Homeward Bound

I got my dog at a shelter nearly three and a half years ago.  This is the picture that made me fall in love with him:

photo from PetFinder.com

Because he’s a shelter dog, I worry every time I leave him at the kennel that he’ll think he’s being abandoned again.

Now, you have to know my dog to fully understand the absurdity of my concern.  He’s the friendliest dog on the block.  He’ll wag and jump and love anyone who is willing to stand within a hundred yards of him.  If I did for some inexplicable reason abandon him at a shelter, he would wag his way into someone else’s heart in no time, and he would live happily ever after.

Today, I completely forgot (until I got an email from Scott this morning) that Scott is taking P to the kennel for me.  We’re flying to Texas a good three hours before the kennel opens tomorrow, and I don’t get off work in time to drop him off tonight.

It’s really nice of Scott to help me out.  He’s great about that kind of thing.  But when he reminded me that Peanut wouldn’t be there when I get home tonight, I had a totally irrational flashback to Homeward Bound. You’ve seen that movie, right?  It takes my already silly fear of making Peanut sad and amps things up a notch.  Not only do the family pets not understand why their family left them (vacation), they are so sad and determined to fix the situation that they take off on a cross-country journey to find their family.

I saw that movie one time, and it stuck with me.  For whatever reason, it seemed completely plausible that pets would travel through all sorts of hardships to find their family.  (The part that really gets me is the beginning, when they think their owners don’t want them anymore… maybe only one of them thinks that.  It’s been a while since I saw the movie.)

So normally when I’m leaving town, I give Peanut a very specific pep talk.  It goes like this: “Peanut, I love you, and I’ll be back soon.  I wouldn’t ever leave you for good.  [Scratch behind the ears, pat on the head, belly rub, scratch behind the ears, walk out the door.]”  The degree to which the belly gets rubbed depends on the time I have available, but the words are always the same.

Since I forgot that he was leaving today, I obviously didn’t do the traditional goodbye.  Sigh.

I need caffeine, and Peanut needs an adoptive mom who worries less about his emotional well-being.

P.S.  Homeword Bound is a handy title, because while I’m having irrational movie flashbacks, I’m also going to Texas, my homeland.  I think I’ll actually get to see Texas three times in 2011.  That’s pretty awesome stuff right there.

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