When you live with a dog like Silas, there are a lot of things you give up. I used to go camping. I used to travel. We used to take fun weekend trips, or do crazy things like drive five hours to our favorite lunch place. I used to vacuum twice a week. (Oh, no, that one I never did.) I could go to the park anytime I wanted to. I didn’t even have to check the summer children’s camp schedule. The words “I wanna pet the doggie!” did not send a chill down my spine.
Back then, I fantasized about doing all of that stuff with a dog. How cute would it be, to take our dog camping? To sit on the patio of our favorite restaurant, with an adoring dog under the table. To go hiking, with my off-leash dog hanging out just ahead, or biking with my dog in one of those cute little trailers.
Needless to say, I didn’t get that dog.
But, you know what?
That dog is boring. The things I love the most about Silas are entirely and totally bound up in the things that make him a terrible lifestyle choice. He is hyper-vigilant and intense and whip-smart and needy and sweet and worried. None of those things are good, and none of those things are bad. They’re all both. You can’t have just the good side without the bad.
He is a lot of work. It’s good work, though. Life may be smaller in anxious-dog land, but it’s better than those free-wheeling days.