When we first brought our dog Bandit home around a year ago I had a similar thought to when my first child was born. Am I enough for him? Can I give him enough attention and love, and stimulate his brain? I also was overwhelmed by the thought that even though I have had dogs all my life this one was different, and I had a lot to learn.
Since that day when I hooked him on the leash and headed for our house, I ask myself questions every day that I didn’t ask myself with dogs in the past. I wonder if he needs to play more, should I take him through his tricks again, what does he need from me?
The problem is that I have confessed these insecurities to two friends and they both have responded with, “He is just a dog.” They tell me my wants and needs are the most important and the dog can lie in the corner while I do what I need to do.
Now, I understand what they are saying. I should not be as anxious as I am about what the dog needs, but I don’t think our dogs are ever just a dog. They become part of our family. They steal our hearts, and we want to give them the best we can. They listen to our problems and seem to know when we need some company. When they die we mourn them as we would a friend or family member.
My grandson is one week older than our dog and they are buddies. Parker will play with Bandit more than anyone else, and Bandit is so gentle with him. My daughter is somehow missing their bond because the other day she said to me, “Mom, he’s a lot.” I thought to myself, “Yes, he is and he is so much more than just a dog.”
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