Friday, July 3, 2009

Pack Animals

My dog has a problem with luggage. I don't mean he owns too much of it, or that he has a sudden urge to bite someone when he smells an alligator bag. But it seems he's smart enough to know that luggage=change.

When duffel bags show up with my parents, he knows they'll be staying for a while; the pack will grow, the food dish will be moved, the schedule will vary. This happened last week, and it took him a day or so, but he adjusted. And then yesterday, out came the bags from the guest room, and the pack subsequently shrank again. Dog dishes were moved, and at bedtime he was once again relegated to the basement.

Yet he seemed content this morning: his own pack was here--kids, parents and no one else--and things seemed to have gone back to normal. But then my husband pulled out a list and a big backpack. Bailey immediately started pacing and whining.

"Wait, now YOU'RE leaving?!?" he seemed to cry. "What the (fill in doggie expletive here)?!" I truly believe if he had hands, he'd throw them up in despair.

And yet as anxious as he is about my husband and son leaving for sleep away camp, I know that he will be the only one of us whose behavior will subsequently even out and be most consistent for the week. He'll keep me on schedule with his walks and meals, he'll wrestle with Ben when he's missing his brother, and he'll cuddle with me when I'm missing them both. He seems to know better than all of us that there is safety--and comfort--in numbers.

We may be at the top of the food chain, but there's something to be said for animal instinct.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so funny. My dogs react to luggage too! They get really excited, because it usually means they're going in the car with us -- which they love! No happier dog than one with his nose out the car window! Even though it just means we're dropping them off at "grandma's" for babysitting while WE go on vacation, they still find it a thrill!