Regular readers of my blog will know that I love my dog Loki. But as with most things in life having a dog is not not always a dance on roses. There are days when I think that the expression should be it’s a dog-owner’s life. Because, let’s face it, dog’s have it pretty good. Most of the time they have us wrapped around their little paws.
1. Enduring the dog weather days
Earlier today I found myself standing under a tree, sheltering from a deluge, while Loki barked at me, upset that we were not continuing our walk. Getting a dog means giving up one’s right to stay at home on rainy days. During my time as a dog owner I have walked though thunderstorms and blizzards, been scorched by blazing sunshine and almost hit by falling branches. As in many other languages, in Finland we use the expression “Dog weather” (koiranilma) to describe stormy and rainy weather. Apparently the expression comes from the days when dogs were almost always outside, so therefore bad weather was only for dogs. Well, Loki wants out irrespective of the weather and the yard does not cut it!
2. Let sleeping dogs lie but humans, that’s another matter
There is nothing cuter than Loki’s face. But at 6 o’clock on Sunday morning I do not feel like opening my eyes to a gaping jaw framed by impressive canines. And while it is nice to receive a kiss, being woken by a large tongue drenching my face in saliva is not my idea of a peaceful morning. On top, Loki puts on a one-man musical show to encourage me to get out of bed (read more about the canine alarm)
3. No dogging it at playtime…
… and playtime is all the time. When it comes to fetching, Loki is an eternally wound up toy. I used to sit and write in peace. I used to be a lazy couch potato and sleep in on Sundays. But Loki will not allow that. Nowadays when I slump into the sofa after a long day at work it is followed by the hopeful look of a dog with a ball in his mouth. And only a heartless person can deny Loki the pleasure of fetching the ball for you. So no more leaning back in the sofa and watching the tv screen through half closed eyes. Instead I sit on the edge of my seat trying desperately to switch focus between the dog and the TV. If I tell him to drop the ball, he will stop, but in 5 minutes he is back, as hopeful as ever.
4. My home is going to the dogs
Like any proper dog Loki enjoys splashing around in muddy puddles and investigating the more mysterious corners of the forest. Or perhaps he emerges from a pond carrying vegetation on his nose as in the picture on the left. Whatever the cause, he manages to carry nature with him into the apartment. Muddy paw prints, pieces of branches, leaves and grass now adorn my home. And it is not only the outside that spreads in my apartment. I love Loki’s furry head and the mane at the scruff of his neck. But somehow his fur is able to be in two places at once. Because while I can clearly see that Loki is as furry as ever, there is also an entire dog worth of fur stuck to the carpet and lurking in the corners of our apartment. No amount of vacuuming can keep the apartment fur free. We have contemplated beginning a business; dog hair pillows, anyone? (I recommend this brilliant article about the curse of dog hair by Jeffrey Shaffer in the Christian Science Monitor.)
5. Oh! Those puppy eyes
Every week-day morning my heart breaks when I leave for work. I get ready while Loki whines uncertainly, and takes strategic positions (eg. on my feet or in front of the door). He waves his tale hopefully, telling me that he would be happy to come along. And then the moment comes when I am ready to go. I tell him “bye bye”. He knows the meaning of those words and it is as if his worst fears have come true. He sits in the hallway with a forlorn look in those beautiful brown eyes. He does not bark or whine. He knows that I am leaving and that I will not change my mind. He just looks at me and breaks my heart.