Frieda looking sadly at the camera while I was away. Photo by Lori Law.

If there are two things I have learned in the last few years it is that (no surprise here) I am definitely a Dog Person, and that I have lost my love of travelling.

There was a time when I looked forward to heading to parts unknown, or exploring a country / city that I have never visited before. Maybe it is age, a back that creaks and groans after a few hours in a hard airplane or train seat, or maybe it is that the gadfly has become a homebody, even a semi-hermit.

Last week I had a rare visit to our corporate head office for some long overdue training. As chance would have it train travel was slightly shorter than the two hours in security, the one hour flight and the extra hour or two arranging a rental car and driving to the corporate headquarters / my hotel. So I opted for the train.

The trip itself was uneventful, though my legs were a bit numb by the time the Lyft driver dropped me at the hotel.

Over the next few days I ‘lyfted’ to work and back or enjoyed Blue Jays baseball in a somewhat sterile and very run of the mill hotel room. Mid-week my wife sent me a photo of Frieda looking up sadly at the camera. I think that is what set off a feeling of guilt / homesickness. Thankfully one of my colleagues, knowing my love of good food, offered to have his wife cook me a traditional butter chicken dinner.

Oh my! Harbir had said his wife, Ruby, was a great cook but I was blown away by the butter chicken, paneer, salad, even the naan bread with delicate coriander seeds. The dinner took several hours, with conversation, and by the end my belt had stretched at least a couple inches! Thank You Ruby for making this the highlight of the week!

Harbir and Ruby also have a dog, a small blonde spaniel named Skye. At the front door she was a little tentative, but once I crouched down and let her sniff me she was my buddy for the evening. I think she knew I was missing Frieda as she sat patiently by my side and waited for a pet on the head or flopped on my feet under the table, just like Frieda does at dinner time (well maybe a bit more patient as Frieda will pop up from time to time to see what’s on my plate).

Yup, dogs know in some inate way, like some pint sized Dr. Freud they sense when you are feeling sad, or lonely or just plain out of sorts. For the evening Skye bounced around the house playing with her ball or coming for a pet, like she knew that was what was missing in my hotel room!

All week long my wife updated me on the homefront, how Sam was doing, what was up with the neighbours and how Frieda was handling me being away and her Mom’s crazy schedule. Frieda handled it well though she was a bit sad for the first couple days (I knew Sam would be alright without me grumbling at him). Saturday, though, she became very quiet, snuggling on the couch or snoozing on the living room floor. About 2pm she let Lori know it was time for a nap and headed into her kennel.

My train came in about 5pm, with my wife and Sam waiting. It felt good to step down in Ottawa again!

Arriving home my wife went in first carrying groceries while Sam and I maneuvered my luggage out of the Rogue. Frieda was very quiet in her cage I could tell as I came through the front door. She said a small ‘Hello’ yip as Lori passed by to the kitchen. Returning from the kitchen, my wife stopped and looked at Frieda, who had slowly gotten up, “Guess who we brought home?” she said.

Frieda paused, and then from the front hall I could hear her kennel start to shake and rattle. I peeked around the corner. Frieda just stood there, blinking her eyes, then wagging her tail, then her tail started wagging her body. I opened the kennel door and she jumped, wiggling and wagging and licking and running around me in a circle. My heart soared!

This morning Sam and I had Boxing classes. Not thinking I put on the same jeans I had worn Friday night to Harbir and Ruby’s. Frieda sniffed my leg, up, down, back up again, then sat back and looked me in the eye. Frieda is not fond of other dogs, no, not at all. We looked at each other for minute then she smiled at me, a big toothy smile and began to wag her tail. She knew, or maybe Skye left her a wee message on my jeans, from one girl to another, part of the dog secret society.

Imagine if we could interpret the messages our dogs send? Skye’s the limit!

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