Tag Archives: dogs are faithful companions

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!

Good/bad

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.

Dogs never tell

Fran on Friday

Dogs are our faithful companions.Got a secret? Tell it to your dog – he’ll never tell! Over the years our dogs have been our sounding boards for our biggest ideas. Our best friends to whom we tell everything. Our pillows when we’re tired. Our body warmers when it’s cold. Our audience. Our face washers. Our playmates. Our training partners.

When we’re happy, we tell our dogs. When we’re sad we cry on our dogs. When things aren’t going right, our dogs sometimes witness our tantrums. If I yell, my dogs think I’m yelling at them – then they always get treats. When things are going right, our dogs get some of the rewards.

The point is, our dogs are always with us. They’re our constant companions at home. They’ll never tell any of our secrets. (Even if they wanted to!) Our duty is to make sure that our faithful friends are taken care of. Always have fresh water. Always put down the most nutritious, tasty food in just the right amount. Exercise our dogs when they need it. Play with our dogs for fun. Train our dogs so that they know what’s expected of them. Our dogs can’t take care of themselves, so we have to take care of them. I’ll always do my best.