puppy love

This Thanksgiving we boarded the dogs at the PetSmart PetsHotel. They’ve stayed there several times, and this is the only place I trust to take care of the furry four leggeds.

I experience extreme guilt leaving them there. I get incredibly nervous and talk to the employees too much, while giving unnecessary instructions. All tactics to avoid tears. Basically, I become one of the crazy people I would poke fun at when I still worked for PetSmart. It’s not pretty.

But – if you’ve ever boarded your dogs, or done anything undesirable to them, you’ve learned that they’re a strangely forgiving species.

Feed them the same food daily for life? No resentment.

Leave them in a crate for 10-hour stretches? No grudges.

Dress them in absurd Halloween costumes for your own amusement? No sulking.

No matter what we put them through, they love us unconditionally.

Nevertheless, I’m always puzzled that they’re so overjoyed to see us after we’ve ditched them in a small glass cell for a weekend, (that I view as the most stressful treatment imaginable). Every time we pick them up they’re absolutely gleeful and ready to kiss attack us.

Which has led me to develop a new theory:

When we drop the dogs off at the PetsHotel and disappear for several days, they think that WE are the ones who’ve been abducted and are missing, while they hang out with all their doggie friends and eat doggie ice cream. They feel terrible that their human counterparts have been taken and missed all the fun, while they get a staycation. They feel bad for us. I can tell. And with this theory I can distinguish a large portion of my pet parent guilt.

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