Friday, January 25, 2013

Separation Whining and a Moment of Bliss

We have been blessed with dogs that do not suffer from separation anxiety, and little Remy shows no signs of developing it. He doesn't particularly relish being left in his crate when we step out of the house for a short time. He whines a bit at first (we listen from outside), but he quickly settles down to a nap. From day one, on the trip home from California, Remy has known that his crate is his safe place -- whether in the car, in the living room or in the bedroom. And when he's in it, he knows we will come back. I think this gives him comfort. It certainly did for Baxter and for Kirby starting from puppyhood.

Today's separation whining is mine. All mine. The dogs don't know I'm leaving for a couple of days.  My husband, Jamie, will be home to take care of them, so I'm not worried about that aspect.  He does the lion's share of the dog feeding, walking and puppy watching while I'm working upstairs in my home office during the day anyway (even though it has forced Jamie to adapt our kitchen into a makeshift art studio). I think they might miss me a little, dogs and husband, but I'm not really worried about that either. I will miss them all. And I rather look forward to the enthusiastic greetings I know I will receive when I get home.

No, this whining and vague hint of anxiety is about two things: 1) feeling guilty about leaving poor Jamie with 24/7 puppy duty for the whole weekend and 2) realizing that I've never been away from Remy for more than a few short hours at a time.

As I sit here on the sofa this morning, knowing I have a ton of things to do: packing, shopping, prepping food (this is a women's choir retreat and food is second only to music), I realize how very content I am to be here right now, in the early morning, sitting on the sofa writing on my laptop with little Remy curled up by my side chewing on a toy. He has positioned himself so that his back touches my elbow, like an extension of me. He feels me typing and I feel him chewing. This is bliss.

For me, sharing a quiet moment with a dog is often richer than sharing a quiet moment alone. There is a calmness that emanates from a dog -- even a puppy at times -- that is far more still and settled than my own, overly-busy mind. The dog brings a warmth, a solidity, a connection to the Earth that I, as a human, can too easily lose track of.  Right now, in this quiet, morning moment, Remy and I expect nothing of each other other than just being here.

And that is what I will miss the most this weekend.

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