In London they’ve just figured out that some dogs are pessimists. In fact, they believe half of the dogs in the United Kingdom show “separation-related behavior.” These dogs are the “bowl is half empty” kind of pooch.
Questions abound in my mind. How do they know 5 million British dogs have this problem? Did they drive through neighborhoods and count how many dogs bark while their owners are away?
I think my dogs are complete opposites. One is a pessimist and one is an optimist.
Rugby has obvious psychological problems. He worries himself into a frenzy when he goes somewhere in the car. He really, really, really wants to go with us, cause maybe we’ll stop at the Dairy Queen and he’ll get ice cream, but on the other paw we might get in an accident and he’ll be homeless and then what? Who will fill his dish and pick up his fragrant offerings? So he whines and moans and jumps around like a ping-pong ball in a tiled room. He’s a born worrier. If I’m gone all day, he sits at the front window and stares out, waiting for my return. I don’t think he ever really believes I will return because he basically puts himself into suicide mode. He won’t eat, drink, or go outside until he sees me again.
Willow is an optimist. But she also has psychological problems. She’s bi-polar. (That’s my personal medical assessment) Her mood can turn from lovey-dovey to attack-Rugby mode like the flip of a switch. But she always expects and believes she deserves attention, food, or water to be there for her whenever she decides she wants them. She doesn’t worry herself sick just because I’m out of the house either. She uses the time to take a much-deserved nap, or go out and hunt squirrels and moles in the backyard.
I think it’s funny that except for the bi-polar disorder, our kids had basically the same temperaments. Is that a parenting failure—or skill?