Friday, December 17, 2010
It's a dog's life
“It’s a dog’s life”. “I work like a dog”. “What a dog”. These are phrases I have often used and heard to describe, how stressful life is and how hard we work while getting precious little in return. In fact, until recently, in my work life these were my pet phrases. However, I saw the lives that my own pet dogs had and wondered, why is having a dog’s life such a bad thing. Let me give you a sneak peek into the life of Oscar, my rambunctious 2 year old pug.
Oscar deems to wake up at 8 in the morning on a tough day. Mind you he sleeps on my bed nestled between me and my husband. In fact I think at times he is angry that we sleep on the bed with him and not on the floor. He gets his gourmet dog food by 8:30 sharp in perfectly crumbled form, lest his weak stomach not be able to digest such delicious food. Even a few minutes delay here and there has him snarling and expressing his displeasure as only a dog can. He proceeds to nap in various comfortable places across the house until it is time for his evening feed. During this time, any disturbance caused by the maid or constant shuffling around of the humans in the house gets a disdainful look and a disgusted grunt. He again gets his due of dog food, cheese, chewy, toys and play time with other dogs at appointed times like clockwork. He is quite like the English with respect to time. “Not a moment too soon and not a moment too late”, seems to be his motto for all the oh-so-important milestones of his day. And as if all this was not enough, he gets petted, cuddled, molly coddled and absolutely adored by everyone in the house and it is ok for him to sleep for 16 to 18 hours in a day. In fact, at times I wished I had his life. When I exchanged notes with a few dog owner friends of mine, it did not seem that their pets had a very different life either. So why then is having a dog’s life such a bad thing I wondered.
Inspiration struck recently and I thought of looking at Oscar’s day from his perspective and made an attempt to understand what might be going on in that little doggy mind of his. So over to Oscar and how he views his day in his own words.
“Hello Humans. I am Oscar and I would like to tell you about a typical day in my life. I would rather sleep in every day but am woken up at 8 by all the unearthly sounds made by the humans in the house. Added to that these two humans take up so much space in my bed that I can hardly stretch and lick myself properly. I am thinking one of these days I should let them know whose bed is this anyway. I am ravenous when I wake up but they never give me my food till I catch their attention. By the time, I have yapped, chewed their slippers and barked my head off, the lady of the house is just about mashing my food. Why does she do that anyway? Doesn’t she know I am a big dog now. She wastes so much time doing it and every day I am in a quandary if she is going to give me my food or leave me hungry. She does that some days. Of course that is usually after a visit to the nasty witch (my doctor of course) and a harrowing time on the weighing machine.
I get so exhausted by all the stress related to my morning feed that it is all I can do to stay awake. But will these humans let me rest. No Sir. The doorbell rings constantly and I have to perform my doggy duty of barking at whoever it is. The maid keeps moving me from place to place so she can sweep and get her work done, “the meanie”. The slippers on which I love to sleep are constantly removed from under me and worst of all I am not allowed to sleep on my own comfy bed during the day (they still insist it is not my bed). It is so unfair.
Evening times are even more stressful. I need to perform various antics to get my evening feed and cheese. It is an exhausting job, looking so cute and hungry all the time but one has to do it to keep the stomach full. Then begins the torture of going for a walk. Don’t get me wrong, I love going for walks, but the whole preparation of going for it and all the cleaning I undergo after I come back is so nerve wracking. If you are wondering about the preparation part, well first I need to turn into a little monkey and go round and round chasing my own tail till these humans get the message that I need a walk. Then the whole process of them putting a jumper on me, putting walking socks on me, putting a leash on me and finally, finally taking me out of the house is so tedious. When will they get the message, I am a dog. Some of these jumpers and socks, well they are not so good for my “doggyhood”. Many of my stray friends think I am quite a wimp because of this and it mars my otherwise good walks and gives me some serious problem in the ladies department, if you know what I mean.
But after all this stress and anxiety, comes my favourite time of the day. Night time, when I can cuddle next to all my human friends who are back home from work, get petted and go to sleep on their laps or just day dream. They are in such a good mood to see me and be back from their boring work, they hardly notice the little snacks I am getting off their plates. I tell you, I live for this time of the day. Well that’s my day folks. Hope you understand a little bit of my life now."
Well, that’s Oscar’s life and little did I know that the pint sized dynamo can have so much stress in what I thought was a molly coddled life. I never realized all the stress the little thing was taking over the inane things in life. I thought maybe he was a little dumb too. He had a loving home and family that would take good care of him and did not need to stress or question their love for him. But aren’t we all like that? We have so much going for us in our lives but we still worry and whine about the insignificant things. It struck me that until we have the love of our near and dear ones in our lives, everything else will take care of itself. Until we live by this realization, well it will always be “a dog’s life”.