My Dog Makes Me Feel Guilty All The Time

It's winter on the East Coast, and I'm kind-of lazy because it's cold outside, and she's bored and staring at me constantly with a desperate pleading look. Help?

Feb 8, 2014 at 11:00am | Leave a comment

So I have a problem that's not actually a problem. Meaning it's not, like, MAJOR, but it's something.

Since I moved to DC at the end of December, I can't stop feeling like my dog hates me a little. She still loves me most of the time, I think, and all of her basic needs are very well accounted for. But the ENTIRE FOUNDATION of her poor little canine life has changed in the most fundamental way, and I can tell that she's … well, frankly, she seems bored out of her fucking mind.

See, not only did I uproot her 3,000 miles from the house she'd grown accustomed to living in (and destroying!) with me for almost 4 years, but I moved her to a semi-significantly smaller apartment in a place with a completely different climate. Meaning the poor dear had NEVER KNOWN TRUE COLD -- OR SNOW! -- BEFORE. (Not that I'm aware of, anyway -- she was 5 or 6 years old when I adopted her, so who the hell knows where her horrible prior parents took her. They gave her up to Animal Control as soon as "the kids grew up," and she ended up on doggie death row, so things probably weren't all that peachy).

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Henny, meet SNOW!

So yeah, in this crazy new climate in this smaller new apartment, Henny doesn't get to go TO THE BEACH with her dog walker and her little canine friends every day -- here, it's just her. And me. And my 2 cats. And our small(er) apartment.

The current lack of a dog walker in our lives is probably the main issue, because it means she doesn't get out as much as she did when we lived in San Francisco. In SF, she went out (with a bunch of fellow dog buddies) Monday through Friday for hours on end -- my awesome walker picked her up first and dropped her off last, plus there was an hour-long-ish walk at Fort Funston every day, so Henny was out of the house being all busy and social every day for about 4 hours at a time.

Now I work as a freelancer from home every day, so there's no legit NEED for a walker (her SF walker was a holdover from my full-time day-job-in-Silicon-Valley days), and obviously I don't want to shell out precious funds for something that's not necessarily necessary. She is already the most expensive creature I've ever known -- she's on meds for incontinence, separation anxiety, Cushing's disease, and hypothyroid, and she's on pricey prescription food for kidney issues, AND she wears stupid-expensive dog diapers for that aforementioned incontinence problem, too. Good times over here.

But this all means that now it's just … US. All day. Every day. In my sad little apartment (OK, my apartment's not really SAD, but it's smaller, and colder, and we have no backyard action). I take her out for walks every few hours, but obviously when it's 8 degrees outside I find it harder to handle staying out in the weather for longer than 20 minutes or so, and I start itching to get back indoors with tea and blankets and television.

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The look.

In any case, when I'm home with her, she follows me around and blankly stares at me all the time with this sad, beggy look, like she's desperate for ... anything. Food? Attention? Romping? And then I feel guilty, obvs, even though I know she's OK. She's getting older and she's a mellow dog, so she doesn't need to run around and go nuts like some pups, but I think she succumbs to boredom up in here with me all the time.

This is a long-winded way of me asking you, dear (haha, I just wrote "dead" instead of "dear" -- whoops! no!) xoJaners, if anyone has any suggestions for ways to help alleviate winter doggie boredom.

I know to take her on walks. I also give her treats, and sometimes I toss a ball around the apartment despite the fact that I know it makes my downstairs neighbors hate me. I give her Kongs filled with peanut butter. But ... what else? I'd never had a dog before her, so I was previously unfamiliar with the intensity of that glassy, imploring, GIVE ME SOMETHING, ANYTHING, I BEG OF YOU!!!! stare. My cats don't look at me like that. Suggestions? Anyone?

I am on Twitter here, if you're interested in that.

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