It was heart-breakingly hard for Brian and I to leave our dogs behind while we traveled around the world.
Well, we’re back in the U.S. for three months to house-sit and dog-sit while Brian’s parents take an epic U.S. road trip. And that means we’ve reunited with our dogs!
Brian and I were worried about how the dogs would react when they saw us. After all, we’d just mysteriously disappeared from their lives one day 13-months ago. Brian was afraid one of them might drop dead of a heart attack. I was afraid one of them might squat and spontaneously pee, like how people wet themselves from shock. We both worried that they would snuff us, angry and resentful for leaving.
The dogs have been living with Brian’s parents while we’ve been away. As we neared the house for the first time in more than a year I was over-the-moon excited and also insanely nervous. I shifted in my seat and fidgeted, unable to calm my nerves.
We pulled our car into the driveway and walked up to the front door. The dogs heard us approaching and started barking. We rang the bell, Brian’s parents opened the door, and the dogs ran out to greet us, barking and sniffing and jumping as much as their old bones can jump.
I videotaped it. In truth, it’s the sort of video that only a mother can love. But if you want to see Brian smile so wide it looks like his face might explode, and hear us both talk in embarrassingly high-pitched voices, then by all means, enjoy yourself.
When we got inside, Brian and I sat down on the floor and the dogs ran between us sniffing and snuggling. Bear, who has never once licked me in the 12 years she’s been alive, ran between Brian and I licking our faces. It was the sweetest thing! After about ten minutes of commotion everything settled down and soon after the dogs were asleep on the floor. It was a big event and then, sleep. Always sleep.
In the days since we’ve been back things have been completely normal with the dogs. It’s like we never left them. They don’t appear mad at us, haven’t peed in our bed or eaten our clothes or seeked any other sort of creative revenge. They’re at our feet constantly, curled up beside me even now as I type at the computer. It feels wonderful. It is so nice to have them back.
We’re heading back out on the road this October (SE Asia) and I’m worried about leaving them again. I worry that it will mess them up psychologically and they’ll develop some sort of geriatric separation anxiety. And I worry specifically about Macy, our oldest dog who is 14.5. She’s aged a lot in the year we’ve been gone. She’s not walking well, her energy is lower than it used to be and I’m just not sure she has a ton of time left.
But for now we are one big, happy, reunited family. I’d forgotten how much absolute joy those old dogs bring us. I smile so much more when they’re around.