Tag Archives: dogs are faithful companions

Dogs take care of us, too!

This week we got a great reminder of how our dogs take care of us. Hope was “down for the count” – about 36 hours with fever, chills, nausea, and a blinding headache. The worst part? She couldn’t even call in sick – it happened on her day off.

These dogs take care of us

Fran was a bit concerned. Dealing with four dogs, two of them absolute nut-jobs (the Boston Terriers, of course!), when you’re not feeling well sounds like a bit much. She shouldn’t have worried. It’s like the dogs have a supernatural sense of what we need from them. 

When we can cope with the nuttiness, they’re goofballs. When we can’t, they rise to the occasion. This week they cuddled the whole time – no playing “bitey-face,” or wrestling. Simon didn’t even bat at Tango’s beard to aggravate him. Okay, that’s a lie. He did it once, but it was half-hearted at best.

Dogs take care of us

Hope shifted between a couple of sick-beds – one the couch in the family room and the other her actual bed. She’s never actually hosted all four dogs at night, so the bedroom didn’t work out so well. Fortunately, she falls asleep on the couch in the family room on a regular basis, so the dogs all know their cuddle spots.

Torque, Hope’s 6-year-old French Bulldog, prefers knees. Whether resting his head on them or curled up behind them doesn’t seem to matter. He’s equally content. And once he settles, there’s not much that gets him moving, other than the promise of treats. He may look up if you ask him if he wants to go outside, but he may not, too.

Tango (Fran’s 12-year old Brussels Griffon) isn’t an in-touch guy. He wants to be near, but needs his own space. And it has to be long enough for him to stretch out – none of this curling-up nonsense for Tango!

Special, indeed

Then we come to the Bostons. We’ve mentioned before how “special” Booker is. Life is difficult for Bookie, so we try to keep his routine as predictable as possible. This occasion was extremely routine-disruptive, but Fran’s 8-year-old boy outdid himself. He was only incredibly annoying once! 

Incredibly annoying in Booker terms, consists of sitting immediately next to you on the couch, facing you, staring into your face, and if you’re not petting him, pawing (clawing) at your arm. As dog trainers, we know how to stop the behavior. We’ve taught Booker the word “Relax!” which means he’s supposed to lie down next to us, paws to himself, and we will pet him. To explain how “special” Booker is, we have to reteach him this behavior every single day. Multiple times each day. Yesterday, we only went through it once! Good boy, Booker!

And then there’s Simon

Simon is a two-year-old Boston Terrier. He’s astonishingly smart, incredibly headstrong, sweet when he wants to be, and supremely selfish. Simon wants what he wants when he wants it, and he doesn’t want anyone getting in his way.

And yet. This week Simon curled up nicely next to the patient, sighed sweetly, and napped most of the day. And that’s how our wonderful dogs take care of us.

Vandalism caused by the virus

The Covid 19 virus is responsible for all kinds of changes in our lives. 

Among the most notable for us this week – because the neighborhood around our shop is a ghost town, thieves helped themselves to Hope’s car’s catalytic converter. In the village parking lot, in broad daylight, with a power tool. And nobody saw. Nobody heard. The first clue was when Hope closed the shop on Tuesday evening, got in her car, and heard the roar of a vehicle without a working emissions system.

Picture of a vandalized car, caused by the virus
There used to be a catalytic converter on the end of that cut pipe.

We know it’s just a thing. It’s already in the shop for repairs. We’re using it as an example of how much life has changed for all of us in the last week. These are frightening times, for us, too. Nobody seems to be shopping, either in person or online, except for “quarantine” supplies. We actually started a Google spreadsheet, open to everyone, to list their small businesses. We’re hoping that those still fortunate enough to have a steady paycheck will support us, and other tiny companies, that are struggling right now.  

We’re trying to stay upbeat and cheerful, and, honestly, if it weren’t for our dogs, I’m not sure we’d be successful. 

Dogs are our sanity

Aside from staying in evenings, instead of going to training classes, our normal routine is pretty much the same. But we know many people’s lives have been even more drastically disrupted and your dogs may be acting unsettled and jumpy.

We’ve shared studies verifying that dogs are emotional creatures – just like us. Not only that, they’re also highly attuned to the emotions of the people they love. If you’re worried about the virus, chances are your dog is picking up on your tension and may be acting out simply because he doesn’t know what else to do.

If you’re now working from home, or staying close to home as a precaution, your dog’s going to be delighted. At first. After a couple of days, the dogs will figure out it’s not the weekend, and their schedules have undergone a major change. 

Since dogs love routine, switching gears isn’t the easiest thing for them. They may find it impossible to settle, or find a comfortable place for themselves. If you have more than one dog, best buddies may start getting on each other’s nerves. The best thing to do is establish a new routine for the dogs, including some activities that will exercise their brains as well as their bodies. 

And we understand that in some areas, the option of going for a nice, long walk is restricted. And not everyone has access to a fenced yard for fetch. So what can you do?

Schedule “together” time

We’ve mentioned how, before we go to work, we have little game sessions with our dogs every day. It doesn’t take long, about five minutes each, but they love it (so do we!). It has other benefits as well – we start every day with a smile. Playing with our dogs does that.  

It also gives them a structure for their day. They know they’re going to play hard for a little bit – each one individually. They each get “mom’s” undivided attention. And they know when their turn is over, they get their favorite treats and they’re done. It’s time to go take a nap. That routine is well-established and welcome.

If you’re not sure what to do for your play sessions, we’re inviting you to check out our training method – the 2-Minute-Trainer. Membership, with full access to the beginning guide, all videos, photos, and tips, is free for the first two weeks. 

The benefits are countless for both of you. You grow your relationship, communication, and bond with your dog. And your dog, just by playing games with you, becomes an even better companion, with excellent manners and a vocabulary of words and behaviors that will delight both of you. 

Dogs are our happy place

Personally, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for Hope. The saving grace through all of it has been spending time with our dogs. Dogs are our happy place.

Specifically – the three sucky things that happened were:

  • Just as Hope and Torque were ready to enter the Obedience Competition ring, a smooth collie stuck its nose up Torque’s butt and he consequently lost all focus and attention. This was after driving 90 minutes in driving rain to get to the obedience trial site. 
  • Hope was stung on the top of her foot by a yellow jacket wasp as she took out the trash from dog-food-making day. She does not react well to bites/stings.
  • And in completely non-dog-related suckitude, the clothes rod in her closet came out of the wall, dumping everything on the floor in a giant heap.

None of these incidents is life-shattering. And Hope is generally a pretty even-keeled person, a glass-half-full kind of woman.

Taken together, they were a bit overwhelming. 

Thank goodness we have dogs!

French Bulldog leaning on woman

Nothing soothes the turmoil of sucky days better than some time spent cuddled with your dog. Psychologists break it down into five ways dogs make us feel better: Dogs improve mood, make you feel loved, lower your stress, help you be social, and keep you healthy and fit.

Hope’s Torque is a wonderful happy place ambassador – he loves to hug. And cuddle. When you need to rant, your dog just listens, or even kisses your face. He doesn’t try to “fix it,” or want you to stop talking. He just looks at you with those gorgeous puppy-dog eyes and lets you talk it out. Hope felt so much better. You better believe Torque got extra treats for being such a good therapist.

Torque isn’t very photogenic – dark dogs are very hard to take pictures of. But we think he’s gorgeous, inside and out.

In a love/hate dog relationship

It’s a love/hate relationship. We’re obsessed with dogs. We live with them, own a business about them. Our hobbies are training dogs and going to dog shows. 

That being said – it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. It’s a love/hate dog relationship. Like most connections – it’s complicated!

Love/hate together

Our dogs are always happy to see us. No matter how incredibly crappy the day has been, the traffic was awful, nothing worked right, the weather sucked – your dog is delighted you’re home. He’s at the door, wiggling his little butt (no tail!). Just because you walked in – his life is complete. We don’t know anybody who gets that reaction from another person. Can you imagine walking in and your dog glances up from his phone, says “hey!” and goes back to his game? 

On the other hand – we’re always on the clock. If our dogs aren’t with us, our time out is limited. Especially with a puppy in the house.

In the same vein – there’s no such thing as a spontaneous get-away. We can’t just pack up and take off for a weekend. Even though there are more and more places accepting dogs as guests – it’s not a “given.” Plans have to be made, packing has to be done. And the dogs require much more “stuff” than the people!


Dogs are up for whatever you want to do. Play time? Sure, let’s do it! Nap time? Absolutely, let’s chill! Cuddle and watch a movie? Especially if there’s popcorn! You never have to worry about being alone.

But you never get to be alone, either. Not even in the bathroom. We’ve drawn the line at the shower, but the dogs aren’t always happy about it. One even whines outside the door like a little baby – not mentioning Torque’s name here.

Tell us about it

dog tilting his head

The good thing is that dogs can’t talk. You can tell them anything – your deepest, darkest secrets. And they’ll never reveal a thing. And when you do talk to dogs, they listen. They get that adorable head tilt. We fall for it every time. And nobody thinks you’re crazy, talking out loud, if your dog is there.

The bad thing is that dogs can’t talk. Like when they don’t feel good and can’t tell you what’s wrong, where it hurts, or that something’s not right. We’re huge admirers of veterinarians. They have to be detectives – solving mysteries for clients who can’t reveal their secrets.

The biggest love/hate of all

We love that we get to experience the unconditional love of dogs. Their devotion to their people is unmatched.

We hate that it’s never long enough.