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!