We’ll Be Back

Our little dog Dockers is over sixteen years old, and in doggie years—no matter how you count them—that’s pretty old. She’s almost completely blind, can’t hear at all, and has a hard time getting up from her naps, which take up a good eighty percent of her day. The rest of her day is spent looking for me, not because she wants to be near me, but because I’m the guy who puts food in her dish and takes her for her twice daily walk. Oh, alright, she probably does want to be near me.

In fact, she follows me from room to room during the day, and I swear she has me bugged somehow. I can be in my office writing, her sound asleep in her bed beside my desk, until I leave the room. It’s uncanny! Almost every time, I can look back and find her following me.

She’s a great dog—spoiled rotten, no doubt about it—and incredibly loyal, loving, and smart. It’s really hard to imagine the time approaching when she won’t be with us. She has always—and I’m talking from day one—suffered from separation anxiety, which makes it really hard to leave her when we go somewhere for more than a few hours. Even when we’re only gone for a little while, we come home to what I can only describe as the happiest dog on the planet.

We spent the past weekend at Fayette Lake, and they don’t allow pets in the cabins (we do NOT do the camping thing any longer), so Dockers had to stay home with Faye, her favorite dog sitter. And here’s the deal; it just breaks my heart when we are getting ready to go, because she knows! I kid you not, the minute she sees us packing—we actually try to hide it from her—she starts in with the “I’m-a-really-good-dog-and-I’m-sure-wherever-you’re-going-I’m-going-with-you” routine.

You know; following us around, wagging her tail; waiting at the door when we come back from putting something in the car, wagging her tail; giving us her little doggie grin, wagging her tail. Jeesh! By the time we’re ready to go, I’m a nervous wreck. I hate leaving her! But she just can’t go everywhere we go!

I keep telling myself she’s just a dog, but anyone who’s ever had a pet for sixteen years will tell you that ain’t true. So it always comes down to this; me going out the door, Dockers standing in the foyer as I close it, with a look on her face that could make a grown man cry—yes, it has—and me saying, “We’ll be back.” The last thing I see is the saddest looking dog you could ever imagine, tail not wagging.

I hate that!

But we always come back, and the most beautiful thing happens when we do; she acts like we never left and loves us like crazy.

Man… dogs are so cool.

Catching up on her sleep, after we're home.



  1. Mary said

    I know exactly what you are saying. That is the hardest part about traveling for me too. And I hate the drive to the boarding kennel, dropping them off their, seeing the looks on their faces, hearing their plaintive barks!

    • We have never been able to leave Dockers at a kennel. We tried when she was about a year old, and the people at the kennel told us not to do it again. She was a total nervous wreck. But once we showed up, she was fine. Just gave us a look that said, ‘please please please, don’t do that again!
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Mary!

      • Mary said

        Charles, last time I left dogs at the boarding kennel (in connection with my vet’s I had two dogs. They shared the same space, so that was good. I phoned every other day, compulsive that I am. Next time i go on vacation…well I now have 3 dogs. As they are all under six pounds, they can still share the same space. I at least know they have each other. You ARE lucky to have a dog sitter. It might be cheaper for me to do this than to kennel THREE!

      • it’s worth it to know someone who loves her is there with her in her normal surroundings. It’s not perfect, because she still misses us, but it’s the best we can do.

  2. K. McGee said

    I totally agree! Dogs are the best! We have 2, which combined total out at 180 lbs of legs, tails, drool, and love.

    • Ours totals about 26 lbs, and ten times that in love!
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  3. Charles, great minds think alike…I wrote this piece just the other day

    Dog Eared Whispers

    I pull close to me this canine delight, smell her fur, secret my nose under the flap of her ear and say the words I can’t resist saying, “It’s okay to die in your sleep.” She moves her head closer to my lips and I begin a run of kisses from her lower jaw, down her neck and land a big smooch on her shoulder. Please don’t think badly of me, but if you’ve had a pet I’m sure the fear of a prolonged illness has haunted at least some of your dreams. I don’t want my dog to die, but I am not a child and know that this poodle of mine can not live forever. She is eighteen now and the specter of her eventual passing winks at me as her nineteenth birthday approaches. The possibility of her suffering is what frightens me, also her having to depend on me to make the correct choices on her behalf. I worry that I will not properly assess her pain, stoic pup that she is. Strangely worse for me, I fear I will rush to prevent suffering and end her life over something transitory and treatable, depriving us of time we might have had if I had not reacted in hast. So, I encourage her to take her death into her own hands and save us both from my shortcomings. You see it’s not that I don’t want to care for her; it’s simply that I don’t want to fail her when she needs me most.

    Remember that kisses count more than minutes

    • Powerful, vintage, Sherrie Theriault! You nailed it, my friend!
      Thanks for the awesome visit and comment.

  4. Faye said

    Dockers is a joy! She encourages me because even though she can’t hear, can’t see well and has joint pain, she keeps going. We as humans can learn a lot from our doggie friends.

    • You got that right. I’ve sure learned a lot about love from this little critter!

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