Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Waiting for Jack

It's hard to imagine what a dog must think when her people are gone for the day. I'm sure they get used to it, but the first time the family leaves together and then comes home in fits and starts, it must be confusing.

My dog, Cassidy, is pretty used to our routine. Everybody leaves in the morning, more or less at the same time.

I, or Quinn and I, come home first. Sometimes we leave again. Later in the afternoon, Quinn and I leave for the bus stop and come home a few minutes later with Sam. Shortly after that, a bus drops Jack in front of the house. Then, two or three hours later, Alex arrives home.

No matter how many times we go through this routine, no matter how mundane it must seem to us, Cassidy is thrilled each and every time someone walks through the door. Tail wagging and tongue out, she greets us all as if we are the most important thing in the world to her. We probably are.

I realized today how in tune with my family and our rhythms she is when I was waiting for Jack's bus to get home.

At 3:50, a common time for Jack's arrival, I heard a bus and looked up. From my vantage point on the couch, I only had to flick up my eyes to see through the glass storm door that this was not Jack's bus. This bus was not stopping. Without any more movement, I looked back down at my book.

Cassidy, however, who had been resting behind a chair, heard the bus, jumped up, and ran toward the door. She was ready to greet her person. I hadn't known before today that she was aware of this auditory cue.

As that school bus drove down the street and turned right, Cassidy watched. She clearly wondered why the familiar sound didn't bring Jack today.

A few minutes later when Jack's bus did arrive, Cassidy similarly welcomed it. Only this time she barked when the bus door opened.

I am so used to having a dog in my house and not thinking about her inner life. After today, I may find myself thinking about it more often.


  1. I often wonder what runs through Emmett and Dallas' head when doing their cat thing. I'm pretty sure that they think they own us since we let them po*p in the closet. Let would be the wrong word but trust me, I know that's what they are thinking.

    Seriously though, animals are amazing - especially dogs and how genuinely pleased they are to see you each and every time you return.

  2. A lost puppy followed my mom home when I was 7 years old. So excited, but my excitement only lasted for one night.

    When I took him for a walk in the morning, his owner recognised him straight away and said, "that's my dog." Of cos' the animal response appropriately too.

    so there goes my fate with dogs. due to our family super sensitive noses, furry pets are not welcome.

    but i would love to have one that would greet me, wagging his tail and jumping on me whenever I come home, you really feel so wanted. Hmmm..

  3. My cats do it too. As soon as they hear me drive up there is one in the window, 2 waiting by the door when I come in - and 1 hanging back a bit but still right there.

    Unlike dogs though, the question with cats is usually do we own them or do they own us?


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