Imagine you’re a dog. Humor me on this for a moment or two. Shed your human traits and reimagine yourself as a dog—any breed or size you wish. Maybe you picture yourself as a small, fluffy, pampered Pomeranian-type, or a lumbering Saint Bernard, big as a sofa. Now, fully immersed in your alter ego dog self, go ahead and flesh out your canine character. Are you quirky, athletic, eager to please or a little standoffish? Do you live to play fetch and drool at the thought of table scraps? Do you prance in circles at the sound of your humans’ car pulling up in the driveway?
In case you’re wondering, I picture myself as a light-yellow Labrador. Must be the hair. The feature I admire most about yellow Labs is that it looks like they have just a touch of eyeliner and that they’re smiling all the time. If I’m going to be a dog, I want to be friendly-looking, approachable. Makes for better days.
Now that we’re both practically scratching our ears with our hind legs, imagine what your best day ever as a dog would look like. Me? I’d start mine on a very soft, very welcoming human bed. I’d fit myself between the barely awake humans who would talk sweetly to me in sleepy voices and idly run their hands through my fur. All hands on dog. I’d yawn and stretch and when I jumped off the bed, one of them would eventually get up and follow me. My lady human would stop in the kitchen to grab a dog cookie from the jar on the way to letting me out the back door. Crunching away on my appetizer, I’d trot after her. Once outside, I’d sniff the air for intruders and then amble down the stairs to do my business in the yard, paying special attention to the scent of overnight trespassers, large and small. I’d scan the trees for squirrel activity and woof a couple warnings. That usually gets them chattering. I’d be thorough in my patrol of the fence line, nose high, to pick up on all that had passed through the night. On my best day ever, I’d detect the scent of deer, coyote, neighbor dogs, maybe even a bear. All are noteworthy, but only the scent of moose will make my hair rise. If I get even a whiff of a moose, I will bark ferociously, hair bristled and muscles tensed. It’d be a little early for such a display, so my human would call me inside. She’d give me breakfast, the tinny sound of kibble being poured into my metal bowl a comfort. I wouldn’t eat it all at once—save a little for later.
As a dog, I’d pick up on the tone that it’s a day off of work for my humans. A day off is always promising. There could be long walks and perhaps a car ride too. On a best day, both. I get very animated when the household clues point to a car ride. I prance from paw-to-paw by the hat rack/leash hook. And when the leash is grabbed, I race out the door as fast as I can and down the stairs toward the gate. On my perfect dog day, we race down the country roads with the window wide open, most of my body hanging out in the breeze. All the scents speed past—animal scents, people, car exhaust, creek smells, and plant decay. It’s just wonderful! Then we stop. Sometimes it’s just a parking lot greenbelt that I get to explore, but on my best dog day, they stop at that park I like so much with the trails into the woods. By the time we’re done walking, I’m ready for a nap in the car. I curl up, nose-to-tail, and snooze with the gentle vibration of the car being felt through the seat. I dream of catching squirrels and then letting them go to catch another day. My feet twitch and my lip curls in my sleep. Sometimes I make small woof sounds at a particularly good dream chase.
When we get home, there is a human visitor—a member of the family, and she brought that fun Maggie dog with her. I romp vigorously in circles around the visitors. Maggie wants to play chase, which is my favorite thing. Game on. We go round and round the yard, through the trees and up the stairs. We take a few laps through the house, making great leaps over the back of the couch, through the kitchen, in and out of people’s legs, up onto the back of a chair, bounce off the wall and around again. It’s invigorating and we bark a happy bark to keep the game going. There is much yelping and leaping out of the way by the humans, and then we find that the dog door is blocked, keeping us outside. First, we watch the humans through the windows, pressing our noses against the glass. We stop on the upper deck to catch our breath, looking out into the woods. Maggie admires the bounty of squirrels and forest smells that is my life. I know she is jealous. I can’t help but feel a little sorry for her situation as a city dog. But she lets me know that city squirrels are bigger and slower than mountain squirrels, so she isn’t without excitement. Plus, there is the occasional thrill of a trespassing cat. We sit like that, panting, and then patrol the fence line together, each interpreting the scents. It’s companionable and pleasant. We eat some snow, letting the cold crystals melt in our mouths and then it’s time for our visitors to leave. I get lots of goodbye head pats and ear scratches, and Maggie and I share a thorough sniffing all over—something to post to memory until we meet again.
After my dinner, which also contains warm pork chop pan drippings mixed in with my kibble, my tummy is full and warm. I am tuckered out from my busy, exciting day. I am invited to join my humans on the big bed. It is soft and warm. The lady’s side gives me enough room to sleep comfortably at the bottom of the bed, my head on her feet, so I settle in for slumber, my paws crossed daintily.
I fall asleep fast and hard, my dreams filled with the sights, sounds and sensations of my best dog day ever! And I woof a little in content slumber. What I have described here is our Lab/mix shelter pup Daisy’s best day and it has actually played out just like this. I often write about her naughty antics, but she is a beloved canine member of the family and is sweet and affectionate, as well as rambunctious. I hope she often sees her everyday experiences living with us as her Best Days Ever!