Sometimes, I feel like the worst dog mom.
I scroll through the thousands of photos stored on my phone, and see picture after picture of my beloved pets – but all of these pictures have the exact. same. background.
I scroll through Facebook, on the other hand, and see hundreds of pets actively engaged in adventures. One pug sticks his face in snow on a vacation to Michigan. One Golden Retriever sits serenely atop a kayak, surrounded by the Wakulla River. One chihuahua snuggles into her mom’s purse – who even knows where she is? I know where she isn’t – her same old boring backyard.
I did it before, once. I took Gideon, my chocolate lab, on an adventure. Our friends owned a house on the Wakulla River, and Gideon went swimming and ran after copious tennis balls and, without my permission, devoured an entire crockpot full of buffalo chicken dip. It was The Best Day Ever.
It was his first – and last – true adventure.
I don’t take my dogs to pet-friendly restaurants and bars. Why? Because if I’m having a drink or two, I don’t want to have to constantly keep my eye on three excited labs who will want to eat all of the food and taste all of the drinks and receive all of the pets.
I don’t take my pets on vacation. Why? So many reasons, beginning with: I wouldn’t be able to fit all three of them, all three of their crates, and all of their food into the car at the same time.
I don’t take my pets to the dog beach or the river. Why? Well, which dog should I take? One, or all three? Can I keep one eye on Lenny and Gideon, the other eye on the watch for potential water predators, and simultaneously prevent the pups from running towards other beachgoers who might not want puppy kisses? Can I do all that while, at the same time, physically holding Miranda, who would absolutely hate any outing to an unfamiliar place? I don’t think I can.
Could I train my pets to behave better off-leash, so maybe a group outing wouldn’t seem so daunting? Yes. I can, I should, and I want to.
But does that mean I’ll ever take them on adventures with me?
Do I have to, to be a good dog mom?
I scroll through the stored photos on my phone again. There are literally hundreds of photographs of myself and my fiance throwing various sized tennis balls to Gideon. At least fifty pictures of Lenny playing with Juno, the beloved pup of one of my best friends. Pictures of all three dogs swimming in my parents’ backyard pool. Of Miranda popping a bubble with her nose, and of a butterfly landing on Gideon’s head.
So maybe I’m not the type of dog mom that takes her pets on adventures. But I am definitely the type of dog mom who tries to expose her pets to the already-existing adventures around them.
And I like to think that’s what makes me a good dog mom in my own unique way.