Monday, May 7, 2012

The truth about Neil and dogs

While I've never seen the movie "The Truth about Cats and Dogs" with Uma Thurman (in fact, I just had to Google who was even in the movie), I felt the need to share my most recent experiences with one of my new found four-legged friends.

But a little backstory first. I always have to put the disclaimer out there that I am neutral towards all types of animals. It's not that I don't like them... the best way to sum it up is that I don't need them. Usually the four-legged creatures and I have a mutal understanding: you have four legs, I have two; you have fur, I do not. And then we go about our business.

I am a unique blend of my parents when it comes to animals. If it were up to my dad, he would have a zoo in the house - he always had dogs and cats (inside) growing up. My mom, on the other hand, was raised on a farm where animals served their purpose. The barn cats ate the mice and the dogs herded cattle - none of them were inside animals. I fall somewhere in the middle. My dad can be a dog whisperer and animals always try to win my mom over, never with any success. I fall in the middle that they usually ignore me after they realize I won't give them any attention.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I WILLINGLY offered to dogsit for Brooke and Zach's one year old labradoodle named Beuaregard.

Beau and I have had a unique relationship sincce I met him last August. I tend to forget he's a dog and he tends to forget I'm a human who is neutral toward animals. Our first adventure included me dogsitting for a few hours last December when his humans had a work event in Charlottesville. We survived the day (at my apartment no less) and even went on a three-mile run. We paced well together. After that, Brooke would bribe me with dinner every now and again if I would come run with Beau to tire him out. I knew I was headed for disaster when I would always agree (I think it was more for the food!)

I had Beau from a Friday evening - Thursday morning. I decided to stay at Brooke and Zach's as to not disrup his routine (apparently I liked the little creature.) While he obviously knew something was amiss when it was me who always returned for the week and not his humans. However, he really didn't seem to mind. We talked (well, I did more of the talking), we laughed, we chased things. We played with his new friend Georgia and went for a run. We watched GCB. He even slept in his crate three of the nights I was there after sleeping in the same room as me was not really successful.

After the adventure that was last week, my stance on dogs (well-behaved ones anyway that I think are more human than dog) has been altered somewhat. Right now, I feel the same way about human-like dogs as I do children: they are fine to borrow but then need to go back to their humans. Am I ready to get a dog anytime soon? No. (Just like I'm not ready for the small, two-legged creatures as well.) Does this maybe think there could be a dog in my future? The jury is still out. Having a dog is a major life-decision and life-changing. It was fun for a week but not something I am ready to commit to for longer than that. I'm happy to give his humans a break when they need one, or to take him running when he needs to be tired.

And one other self-disclaimer - I have his picture on my desk. When people comment on the dog, I politely explain that he belongs to my friends but I happily serve as his uncle.