The way you see the world changes when you have a dog. Suddenly, you are aware of the movement of squirrels, the presence of rabbits, and deposits of trash and litter in a way you haven’t been before. Many people find this startling the first time they get a dog. Of course, even experienced dog owners can be surprised by how interested their new hound is in scents or their new greyhound in quick-moving animals.
Getting a new pet is not the only time we can have to make these types of adjustments. Changes in the family situation can require similar adjustments. Introducing a new cat or small animal into the family? You will need to be aware of it’s location relative to your dogs. Having a baby or have a small child visiting? You need to arrange for constant supervision.
Changes in your pet’s health can also require adjustments. Currently, we are learning to be aware of potential dangers we’ve always ignored before. We no longer have to worry about squirrels, deer, or rabbits, unless they dive directly into Sirius’s path. Instead, steps and inclines have become a major issue as have telephone and sign poles. We are lucky to have access to sidewalks in many of the areas where we walk, but they are not everywhere. When we are walking along the side of the road, Sirius has always liked to get up and down off of the curb.
A few days after his SARDS diagnosis, he suddenly veered off the curb before I was expecting it. I don’t know if he realized that his swerve would take him off the curb or not. Either way, since he was just above a street drain, the drop was farther than normal. Fortunately, he didn’t do himself a major injury, but he did jar or twist his leg enough that he had to be on limited walks for several days. We’ve been more effective since then at keeping an eye on him and letting him know about potential obstacles in his path. I’ve been noticing less and less about the locations of squirrels. It’s all part of the constantly evolving awareness required for living with animals.