Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gone to the Dogs

I used to have white carpets.  I used to take long vacations in a wide variety of places that may or may not have accepted pets.  I used to wear black skirts, and vacuum twice a week instead of twice a day.  I used to drive a sports car. Then came the dogs, and everything changed.
Suddenly I was training dogs, dancing with dogs, competing with dogs, traveling with dogs, reading about dogs, talking about dogs,  studying about dogs.  I took up agility, rally obedience,  hiking, flyball and canine musical freestyle to give my dogs something to do.  And because I did not want to embarrass my dogs on the field of competition, I began a rigorous fitness program just to keep up with them.  My weekends revolved around agility trials and freestyle competitions, and my week days were filled with training and therapy dog visits.  The best vacations I ever had were at dog camp.
I make my living writing novels.  I've done fairly well at it, and have even won a few awards.  But nothing I ever did as a novelist got me interviewed on Japanese television, or featured in an hour long cable t.v. special, or spotlighted in as many newspapers or local broadcasts as my dogs have done.  The only mention I ever got in the New York Times was not for one of my stellar works of fiction, but for dancing with my dog.   
Today my floors are hardwood, stone and tile. I don't wear skirts much anymore, or anything that is black or non-washable.  I drive a mini-van because it takes a big car to comfortably transport multiple dogs and all their equipment.  I walk two miles a day because when you have dogs, staying in is not an option.  I used to stay at the Four Seasons and dine at five-star restaurants.  These days I stay at the Holiday Inn and have room service.  Guess what?  The company is a lot better.    
 People say my life has gone to dogs.  I say "Thank goodness!"
How has your dog changed your life?

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