Cayuga Lake Without The Dogs.

I don’t think it’s possible to take a bad photograph of a lake. Ever. As evidenced by this one of Cayuga Lake that cuts its glacial path north to south in what’s referred to as the Finger Lakes region of New York state.

My husband took this photo last year on one of those days that we decided to play hookey. One of those days when we left the dogs at home because it was bitter cold and we were going to Someplace where we knew that No Dogs Were Allowed.

Had we taken them along for the ride, they would Not Have Been Happy waiting for us in the back seat of our car and we would have felt obligated to cut short whatever it was that we were doing outside of the car because of the dogs.

And, the reason for my husband and I playing hookey on That Day was so that we could pay attention to each other. Just the two of us.

Which is Something that we almost forgot about for a period of time.  Life gets like that if you Forget to Pay Attention.  And we did forget.

We forgot for such a long time that we almost lost each other. But, then we remembered.

For a while, in that forgetting stage, our dogs were emotional substitutes for us.  Instead of touching each other, we touched them.

People do find ways to help themselves in Hard Times,  and we were no different than anyone else.  Some people rely on dangerous substitutes for human affection, like a lot of alcohol or drugs or compulsive spending … or having affairs or not doing anything at all.

That “not doing anything at all” is the most dangerous of all because when you Do That, you can get yourself into a dull emotional state where you stuff all of your feelings deep inside you where they will kill you emotionally. If you let them.

We almost let that happen.  But, one of us got REALLY mad and started yelling. The kind of mad where you throw empty dog dishes onto the floor with such force that the dish will forever afterwards have a huge dent in it.

And, once the yelling stopped and the healing began to take place, the decision to keep that dog dish was quietly made so that it could be a daily reminder of the Hard Times.

There isn’t a day that goes by without one of us picking up that dog dish from the kitchen floor when it’s time to feed the dogs.  Or, accidently bumping into it because it never got picked up off of the floor after the dogs were fed.

After all of this time, it’s almost lost its deeper significance.  It’s almost “just a dog dish” once more.  But, every once in a while, there are other reminders. At least there are for me.

Like the sad statistic I read in the Spring 2012 issue of Modern Dog magazine. It’s just a snippet of content on page 14 that’s positioned with a cute image of a woman holding what looks to be a 3-6 month old quintessential Golden Retriever puppy in her arms.

The pup’s foreleg is extended, touching her shoulder.  The woman and the dog have happy expressions on their faces. They are hugging each other. Much like a human man and a human woman would hug.

Each other. If they wanted to.

To the left of that image, in bold pink font is the phrase: POLL RESULT.  And, the next several lines of text are as follows:

84% of readers think that their dog is a better housemate than their partner.

Which really means that 84% of readers have distanced themselves emotionally from their significant human partner.  In my opinion.

And that’s a sobering (and very sad) statistic. Because it means that there are a lot of very sad people relying on their dogs for the kind of emotional responses that are beyond what any dog can give.

Worse, it means that more than 50% of households have people inside of them who feel emotionally distant from their significant human other and are NOT making any effort to fix that.

At, least, that’s what I think.  What do YOU think?  [gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]








  1. Polly says

    We have a dented saucepan – same scenario, kept as a reminder of where we do not want to find ourselves again. I feel fortunate that we were “recoverable” – we still had a base on which to rebuild. It is hard to remember to be partners, when one is so busy being parents, caregivers of human and canine family, etc.

  2. says

    We don’t have a dented anything, but we’ve been there, too, and I’m so grateful there was something we clung to that was strong enough to let us pull ourselves back where we should be. It is very sad that so many people seem to ignore that ‘something’, and remain at a distance. No matter what they say, and as much as I love ours, dogs are no replacement for that human partner.

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