A Dog’s Life: A Story of Perspective

It must be morning; I’m hungry.
Then again, I’m always hungry, so it could really be any time.
I can hear the shower and feel the sun on my back, so I’m guessing the Boss is awake.
I lift my head off my bed and look down the passage .
I want a shower too.
Sometimes I try and get in but he won’t let me.
He’s not so happy in the mornings any more.
He used to be, but things have changed.
I think it’s stress.

Not really sure what that is, but I know it’s not good.
It’s a human thing.
I’ve heard him talk about it on the phone.
Don’t really know what a phone is either, but I know they’re good to chew.
Chewing’s one of my favourite things.

In the old days we wrestled every morning.
He’d pull my ears and I’d jump on his head.
These days, not so much.
Before he went to work, we’d play ball.
After work too.
He’d throw, I’d fetch.
He’d throw, I’d fetch.
What an amazing game.
Such fun.
He’d laugh and talk human. I’d growl.
I’d laugh if I could.
Mostly, I’d just wag my tail.
I think it’s sad that humans don’t have tails.
Sometimes he’d lose focus, so I would nudge him.
Maybe a little nip on the hand just to keep his head in the game.
How much fun can one Golden Retriever and one human have?

But lately he seems grumpy.

Sometimes, I wonder if he still loves me.
I lick him anyway because he’s my favourite human in the world.
I get so excited to see him.
When he hugs me, my tail wags all by itself.
I wonder why my kisses don’t make him happy like they used to.

In the good old days, we would walk to the park every day.
We’d hang out with other dogs and humans.
I mostly played with Kelvin the fat Labrador and the Boss would laugh with Kelvin’s human; a female who smelled like vanilla.
I licked her once.
She didn’t taste so good.
We don’t walk together much these days.
And when we do, he talks on the phone.
I hate that phone.
I’m gonna eat it when he’s not looking.

I liked it more when we lived in the first house.
The little one.
Three houses ago.
He played with me the most in that house.
I loved that place.
He was happier and he didn’t yell at me for getting on the couch.
Or chewing his shoes.
We used to watch TV together on the couch every night.
Well, I slept, he watched.

He would rest his hand on my head.
I like that.

Now we live in a big house, with a big stupid couch.
A stupid couch for humans only.
Not dogs.
I don’t like the big house or the big couch.
He makes me stay down on the stupid slippery polished floor boards.

The other day I slid into the table and hurt my nose.
Stupid floor boards.

When I was puppy we used to go everywhere together.
We would both ride in the old station wagon and I would put my head out the window.
Or on his lap.
It was the most fun ever.
I don’t know why humans don’t do it.
Head out the window, that is.
Don’t they know?

No more head out the window action for me these days though.
Mr Serious has a new fancy schmancy car.
Apparently, it’s a dog-free zone too.
On the rare occasion that I do get a ride, I have to lie on three blankets.
And no wind in my face.
What’s the point of that?
Like having a bone you can’t chew.

We used to go to the beach every weekend in that old station wagon.
We surfed together.
Well, he surfed, I chased seagulls, played in the waves and rolled in the sand.
He liked talking to the girl humans who wanted to play with me.
They only talked to him because I was there.
Sometimes he got kisses but I always got more.
On the way home I would put my wet, sandy, hairy body on the front seat and he was happy I was next to him.
I loved that car too.
Those were the days.
We haven’t done that since I was four.
Five years ago.

Too busy apparently.
Too busy being successful and important to have fun with me.
Glad I’m not successful, it doesn’t look like much fun.

But I’m so adorable, I don’t understand why he doesn’t miss me.
In fact, I don’t really understand him sometimes.
He’s meant to be smarter than me but lately, I’m not so sure.
I know I’m just a dog and I don’t really understand a lot of human stuff, but I do
know about fun and happiness.

He’s rarely happy these days.
And he’s always too tired to do anything.
Even when I pull his sleeve.
Or lick his face.
If he got rid of the stupid slippery floor, the dumb couch, the dumb car and played
with me more, then he would be happy.
Me too.

I used to sleep on the end of his bed.
Used to.
(heavy sigh)
But now he has a new dog-free bed too.
Of course.
It’s expensive and apparently I moult.
Whatever that means.
I hate that bed.
I chew the legs when he’s not around.

Next year we’re moving to another house.
A bigger one.
Maybe that will make him happy.
Hope so.
Doubt it though.
If I could speak, I’d tell him that too.
I don’t get the big house thing; there’s only him and me.
Us dogs don’t really care how big our kennel is, we just want to be near our human.

Anyway, I’m very excited about today.
I’m gonna hang out with Charlie for a while.
He’s my buddy from over the fence.
We made a hole so we can visit each other.
I’m not really sure what kinda dog he is, but it doesn’t matter.
He’s pretty smart but not quite as handsome as me.
We do fun stuff together every day.
Mostly we chase birds.
I hate those birds.
And we chew old lady Jacobs’ laundry baskets.
We’ve eaten three of them.

Baskets not birds.

Then I might lie in the sun.
And chew my foot for a while.
I might have a power-nap too.
Chasing birds makes me tired.

I reckon the Boss should lie in the sun with me.
And chew his foot for a while.
It’s relaxing.
It might help with his stress.

Whatever that is.

Craig Harper, B.Ex.Sci.

Craig Harper, B.Ex.Sci.

Craig Harper is one of Australia’s leading presenters, educators, coaches and commentators in the areas of health, fitness and personal development.

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