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What a fabulous dog:  two years old and radiantly beautiful with a gentle, devoted spirit.  He’s generous with his charms and he’s a leaner.  I love that.  We had the pleasure of camping with him and a group of 17 people, 5 families in all.  He was the only dog.

He cares for a family of four humans. Dad wanted a pet, preferably a cat but there were allergy issues.  Mom didn’t want a cat; for that matter she didn’t want a dog and rumor had it she–oh, my!–didn’t even like them.  But they settled on a pup and off they went.

Mom took to the puppy immediately and it’s an epic love story.  She oogles and then she googles.  Then she apologizes for the oogling.

The dog’s personality is celebrated and his interests, honored.  He spends a tremendous amount of time looking both noble and satisfied.  The whole family gets their money’s worth; they are a poster family for Why We Have Pets.

It was our last day of camp.  We’d sent the needle off the Fun Meter and I think everyone was tired of being dirty.   The sun was intense at high altitude and the group, wilting.  Rumblings of discontent drifted from the kids’ table.   They were ages six to nine and getting on each others’ nerves.   Before long my child would start wailing, universal language for this party is over.

His person cooked for the group while the dog schlepped around the picnic table, panting and staring.   He whined; now and then he’d give off a little bark: ‘oof.  There was a leash and some tangling; it was all very damp and awkward. 

She looked at her dog.  “What’s wrong with you?”  She turned to me.  “He’s been like this all morning.  He’s anxious about something.”

I looked at him.  “Hey, buddy,” I said.  “Your mom’s cooking breakfast for everyone right now.  After we eat we’re all gonna pack up our stuff and go home.  Don’t worry!”  I told him.  “You’re coming along.”

With that he plopped down in the dirt, sighed and put his head on his paws.  His person looked at me, surprised.  I shrugged and said, “it was worth a try!”

I didn’t think it through consciously, but 1) he was anxious and 2)  his family was packing to leave.  Somewhere in the sweaty recesses I suppose it occurred to me, hey, maybe he’s anxious because his family is packing to leave!

Hours later, his person said he was fine after that.  It took 5 seconds to restore his peace of mind and didn’t cost a thing.

It’s always worth a try.   Animals are just like people, they want to know what’s going on.  And more importantly, how it will affect them.  Imagine living your whole life around someone else’s whims.  Now imagine never knowing if you’re included.

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