Whole Dog Journal's Blog October 24, 2018

Coming Home to My Dogs

Posted at 03:41PM - Comments: (8)

Traveling is great, but my dogs are better.

Like most dog owners, my dogs top the list of things I have to deal with when I come home from a trip. I was away from home for five nights and six days, having traveled to Memphis for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers’ annual conference (which was awesome), and then one extra night in San Diego, to watch my son compete in the national championship for his sport (which was not quite as fun; his team lost in the finals and he got a minor concussion!).

I landed at the Sacramento Airport on Sunday night at around 10 p.m. By the time I got my bags, took a shuttle to my car in the long-term lot, and got onto the highway, it was about 11. By the time I got home, after 12.

Planet Dog Squeak balls

Woody's mortal weakness: the Planet Dog Squeak ball - that's $17 down the tubes

My husband was asleep on the couch, “waiting up” for me. He was awakened rudely by the loud thumping of Woody’s tail, which strongly whacked everything he walked by – the fridge, the door, the washing machine (I left my bags in the laundry area). My husband grumbled a greeting and went to bed. I stayed up for a bit, unwinding from the road and letting Woody help unpack my suitcase. I had bought a bunch of fleecy toys from a booth at the conference (at an irresistible special price!) and he found each and every one and took them out of my suitcase. He also sniffed long and hard at the sample bags of dog treats that had been in the conference registration bag. “Hey! Mom! Look! Candy!” All those got zipped back into my suitcase once my clothes were sorted out; I would take them to the office the next day.


Click to see Woody and puppies!

I woke up Monday morning at 7 a.m. Central time – otherwise known at 5 a.m. Pacific time. I got up, and took a stroll with Woody around our property, throwing what’s left of his favorite $17 ball. My husband played fetch with Woody a lot while I was gone, to keep Woody’s energy in check, but he often forgets to take away the ball after the last throw. These Planet Dog Squeak balls are like crack for Woody - he loves them like no other. They last a loooong time – but only if I don’t let Woody have unsupervised time with the ball. The balls hold up well to bouncing, getting caught, and the incidental chewing that happens while Woody brings it back, but it can’t take the intense, extended chewing of an unsupervised dog with massive, strong jaws. I made a mental note to add a new one to my next online food order.

A friend was hosting six of the 10 foster puppies I had been caring for all month; on the day I left town, I had left the four largest puppies at the shelter. They had spay/neuter surgery on Wednesday and went on the adoption row on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Disappointingly, not one had been adopted. Puppies usually fly off the shelves at my shelter, but we have had several large litters up for adoption recently. Dang! Born into a puppy glut. The shelter is closed on Sunday, so my friend had picked up the four who had been altered, so they could have Saturday night, all day Sunday, and Sunday night outside and in a home environment.

So as soon as the sun came up, I drove over to her house to pick up the four pups who had been altered and bring them back to my house. Woody and I then led them all over the property and got them good and tired before delivering them back to the shelter at 10 a.m., when the kennels open for adoption hours. This way, they sleep all day at the shelter, instead of getting stressed and whiny.

woody and otto napping

I had left Otto with my sister Pam and her husband, so he could be spoiled at their house while I was gone. At my house, Otto sleeps on either a big, comfy dog bed or the couch. At my sister’s house, he has staked out the extra high, extra plush, queen-sized bed in her guest room as his very own. My sister reports with glee, “He sleeps with his head on the pillows, even!” Personally, I think he likes it because it’s the only place my sister’s little dogs can’t reach; he doesn’t like being touched while he sleeps.

Pam has Mondays off, so she brought Otto to my office shortly after I got back from dropping off the puppies at the shelter. I got to greet Otto as Woody greeted my sister, holding his face in my hands and kissing his forehead, which he likes. Then he grumbled as Woody excitedly greeted him. “Get out of my face you dithering idiot!” he roared. But his tail was wagging.

sleeping mixed breed puppies

Puppies all tired out and ready to spend the day in the shelter

Ah…everyone back where they are supposed to be –at least until we can get all of these foster pups adopted. Travel is fun, but getting home to my dogs is the best.

Comments (8)

Try 15 minutes. We just lost one who never went longer than that without looking for me. Over the years I got completely used to making sure he knew where I was at all times. No pet, no animal, no person ever showed such devotion or left so big an emptiness. Value yours every minute.

Posted by: dante_lanzetta@sbcglobal.net | October 28, 2018 8:12 PM    Report this comment

Spill: check in with Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento. A great shelter with lots of great programs. They must need foster people. (Most great shelters do!)

Posted by: WDJ Editor Nancy Kerns | October 28, 2018 1:23 PM    Report this comment

I try not to stay away from our dogs for long. I run errands away from the home, looking at my watch, and trying to get back as soon as possible. My dogs are my priority. Many people don't have dogs due to dogs being demanding. You can't leave them alone overnight like cats, although I don't like seeing this done to even cats. That said, these dogless people have made their choice. I am a stay-at-home dogmom, and I love it. Nothing compares to the love and joy that dogs give--and receive. I was raised to see dogs as my siblings, and now I see them as my children. Dogs are all heart, and if one undertakes to adopt one (or two or three!) we must give them ours--totally.

Posted by: Three Dog Mom | October 26, 2018 8:49 PM    Report this comment

I had a wonderful lab who used to smile when I came home from business trips. And another who would wine with excitement.

They too were tough chewers and I was very happy to find a company called West Paw - they make toys here in the USA and each toy is for a different strength of chewer. Some of the toys even float. We've had the one shaped like a bone and another shaped like a ball and they held up to my toughest chewers.

Posted by: JoANNie | October 26, 2018 3:59 PM    Report this comment

I also live in Sacramento and I am looking to foster dogs. Do you have any advice?

Posted by: spill | October 26, 2018 1:33 PM    Report this comment

Always, always the best part of coming home is being greeted by my pups. One will grab a toy, ball, bone, whatever, and run around making crying noises through it. My younger girl has picked up the habit, but instead of the crying noises, leaps and tears around madly in excitement. This all can happen just after a trip to the grocery store!

Posted by: MJC | October 26, 2018 9:52 AM    Report this comment

thank god for dogs' love!!! They remind us what love is when people forget. They are always there for us...we need to be there for them more often...can't figure out how anyone in the path of a hurricane can leave a pet??!!! I love remembering how one of my dogs used to run around the house in zoomie mode at my return! Miss my little Buddy for some of his funny antics like the zoomies and the way he'd find just the perfect hiding spot for a bone or toy. Miss my pal! RIP Budman! Thanks for all your love and letting me love you the way i needed to love!

Posted by: meanmorgan | October 25, 2018 6:05 PM    Report this comment

There is nothing close to the greeting you get from your dogs when you get home - each different but the same!
And sometimes it’s having only gone out a hour! ๐Ÿ˜„

Posted by: Judo | October 25, 2018 1:39 PM    Report this comment

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