It’s not that we neglect our two dogs, per se, it’s that they are rarely the center of our attention.
With me working full time during the day and my husband working in the evenings, it’s hard to sit down and just play with them sometimes. They try to give us kisses and get our attention when we are playing with our son but then the kid gets annoyed or the dogs get too rowdy and it’s just a hard situation to control.
My husband says that during the day they get plenty of attention so that I shouldn’t worry. But there are nights when they stare at me for over 10 minutes and just wait for me to pet them or acknowledge them and I feel awful. Yesterday, our lab followed me around the house for almost 20 minutes as I went to plug my phone in, change pillow cases, change my clothes, wash my face, grab snacks, organize things I forgot, check the alarm, etc. And when I finally sat down on the couch is when he laid down, too. And I have to constantly remind myself that these creatures revolve their lives around me and I want to make their lives the best as possible.
But what can I do when there is very little time for me and my husband to have conversations, let alone go to the dog park or plan some other fun activity for them?
I started buying them green beans to supplement their meals because it’s a somewhat healthy treat for them. I also pet them every time I see them even if it’s only for 5 seconds so they know that even though I’m running around putting away laundry or talking to someone else, I notice they’re there. And yes, I care.
I try to find time before my son or husband wake up on the weekends to just sit on the couch and cuddle them but then you get the one dog jealous of the other, and I just can’t win! I wish I had more hands! No, I don’t, but seriously it’s hard.
Sometimes they have to wait longer to go outside while I finish getting my son dressed or giving him a bath. Lately, our son yells at them, too.
‘Get out of the kitchen!’
‘Get off the couch!’
‘Get out of my room!’
So they get yelled at all the time. I’ve tried to be better about the words I choose so my son says ‘no thank you’ instead of ‘shut up’ (like we do to the dogs, oops).
Since it’s so cold where we live, I can’t take them for regular walks either. And walks are tough with both of them since the lab likes to jerk the leash and I’m too pregnant to be taking those risks right now but I’m sure they would at least appreciate a fenced in yard which we don’t have, of course.
Sometimes my husband will take one of the dogs for a short car ride to go with him somewhere. And on some days, I just lock myself in the room to do work alone and I’ll bring them with me. They’re content to just nap near my feet as long as they know I’m there and it’s so sweet!
But in general, I think we do a pretty mediocre job of keeping our pets happy sometimes. They seem to be sad or asking for more and I don’t know how to give it to them. I’ll keep trying, though, because I’m sure they appreciate the effort.
And they don’t know there’s a new baby coming yet, so they might be a little mad when they receive that rude surprise.