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Is My Dog Sick of Me?

Is My Dog Sick of Me?

The dog is sick of us.

This is the joke we tell each other when he listlessly wanders around the four rooms of our apartment, staring at us with big chestnut eyes that plead “don’t you guys have somewhere to be?” When he realizes we’re not going anywhere, he huffs dramatically and flops his solid Labrador body on the floor in resignation. Sometimes he mixes it up and rests his head on a windowsill to gaze outside with a somber focus bordering on ennui. Jesus Christ. What was he doing before he had round-the-clock supervision? Sleeping 18 hours a day instead of just 16? Running an underground poker game with the pitbull next door?

When my husband and I learned that the COVID-19 pandemic would have us working from home for the foreseeable future, luckier than most, we thought—perhaps arrogantly—“at least the dog will be thrilled.” Yes, part of our assumption hinged on the idea that he loves us unconditionally. And on the fact that all of his favorite activities involve being near or directly on top of us: long walks in the park, melting into a complete lump under our legs while we watch yet another British procedural drama, sitting on me whenever I attempt to stretch out in the mornings.

But this is also a dog who, in his younger years, had separation anxiety so acute it required us to go through an elaborate ritual before we left the house that was the equivalent of Catherine Zeta Jones slinking through that maze of laser alarms in Entrapment. It involved: turning on a white noise machine and a 14-hour track of calming piano music for dogs; quietly sitting on the couch watching the local news so as to trick him into thinking we were staying put; sneaking out while he was eating his bowl of wet food, but not before leaving out various toys filled with treats to keep him occupied. You don’t know the depths of depravity until you’ve diligently shoved layers of cream cheese, ham slices, and cheddar cubes into a plastic cone to create the most demented parfait known to man.

You may be reading this and thinking, “that sucks, but I adopted a pet who actually loves me.” (Or maybe: “That fucked up ham and cheese cone actually sounds pretty good.”) But we are not alone. “At first we thought the dog would love having us home, but I’m not sure that she cares,” my friend Eliza, who has a greyhound named Chips with her partner, told me the other day. “She gets up like five times during the workday to stretch and move to the couch, or to the bed, or to the sunny spot on the rug. It’s as though we’re not home.”

Oh, okay.Courtesy of Gabriella Paiella

She added: “Sometimes I feel like I’m encroaching on her space—if I try to pet her or play during the day, she seems more annoyed than anything else.”

My friends Jason and Emily, who have a small pug and poodle mix named Max, have been experiencing the same. “His behavior is to dispassionately lay on the bed all day where Emily works,” Jason said when I asked. “He spends his time ignoring her, and sometimes letting out deep dramatic sighs. The other night he contemptuously watched us finish a whole game of Simpson’s Monopoly from the couch and did not get up to investigate once.” He also theorized that their recent acquisition of hobbies in which Max cannot participate, which they had never had pre-isolation, may be adding to his displeasure.

Source : Gabriella Paiella Link