Not too long ago, I wrote about pet guilt. This was my own sense of guilt, entirely put on by me. Now that has changed. Recently, I’ve had a few situations where people have commented on my dog and made me feel guilty about the time I spend (or rather, don’t spend) with him. Dog judging. Can you believe it?
They kinda went down like this:
Situation 1: J and I were sitting on the front porch while O was inside taking a nap. Cydez, our dog, was with us. I was petting Cydez when a jogger started to come into view. Knowing Cydez’s propensity to sometimes bark at joggers, I whispered in his ear, “Settle.” He calmed down. Until the jogger ran right up to our front porch, reached down, and started petting my dog. “I just had to come say hi to Cydewayz,” she said. Cydez’s butt wiggled with excitement, and he did his signature four-legged dog hops up and down in front of her as she ruffled his ears and rubbed his snout.
“Who is this lady?” I thought “And how does she know my dog’s name?” Her visit was quickly over, and before I could ask who in the hell she was, she ran off, mumbling something under her breath. I couldn’t make out what she said, so I asked J. “She said, ‘You should play with him more,'” he said.
This lady was lucky I gave up running back in junior high or I would’ve tore after her. Who is she to judge me? What does she know? How does she know I don’t take my dog to the dog park every morning? I don’t, but I would if I could! I started to get all worked up, but J calmed me down some un-PC rationalization not fit to post on the blog.
Situation 2: My 110-year-old neighbor, Mary, recently asked me when was the last time I brushed Cydez. Cydez is part golden (we think), and he definitely needs a good brushing at least once a week. Do I always do it? Hell no. Some weeks I don’t even have time to brush my own hair. We may not look great, but we get by. I told her it had been awhile, and she clicked her tongue. “I could tell,” she said. Whatev.
: I was out front with O when a neighbor walked by with her dog. She came over to talk, and O started clapping excitedly, cooing at the dog.
“He just loves dogs. Cydez and O get along so well,” I said.
My neighbor smiled and commented that her daughter always got along with their dogs as well. “Cydez is so good and well-behaved,” she continued. I beamed with pride.
“Yep, he sure is,” I said.
“He’s so funny, too, I always see him in your backyard running around playing all alone–having a great time. It’s like he’s made up these little games to entertain himself,” she said.
My heart sunk. My neighbors have enough time to sit and watch my dog entertain himself with his made-up make-believe games, but I don’t have enough time to toss a tennis ball? Awesome.
“Yeah, he’s funny like that,” I said, offering a half-hearted smile, feeling utterly defeated and racked with guilt.
I know my dog has become a second-class citizen in this household since my child was born. But he is just an animal. I still love him, just don’t have the time to dote and devote like I used to. I really don’t need other people trying to making me feel bad about it. So stoppit. Now.
8 thoughts on “My Dog Is Fine! (Stop Your Dog Judging)”
I know, I know. my dog went from my baby to my dog when we had our first child. the guilt! it is subsiding though. I know I went overboard when it was just me and him.
I can’t believe the jogger lady! What nerve. I bet Cydez is as happy as can be.
Maybe you should leave O crawling around in your backyard by himself and take the dog for a walk. See what the jogger and your 110 year old neighbor says then.
Perhaps they need to get a life.
OH and don’t worry about the dog, he’ll have MORE than enough attention when O discovers him and tortures him as LIly does to our cat : )
Hi, lurker here. I’ve suffered doggy guilt like it’s nobody’s business. I’ve got two kids. Didn’t have a dog when they were born, but got one when youngest child was 5 but couldn’t handle all three so adopted the dog out. Have since gotten an English bulldog that doesn’t like going for walks (that’s why I love the breed). A coworker of mine and a true dog lover, always says to think of it this way: Your dog could be sitting in a shelter in a 4×4 cage all alone without EVER going for walks, or he could be hanging out at your house, loved and well treated (even if you don’t brush him more than twice a year, which is about as much as I brush my dog). As long as he’s not acting out and destroying everything in the house, he’s pretty happy with life. Screw your neighbors and nosy joggers.
Try cat guilt… Especially now that my little furbaby boy has taken to sleeping in his little “cat house” and will only come out to eat, use his litter or maybe try to sneak out on us.
He was always my first baby (and still is, honest!!!!), but ever since we had our baby (earlier this year), let’s face it – he doesn’t get the attention he was used to.
Someone in my family made the comment when they were visiting the other day, as my furbaby ventured up onto my lap while the baby was napping. I was petting him and he started to purr and this family member said, “wow! I haven’t heard him purr in ages.”
Yep. I’ve neglected him and everyone is noticing.
I can completely relate.
To My Dog is Fine,
Your dog is probably a little confused and lonely but he has a home a will be incorporated back into an active family life when you have the time and energy. As for the other people, if they feel so bad for your dog then they can offer to take him for a play date, brush him or baby sit your child and give you a much needed break and get off of their high horse. I am a mom with grown children and grand children. I have a fur baby who is much spoiled. I feel guilty when my health problems keep me from taking him out on his walks and playing with his regular friends out in our local park. I know he really misses it because he goes to the front door and cries and begs to go out. I have a lot of guilt and realize that maybe I should not have gotten this little guy, but then I see other people with their dogs that stay at home all the time and never go out and don’t know what they are missing.
Things will get better and you and your family including the dog will be one big happy family again.
P. S. Next time you are out with the dog have his leash and brush with you and offer them up to the critics and smile and tell them that any spare time they have for him would be much appreciated.