I haven’t been taking good care of my dog.
Oh, he’s fed and clean. He can go in and out anytime he pleases. He has a warm comfy place to sleep. quite a few of those, actually. He has toys and everything he could wish for, except the most important thing, attention.
I have legitimate excuses: the kids school schedule, my work schedule, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, husband being unable to walk, kids too young to take him out to walk without me, and so on.
One day I noticed Max didn’t even bother coming downstairs when we got home. He must have known we would just continue to go about our business without giving him more than a pat in passing. I went up to check on him and it was hot up there, we were having an unusual heat wave.
I brought him downstairs and checked him all over, unable to remember the last time I had thoroughly done so. With a heavy heart I noticed hot spots under his arms and a sore on his belly where he had scratched himself and was unable to dry out in the heat.
I felt awful. I am an animal abuser. The very thing I speak out against. This was neglect. No way to sugar coat it. I gave him a bath and doctored him all up immediately. Then called an emergency family meeting.
I explained how we had been treating, or rather completely ignoring, our dog, a member of our family as much as any one of us. I showed them his sore and hot spots and asked my young kids if it would be okay for me to treat them the way we’d been treating Max. No! We all cried and vowed to do better.
Each and every one of us came up with something we could do to care for Max and hold each other accountable.
My kids, 4 and 7 years old, said they will play with him with his toys at least once a day. They will remind me, and be willing, to take Max for walks and out to places where he can run, such as the dog park, as often as possible. Even my husband, though he is injured, will walk him before bed each night. I will continue to care for his basic needs, but also give him plenty of affection as well as walks. I will make or adjust our plans to go places that would be better for Max.
One Happy Family
Since then, Max quickly healed, is played with and walked daily, taken out for an adventures about every other day, and cuddled and loved more than ever. He sure looks and acts happier!
I am determined never to let our busy lives ever get in the way again. It makes me wonder just how many dogs are in the same situation and since they can’t speak up, are forgotten in the rush hour of busy, busy lives by well meaning people.
Don’t think you only have time to feed and clean your pet. They need to be shown just as much love as you yourself need!
I have Pomeranians, they don’t let you forget them, they are talkative. They will harass you until they feel they have been given their due attention. Hahaha. We all do it from time to time, get busy and don’t stop for a moment. Mine need their hair brushed a lot of and their teeth. Once your too busy one day, it will snow ball until you find yourself two broken slicker brushes later, a giant pile of under coat, and a pissed off Pom because they have been brushed for 20 minutes.
Don’t beat yourself up, we are all human. We can’t be perfect like our dogs : )
L. E. Mastilock says
Thank you! That is very true. Sounds like your poms have a great doggie mama
Cascadian Nomads Bethany says
Thank you so much for this honest post. I catch myself neglecting my boys sometimes as well. When I find myself asking them why they are bothering me when I fed them and took them for a long walk I stop and realize that they aren't bothering me, they are choosing to be near me which is the whole reason I have them living with me to begin with! These are also the moments I realize it is time for petting, massages and checks that have been lost by the wayside for too long (which can be just one day!) Even pet bloggers aren't perfect pet people but we keep learning and growing.
L. E. Mastilock says
Thank you for sharing, so hard to remember that when you're on a deadline, but so true. They are choosing to share those moments with us and give their love. Lets help each other remember to give it right back and not feel "bothered".
How sad for the poor pup, but great that you realized he felt neglected and you did something about it. It is great for the kids too! Thanks for joining the hop.
It is hard to find time to always be a good pet owner–don't beat yourself up too much; I think we've all been there at some point! It's kind of a double-edged sword–you have to work to be able to pay for all of their needs and to be able to get to all of the fun places they like to adventure, but when you go to work, they get neglected. I find that there's rarely enough time to do everything I want to do as well as I want to do it.
Jen deHaan | DOGthusiast.com | StylishCanine.com says
Lovely teaching post! When I started working from home, I noticed a big difference particuarly in Mort – just being around seemed to "exhaust" him more. If I ever end up back in an office, I really have to remember this. But even then, being at home, I don't take enough breaks to visit and do things with them. I am blessed to have this opportunity, and yet don't take advantage of being here like I should. This post is a great reminder.
Stephen Pelletier says
Good story with a great teaching point. Hope that it sticks with your family and others who read the post!
Jenna,Mark Drady says
wow. props to you for being able to be honest about it. What counts is that you realized, and solved the issue. Max is one lucky pup to have such a wonderful family!.
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
L. E. Mastilock says
Thank you. It was hard to be completely honest, but I know I'm not the only one. I hope it will help others think about how well they're really caring for their animals. Thanks Jenna