Have you ever wondered what your dog does when left alone all day? I’m sure some of you have cameras that literally track your pet’s movement through the house. If that’s the case, you would know precisely how your dog spends its day. Some of us carefully pick out shows to put on the TV when we leave. There is even specific programming meant to calm and entertain pets. But the question is, do they actually watch it?
What if they puttered around the house like a human, filling the day with hobbies and chores? Can you imagine coming home to find your pup standing at the counter, wooden spoon in paw, mixing up a treat for dessert? It would add a whole new element to licking the beaters.
If your dog was gardening, you’d need less tools as they’d dig holes by paw. They’d be quick about it too. If dogs did the mopping, they might be more mindful of tracking mud into the room. I wonder if that rule would spread to vacuuming. To avoid extra work, would they brush themselves twice a day?
The more I imagine it, the keener I am to see it come to reality. Of course, the training would be much different from standard dog training. After the regular house breaking, obedience would include phrases like ‘load the dishwasher’ and ‘start the laundry, please.’ I wonder if loading the dishwasher would be preceded by a tongue licking prewash. If that was the case, you’d have some happy dogs at their chores. That is, providing you don’t serve many spicy foods.
What dog wouldn’t want a midday walk? I suppose they’d just take themselves out and they’d probably enjoy it more without being yanked away from interesting scents before they were ready. Would they go further without a tether? Probably. They might be tempted to follow their nose and then they could be found in the next county.
Would the stay-at-home dog pace their chores around their favorite shows? You know, fold clothes while their stories played every afternoon. And what would they pick to watch? Would they aim for classics like “Lassie Come Home” or “My Dog Skip,” or something totally unexpected like “Desperate Housewives?” Maybe they’d crank up the music and dance around the house. That would be a funny scene to come upon. What if the dog not only fetched the newspaper, but read it too?
What if all those things were possible? I can picture it clearly. I’d grab my keys in the morning as usual, and give our Labrador, Mimi, a pat on the head. “See you later, girl,” I’d say, as always, then add, “Don’t forget to do your chores.” At the door, I’d add, “I made a sandwich for you. It’s in the fridge.” Then off to work I’d go, knowing that she would be busy making my life easier.
She’d sleep in, knowing she had the whole day to get her workload done. Then she’d yawn and stretch and saunter into the kitchen, where she’d check to see if there was any coffee left. She’d pour what she found and lap it up from a saucer. Then she’d nibble at the kibble from her bowl. She wouldn’t eat much because there’d be dishes to do and there was always a snack to be had in the prewashing. She’d tie on an apron and start in on the dishes. She’d wag her tail at the discovery that last night’s dinner was meatloaf and there was much deliciously greasy prewashing to be done. After that chore, she’d start on the laundry. She’d recall smelling some food stains from the hamper, so she’d drag out the stained garments and lick them clean. Good dog. Stain remover’s got nothing on Mimi’s tongue.
After that, Mimi would curl up on her bed to have a little midmorning nap. If anyone came across her in that moment, they’d believe her to be just a normal dog. But we’re not dealing with a normal dog, or reality, for that matter. Back to my imagining: When she’d had enough, she’d rise to proceed with her productive day. She’d take the clothes out of the dryer and drop them on the coffee table. That would count as exercise as she could carry only a few garments at a time in her mouth. Toiling in that effort, she’d notice that she needed a good brushing. That chore would eat up nearly a half-hour. The folding would occur while she watched “Frasier.” She’d adore watching the two snobby brothers and that mischievous Eddie dog. Much tail wagging.
Before she’d know it, it would be time to start dinner. She’d sigh at the house rule that preparing meat was not allowed. That all stemmed from an unfortunate incident involving some rib eye steaks gone missing and the suspicious stomach distress that followed. She’d put potatoes in the oven, crunching down just enough for teeth marks to count as fork holes. Then she’d do her floor cleaning rounds by sniffing for crumbs and spills and licking them up. Good dog.
With the time remaining, she’d race around the house, nails skittering at the turns, and jump on and off the bed just for fun. She’d be alerted to my arrival by the crunching of car tires on the gravel drive. She’d hastily pull the bed covers in place with her teeth. At the sound of the car door shutting, she’d scurry to the front door and sit down expectantly, ears alert and tail sweeping the floor. When I’d come through the door, she’d caper and prance, all wagging tail and big smile on her muzzle.
“Did you have a good day?” I’d ask, crouching down to give her some love. And that’s how my imagination would play out with Mimi having a day alone in the house. My imagination is a lovely place to be.
The reality is that our Mimi is far too old and arthritic to do any chores, even if that was possible. Racing anywhere or jumping up onto the bed are from a bygone era. When I leave in the morning, I do so with fingers crossed that she’ll have a good day—less stiff and with a hearty appetite. When I return at the end of the day, she is not waiting for me at the door. In fact, until I seek her out, she doesn’t even know I’ve arrived. I usually find her sleeping. At my touch, she looks up through foggy eyes, and her tail thumps in greeting. I pat her on the head and say, “Did you have a good day?” And I rub her neck and ears. Good dog.