Sunday, August 5, 2012

On Being the Back-up Dad

There is a very particular pecking order in our house where the pup is concerned. And I have learned to live with the fact that I am not "pecked" first by her.

In a particularly Cocker Spaniel way, she is all about having "her pack" with her at all times. When we're all at home, but in different rooms, she gets very frustrated having to go back and forth to check on both Christopher and me. It's much easier when we're all in the same room and she can keep an eye on us.

He's out of town for a few days, and last night she wouldn't even settle down in bed. She kept jumping off, walking over to the bedroom door to see if he was here, and then jumping back up. That was my fault, to some degree, because she was hearing more outside noises than usual since it was cool out and I had the windows open.

But, even if it's just for an evening, when one of us is gone, she's never quite able to settle down. She misses that third wheel and looks for him all the time. If she hears a car door close outside, she looks to the kitchen to see if someone is coming in. If you're talking - either on the phone or to her - and say "Hello," she'll actually run into the kitchen to see who is here. (In fact, she did that last night when I was on the phone and the connection dropped. I said "Hello? Hello?" and she immediately ran for the kitchen.)

While Christopher insists that she does this when I'm gone for an evening, I suspect that it's a much bigger deal when he is gone. Or at least that's my guess. But that's because I'm home alone with her more often than he is - and she always seems to be looking for her dad when he's gone.

Yes. That's right. Christopher and I refer to him as the pup's dad. I've never really been one to do that kind of thing with a pet (even though when I was growing up the cats were members of the family - they just weren't... well... familymembers), but there are things you pick up from the people you are with. So Christopher is "Dad" and I am "Tall Dad." And, since I'm the one with the qualifier, I kind of think that says a lot.

This evening, after an exciting day of watching me do housework and then waiting for me to come back inside from yardwork, she's actually settled down enough to nap. But I suspect that when we head for bed it will be the same as last night. Tomorrow night she'll probably start to settle in - just in time for him to get back on Tuesday and her to be wound up and too excited to go to bed that night.

Such is the sleepless life of a back-up dad.

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