If only for one day, wouldn’t you love to hear the words straight from the dog’s mouth? We can at least imagine. If dogs could talk, they’d say:
Keep me on a leash at all times. Keep me safe and secure, and let all other dogs feel that way, too. My freedom isn’t worth someone else’s frustration.
Bring me inside if I’m too quick to bark.
Bring me to dog parks and picnics and places where dogs are allowed, but only if I play nice with others. Also, teach me how to be just as happy when I have to be home alone.
Teach me boundaries so I know the rules, but don’t be too harsh. I’m always learning just like you.
Don’t take me to scary places. Be my tireless champion when I’m in an unfamiliar environment—cars, buses and yes, especially airplanes.
Don’t walk me with your nose buried in a smart phone. Pop out the earphones and enjoy the sounds of nature. You never know when our time together might have to end, so enjoy it. Be present and aware.
If I have problems with socializing, please don’t hold it against me. Take me to training classes so I’ll learn to do better.
If I have playmates whom I know and love, make sure I see them often.
If I offer kisses, take them.
If I try to steal a few extra sniffs on a walk, indulge me. I totally rock at smelling stuff.
Please explore methods for becoming an even better pet parent. Myriad books, coaches and classes can help both of us be better sentient beings.
If I wink at you at the Humane Society and you’re ready for the responsibility, adopt me and take me with you.
Thank you for giving me a good home.
Sorry for chewing the couch leg. I was scared.
The mailman is a bastard and I hate him with a passion but I love him so much and please make sure he comes back tomorrow.
An injustice with one animal is an injustice for all. So if you see or hear something off, speak up.
Most of all, be as clear as you can when you’re leaving for an extended period. Don’t be afraid to communicate, because I understand your words and feelings way more than you think. Include me in the packing process, and clue me in to when you’ll be back. Let me celebrate with you when you get home, because I’ve been eager to have a reunion.
All dog owners also are dog handlers. Please learn how to be a good citizen with me by your side.
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