Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stress and How We Relate to Dogs

I was going to write this blog yesterday, and then it happened. Despite the fact that I had been saving often, the changes for an entire book manuscript disappeared. A whole morning's work of formatting and neatening was gone somewhere into hyperspace. As I was contemplating this sad state of affairs and trying not to dissolve into tears, my dog Nestle came over and pushed his nose under my arm.
Okay, you have to know that the rules in my home office are that when a dog comes over, I stop work momentarily and we have a good scratch or talk or, if I'm not really involved in anything, maybe even a quick game. This is how I help save my sanity in an occupation that is never secure and always changing.
But yesterday, in a moment of high stress (my co-author was waiting for the manuscript to review this weekend), Nestle came over and I ignored him. And not just ignored him, but had to use some will power to not push him away or yell at him for bothering me.
And . . . now that things have calmed down, all the work is redone, and the manuscript is with my co-author. . . that made me think. If that can happen to me, who has a really stable relationship with my dogs and feels obligated to them as part of the way I make my living, then what happens to the relationship when a regular dog owner is under stress. Not that I mean in any way to denigrate dog owners, but most aren't home with their dogs all day, and don't make money from writing about them. What happens in the "average" family when things go wrong and the dog innocently walks over, maybe even to try and offer a kind paw?
I have no idea what the answer is to that question, but it's certainly bothering me.

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