Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Dogless Days of August

Two weeks is longer than I've lived away from any dog since 1987. Six dogless days in, I'm ready to quit.

Mia is at Tenasity summer camp, learning to play well with other dogs, and I'm sure the trainers are exhausting her with down-staying, running the obstacle course, and tussling with other dogs.  This is good for her.  In June and July, I've been too busy biking, reading, blogging, to play tug of war with her nearly so much as she'd like.  She's probably sleeping better than ever, certainly better than I.

I, meanwhile, am a teacher on the last day before we report for duty, "ricocheting around the room," as Billy Collins once wrote.  Lesson plans to update, scripts to preview, pine straw to finish laying down in the yard, weeds to pull already poking up through the pine straw that I did lay down last month: and as I wander listlessly from one work station to another, I miss Mia's eyes.   Even if she stayed curled up in her bed, she kept track, and I kept checking up on her.  Is it just me, or do we all need an audience?

I get ice for a drink; she doesn't come running for a piece.  I come home, and she's not at the top of the stairs to celebrate. I finish making a meal, and soak the skillet, unlicked.  Now I believe the 70s love song by Bacharach and David:  "A house is not a home / when there's no one there...."

Her absence has emboldened the neighborhood squirrels.  One has learned to scale my kitchen window, leap at the bird feeder, and spill its contents for his two buddies to sample. I shouldn't complain: I put the feeder up to attract little friends to keep Mia entertained when I was away.  She loves to watch the squirrels from behind the doggie door, to pounce just when she feels like it.  Now I'm the one running out there every ten minutes.  

My colleagues and I shake our heads over "helicopter parents."  But now I sympathize.  If I could get 24-hour monitoring, I'd use it.   Is she learning?  Has she made friends?  Will she even remember me when I come to pick her up?  Will I fail to sustain her new discipline -- or her interest? 

Hurry, August.  Let's get this over with.

1 comment:

George said...

A delightful take on being temporarily "dogless," Scott! I trust that you and Mia are now back to the way you used to be before she went off for "training"!