All my life I've had dogs who loved to cuddle and were affectionate. They wanted to be where I was, no matter how inconvenient that might be for me.
Now I have Sandy.
She listens to me, mostly.
She responds more quickly if I'm carrying a treat, but she listens.
Sometimes, I think she likes me. Maybe.
Ashes (the handsome guy on my left) was attentive and helpful.
If he wasn’t with me, it was because he was busy watching over the kids playing outside.
If anyone came near the yard, his bark alerted me. If the kids left the yard, he let me know.
They found this really annoying when they were in middle school and he was still “telling” on them.
Tala did not like the heat of cuddling, but each night she snuggled up next to me in bed.
She waited for me to fall asleep before jumping off the bed and going to lay on the cool floor. I didn't ask or teach her to do this; she chose to do it.
Huff was my shadow.
He fully expected that each evening we would sit down together on the floor.
His elderly back legs would not allow him onto the couch. So while he was in my life, I ignored my couch and sat on the floor with him.
He lay on his pillow, but the full length of him leaned against my leg. He needed that touch. I would pet him and reassure him I was there.
He would fall into that old dog sleep that is terrifying for owners. I watched for the rise and fall of his belly to reassure myself he was still with me.
(Border Collie- Australian Shepard)
Sandy does none of these things.
If I sit by her on the couch in the evening, she frequently gets up and goes into the bedroom. I try not to feel offended.
If she stays, she is at the far end curled into a tight ball.
(In fairness, if I have snacks, she is willing to hang out with me.)
When we go for a walk, Sandy only rarely looks at me. Mostly her nose is to the ground (okay, she’s a beagle) If she is not sniffing, she is engaged with making new friends. Or accepting pets from old ones.
The only time I have her full attention is if she wants something. She might have a plan to take a particular route, but she needs me on board because I am a dead weight at the end of her leash.
She stares intently at me, then in the direction she wants to go, back at me. Until I acquiesce or say no. The later earns me an exaggerated sigh and plodding compliance with my unreasonable wishes. If I accept her idea, I earn. . . nothing.
Her biggest enthusiasms are saved
for food and friends. I try
not to be disheartened by this.
A neighbor recently said to me, "Some dogs only like one person, but Sandy is everyone's dog."
When I find one of those magical moments that works for us, I pay attention so I can replicate it later. So far my success is limited.
She does enjoy being in the same room with me when I'm writing. I tap away on my computer and she naps.
If I get stuck, the quiet from my keyboard alerts her and she will sometimes roll on her back requesting a belly rub. I usually comply with that request. It almost always reinspires me. At least it lets my creativity catch up to my conscious brain so I can start writing again.
The rare moments when we do connect our precious to me.
Part of me knows that she is connected to me. Part of me knows if I disappeared, she'd get along just fine without me.
I understand she's not taking a chance on getting too close to me.
I don’t blame her for that and I try not to take that personally. I try.
If you are interested in bonding with your dog, you might want to check out the advice here.
It could simply be that Sandy is doing karma’s work. After living with Huff who thought I was the best human ever, Sandy is here to take me down a notch – or three.
© Copyright Suzanne Grosser