Usually this when people stop us. I don’t want to be rude, but I really don’t want to talk to you. I’m tired. My hips and waist hurt from the dogs pulling. I’m hot and sticky and really really really need to pee. I don’t want to be polite. I just want to go home and feed the dogs so I can shower and change and feed myself. My dogs are huggers and Jersey still jumps. (I’m working on it) I don’t want to struggle to control them or apologize for their muddy paws on your clothes.
I know, I’m a huge hypocrite. When a co worker brings their dog into work I get so excited. If I see another golden retriever on the street I’ll strike up a conversation and love up the dog. I’m a sucker for goldens. Just because I love my dogs though doesn’t mean I love all dogs and I most certainly don’t love people. I know, I’m a horrible person, a monster even. Please though, if you see me out with the dogs on a week night, pretend you didn’t.
I’m still adjusting to life on my own as a divorced independent human. It’s stressful, especially with a puppy that is full of sass and attitude who is no where near as easy to train as your 5 year old male retriever was. I’m doing the best I can though. I love my freedom, my independence, my new life, my dogs. It takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it. One day they’ll be easier to walk and perfectly behaved. But until that day comes if the drug abusing needle user down the street could not come up to us on our way home and the douche on the corner could keep his aggressive dog on a leash that would be great.