Duke's Scoop

Yes, my dogs help me in managing this time of social distancing. How? In several ways actually.

I find them entertaining – sometimes good entertainment and sometimes not so good. One-year-old Willow and nearly 5-year-old Cooper tend to spend several times each day wrestling and playing tug and running around the house in circles and then jumping onto a nearby bed. Willow does the circling and Cooper waits for the “attack.”

If bored, even after an off-leash romp in the woods, they tend to look for ways to “entertain” me. The kitchen garbage can – inside a cabinet, mind you – is a favorite victim of Cooper’s. If I forget to hook up the bungee cord, he’ll drag it out and scatter it all over the kitchen floor. I think he likes to watch me pick it up and tell him he’s a bad boy. Willow is learning from him.

Both dogs provide companionship – often when I’m engrossed in reading. I’m sure they think I am ignoring them and I am – or trying to. But a big dog – golden retriever – in your lap or scratching at your leg tends to get my attention away from the book and onto them. Though I do enjoy reading without the overt attention-getting interruptions from these two. You’d think they got no affection.

My dogs are nonjudgmental. They don’t care what I wear, how my hair looks (badly in need of a haircut from a professional), if I accomplish anything productive or take out the garbage or fold the laundry. They just adore me the way I am. In large part because I feed them and they get taken for walks daily by me or my husband. Oh, and treats are near the top of their likes, and they know what time to expect them. Woe to you if you have forgotten, but all is forgiven when you finally remember.

We dog owners know our pups tell time. It’s a routine that keeps one healthily engaged in the real world. I might be so engrossed in a book or trying or catch another 10 minutes of sleep, but, no, it’s morning food time. Rise and shine, woman! We’re hungry. And then it’s “walkie” time followed by late afternoon food time. And as the evening wears on, it’s now treat time. You don’t dare miss any of these important daily milestones.

Which brings me to a very important concept taught to us by our dogs that helps us stay mentally with it: living in the moment. I have a tendency to always look ahead and plan for the next hour or day or week. There is no planning on their part except for how to coerce me into sharing whatever I’m eating. When I’m overwhelmed I remember them just lying around enjoying their day. It’s a reminder I need.

Then there’s exercise. I’m quite capable of inventing excuses to not exercise, but there they are standing at the door jumping in circles of anticipation of a walk or run in the woods. We can’t deny them, and so it works out for all of us.

Where can you get such willing entertainment, companionship, inspiring examples of how to live calmly with a boost to your exercise program (or lack thereof)? Your dog(s). Enjoy and learn.

Judy Lore does live with two rather large furry entities. And they do keep her entertained and at times perplexed and annoyed. But she says they are loyal friends who are cherished.