I don't have kids, I have dogs. My dogs are at least as well behaved as most people's children and since people cart their snotty, ignorant little brats everywhere and assume everyone thinks that they're cute, I do the same with my dogs.
As with children, however, some places are just not appropriate.
This was a quandary I ran into this weekend. I can finagle my canines into many locales, especially when family is concerned, but a memorial service just isn't one of them, nor should it be. There was no question that the dogs would not be accompanying us this weekend, only a question of what we would do with them. Nivek was so easy, he used to go stay with my parents, but to be perfectly blunt, my parents are not dog people, they are cat people. In many ways, Nivek was like a big cat, so that was no problem. Nuka and Duke, on the other hand, well, lets just say I would be more inclined to ask someone I don't like to watch them for me then people I love.
I also wasn't sure what our schedule would be, so to be safe, I booked the dogs into the kennel for Friday and Saturday night and dropped them off Friday afternoon. I packed their food and some treats and that was it. It was a little weird without them underfoot, but also kind of nice. There was plenty on my mind this weekend without two foolish animals thrown into the mix.
What really struck me Saturday, after all of the depressing stuff, was the family gathering afterwards. There were two dogs present, my uncle's dog, Holly, a long haired Jack Russell, and my cousin's dog, Molly, an American Eskimo (I would have taken their picture, but it did not occur to me to take my camera to this kind of event. Lesson learned, take camera everywhere). It didn't bother me that they were present, I am never going to complain about dogs, what struck me was how good they were!
My Uncle has a very cute bungalow, with a very cute yard, and both are on the small side of things. Let me tell you, it is no easy task to cram thirty members of my boisterous family in this type of space and keep them comfortable, break out the dogs and the kids, and you have a family tragedy in the making.
Holly and Molly greeted everyone calmly with wagging tails. No jumping, no barking. They did a lot of sniffing and following around, no doubt trying to make some sense of all the loud, obnoxious weirdos suddenly in their midst. Mostly though, they just found a shady corner and laid down, completely out of the way, no trouble to any one or anything.
To be fair to less stellar animals, (example = mine) once the barbecue began, there was some definite begging on the part of Molly and Holly, but to be fair to them, there was some definite covert feeding going on as well.
I officially stand back in awe of these two sweet and well behaved little girls. I also have to ask myself a tough question, are my dogs so unruly because of me? Surely temperament has something to do with it, as does age, training not so much in this particular situation because I know that these two animals have no more formal training then mine do. Is it because mine are rescues? Because they have some, ahem, issues? Or, is it because of me? Do I somehow bring out the worst in my animals because I'm anxious about their behaviour? Food for thought.
At the end of the day, I'm sure it's a combination of reasons, but in the future, I will make a conscious effort not to sabotage my dogs performance with my own worries. Then maybe they'll have a better chance of putting on a quality show.
Thanks, Molly and Holly!