Recently I got to thinking about what an ideal day for Abby and Ember would consist of; a day when they could make the rules, and when they could have anything their heart desired.
First things first, you must know that Abby and Ember are extremely early risers. They wake us up – at a minimum –half an hour before our alarm goes off. Each and every day their enthusiasm for their breakfast does not wane. If it were up to them, I am sure that they would choose to eat before sunrise. In their fantasy I believe that instead of me carefully measuring their allotted food, the food bucket’s lid would be left off so that they could gorge themselves.
After their breakfast, we always let them out into our garden to do their business. Whereas Ember is always eager to come back inside, I imagine that if left up to her Abby would stay outside much longer than usual. She would have time to slowly explore every inch of the garden, and to bark at raccoons without being hushed. I also think that on their ideal day Abby and Ember would choose not to have their paws wiped upon coming back inside – they don’t mind wet or dirty paws, after all.
In their fantasy the dog treat jar would be opened many more times than it usually is, and only their most favourite dried liver treats would be stored inside. Additionally, Irene – our elderly neighbour and the dog’s “fairy dog mother” – would visit multiple times and bring with her the extra-large cheeseburger flavoured dog cookies that they adore. Or, better yet, there would be no fences and Abby and Ember could walk on over to Irene’s house whenever they liked, instead of waiting for her to make an appearance.
I know that in Abby’s fantasy our old mailman would return from his retirement; he loved dogs and would give Abby a cookie and have a chat with her over the fence for years.
Upon reflection I recognize that much of what I think would occur in Abby and Ember’s fantasies is food-related. However, keep in mind that they are Labradors. Both enjoy seeing food prepared and supervising any clean up in our kitchen. I bet that if it was up to them the dishwasher would be left open and constantly replenished with dirty dishes – delicious plates of food smears to them – available for taste testing.
However, their dream day would involve more than just food. Ember would choose to have a ball thrown for her – but only her most favourite orange ball. The ball would be thrown for as long as she liked, instead of a family member deciding when to stop the activity. Ember would choose to go to the off-leash park many times, and to explore by the river. Abby, on the other hand, would be content in her old age to walk around our block a few times, but would be able to sniff any scents for as long as she liked. Additionally, the dog that lives in a house up our street would not be in her garden, jumping at Abby from behind her fence. Also, in Abby’s fantasy, all her favourite “lovies” would be scattered around the house for her to choose from; she could pick any she liked as a pillow to sleep on or to gently gum – a favourite pastime of hers for years.
As dog owners it is our responsibility to keep our pets healthy, for example by ensuring they get enough nutrition and exercise, and that their vaccinations are up to date. It is also our responsibility to keep our pets safe, for example by making sure our backyard is fenced in or that our dogs are micro chipped and are wearing proper identification. It would not be practical for our dog’s wishes to come true on many occasions. But, although I’ve mentioned the importance of routine and consistency in the past, I also believe that once in a while every owner should think about what their dog would choose to do on their ideal day and do it. Take your pet for a longer walk or to visit someone that they love, or give them extra pats or treats. After all, for all the joy and love they bring to our lives, they deserve a fantasy moment every now and again.
What would your dog do given a day of freedom or free wishes?
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