The key to a self-fulfilled life lies in consistent selfless deeds – Edmond Mbiaka
Well, it’s that time of year again. The holidays are here, which means lots of family visiting, lots of visits to stores and for some, lots of traveling. I’m one of those people that travels for the holidays. I travel home to New England and then from there tour all of New England to see the family.
There’s lots of air travel and car travel involved. It’s a hectic time with not lots of structure or knowing when I’ll be able to be home next. Which means, Porter doesn’t come with me. This isn’t because I don’t want him there. Trust me, as I’m writing this post, I am dreading dropping him off at sleep away camp. Not because I think he’ll have a bad time, or misbehave, or not get enough exercise. No, I’m dreading it because I’m selfish and will miss him terribly. But again, this is one of those times where I need to let go of my own selfish feelings and do what’s best for him.
Why is sleep away camp better for him than coming with me during the holidays? Well, here are a few reasons:
Schedule? What schedule?
Although Porter is great at going with the flow, when there’s no routine or structure away from where he (or any dog) is comfortable it can be stressful. Also, sometimes my own schedule when I’m home stresses me out. And guess who is going to pick up on that immediately? At sleep away camp he has a normal routine. He’s comfortable there and has his toys and blankets that smell like home. He’ll know what to expect day to day which will make him relax and cut down on any unnecessary anxiety.
Porter’s a little too big to travel under my seat on a plane. Yes, I’ve totally looked into it. And quite honestly, a 9 hour car ride is tough on him and me. It’s not worth it. He gets bored and with only him and I it’s tough when it comes to taking breaks. It’s a long drive and not fun for either of us. He’ll do it if I ask him to. But, I try not to put him in that position too often. By him staying here, he doesn’t have to be cooped up in a small space for a long time.
While on holiday, I can’t guarantee how much activity I’ll be able to give him. My schedule will be all over the place and I can’t guarantee where we will be when. Which means, his normal activity levels will suffer. This can create more anxiety and the feeling of just being pent up. Now, I know at sleep away camp he gets out several times a day and gets to run around until he tires himself out. Which is what he would prefer any other day of the week. So, why not this week?
Less Stressful Situations
If he came home with me, he’d have to travel from house to house with so many new people, locations and situations he’s not used to. This can be very stressful. I don’t want to add more unnecessary stress in his life if I don’t have to. And keep in mind, in those stressful situations I have to make sure I’m Piloting 100% of the time. And I can’t guarantee that. So, it’s not fair to put him in those situations if there’s another great option available.
Yes, I’ll feel guilty and wish he was coming with me. But guess what? Those are my selfish feelings. So, I’ll drop him off without drama (because seriously, this is the best option so why get dramatic about the drop off and create more anxiety), give him a quick pat, and know that this is the best decision for both of us. And I’ll know it’s the right decision the minute I get the first picture of him running around with 7 of his new best friends.
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH