Tag Archives: family

How an Old Dog Taught Me a New Trick

Gatsby the Brave

Our dog’s name is Gatsby (yes, after the literary figure and soon-to-be Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle). And like most dogs, our dog does something incredibly annoying. Actually several things, but for now we’ll just focus on the one. And this annoying thing is every time we get ready to leave, he flips out, sprints around the house and runs to a favorite corner of the couch or under the table to hide, making a variety of noises the entire time. When we go to extricate him, he’s usually shaking, sad, and generally worked into a pretty hysterical state. The reason he reacts like this is because he knows that when we leave the house it means that he’s about to go into his crate, and he doesn’t like his crate (this seems to be a pretty universal canine crate trait). Or at least that’s what I thought the reason was. Until I noticed that Gatsby actually didn’t seem to mind his crate that much. It’s got enough room for him to move a bit and lay down if he wants, he gets a little treat when he goes in, it’s even got his favorite blanket in there for him to burrow in to. And when he’s in his crate, he’s actually quite calm — maybe resigned to his fate is the vibe — and exhibits none of the freak-out emotions that he does prior to being put into his doggie domicile. And that’s when it hit me: it’s not the crate he dislikes, it’s the fact that we’re leaving that he can’t stand. Gatsby has a lot of separation anxiety (more so than most dogs) and he loves to be around us (the order in which he likes us is actually hilariously and borderline rudely obvious), so I’m not overstating things when I tell you that us leaving is the worst thing that he can imagine happening. Compounding that dislike into something even more intense is that, as a dog, any time we leave, he literally has no idea when or if we’ll be back. As far as his little canine mind knows, this may be the very last time that he gets to see the people he loves most in the world. Gatsby simply lacks the capacity to spot the differences that indicate either a long vacation away from home or a quick run to the fro-yo joint down the block. So then in this new light, all the sadness, the shaking, the general “my world is collapsing around me!” emotions he goes through every time we leave makes sense. Gatsby might never see us again (as far as he knows) and that’s worth working himself into a lovesick hysterical sadness.

It’s easy enough to attribute a behavior like that to the inferior brain of a canine (you wouldn’t be wrong) and simply brush it off while mentally patting ourselves on the back for having such a supreme intelligence that we can decipher TIME and DISTANCE, etc. But really, we don’t have a superior mind, we have the very same flaw — just on the opposite end of the spectrum. Just as Gatsby overreacts and lets his emotions run wild, so do we err on the side of apathy and taking our loved ones for granted — assuming that there will always be another opportunity to show our affections or express our love.

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30 in 30, Day 25: Day of Rest

It’s my weekly day off from creating, and the last break I’ll have before the completion of my little 30 in 30 project. Had a nice lunch with mom and dad, and I play to spend the rest of the day sitting on the couch, watching Tom Brady win, my Bengals try to win, and people who like baseball lose more debates about which sport is best. If you’re looking to pass the time, may I recommend some of my previous posts, listed below.

 

Movies Hollywood is allowed to remake (and one of them actually happened, because I am psychic).

A collection of pictures of strangers, sent to me by a stranger.

Why failure isn’t that big of a deal (and will actually help you improve).

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The Annual Heveron Extended-Family Christmas Party & Photo-Tour

So I got an email from my Uncle Hank a little while back, filled with all the pictures from our extended family Christmas party. Great shots of the whole family, everyone really enjoying themselves and getting into the holiday spirit, food, fun — there were even some candid shots of everybody singing around the dinner table.  There’s only one problem: I do not have an Uncle Hank. I don’t have an Uncle Hank, I don’t have a step-Uncle named Hank, I don’t have one of those close family friends who isn’t related to you but your parents refer to them as “uncle” anyway — I don’t even know anyone NAMED Hank. The closest association I have to someone named Hank is Captain Kirk’s buddy, the doctor character from the original Star Trek — a show I’ve never actually seen, but still have the misfortune of being aware of thanks to the pop-culture machine that raised me.

After a rudimentary examination of the email to make sure that it wasn’t the .00001% of spam emails that make it through both gmail’s spam filter and Apple’s junk mailbox, I saw that the fellow recipients of this Christmas recap email (which contained a whopping 21 full size picture attachments) all seemed like legit people as well. Although for the record, I’m not related to an Eileen Heveron, Margaret Heveron, or Robert Heveron, either. Now I love my family very much, but I thought it might be fun to take a photo-tour through the Christmas party of the family I’m not related to. And in an age where every embarrassing thing you do needs to be captured on the internet where it can be preserved for all time, why not post Uncle Hank’s faux pas on the blog for the whole world to see? I mean after all, any of you have better odds of showing up in these pictures than I do.

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