I love my horse, obviously. Ideally I would be at the barn almost every day, barring illness and those blah days we all get sometimes when after work we are spent and just want to curl up on the couch with a book. Boarding is wonderful in that respect, because, well, we have that option. Still, there are 3 important reasons I generally only get there 4 to 5 days a week:
Our 3 dogs.
Now, I'm very, very lucky. Kyle works from home almost every day, so the dogs are rarely alone for more than a couple hours at a time. My office is also super duper dog friendly, and I'm usually able to bring all 3 monsters in for at least a couple of hours once a week or so...it varies based on meetings, schedules, etc. We do have some limits. The dogs have it pretty good, is what I'm saying. I also may have a titch of irrational guilt about being away from them so long most days.
Still, they are so, SO happy when I'm home with them. They stay near me no matter where I am in the house, whether it's on the deck, in the kitchen, living room, or when I go to bed-all 3 follow me with the rare exception. Of course I don't think I'm some kind of Dr. Doolittle, but the fact is I feed them both of their meals and walk them twice a day (though Kyle takes pity on me once or twice a week and will do the afternoon walk honors). Dog loyalty, I has it.
Could I go straight from work to the barn everyday and get home between 7 and 8 pm instead of 4ish? Sure, sure. Kyle could walk them, or of course at least make sure they go out to do their business (which he does anyway) until I get home for walking duties (we live in the city, but I still like to make sure they get their off leash time, which makes a "dog walk" more complicated then it sounds). They would probably be fine.
Still, I wouldn't be able to do it. I put off starting to ride again in my 20's precisely because I didn't know how I would fit the dogs into a consistent riding schedule (Kyle was working at the office then). I also love hanging out with them-tonight we had a lovely walk and I spent 2 hours giving each one a thorough grooming (that's no joke for the 2 golden retrievers!). It was, well, fun, and I know that makes me lame but there it is. A super Wednesday spent dog grooming!
I'm also sad to say it looks like Mojo's neck "thing" is slightly bigger-she's still acting fine, but I have a feeling whatever it is it's not good and our time with her is limited. I want to hang out with my old girl as much as I can and appreciate what may be our last summer together.
I'm very lucky in another respect, in that my parents live relatively close to the barn and I can take my crew over to their place to run around with their 2 manic huskies on 6 acres once or twice a week while I ride. This is awesome.
Miles' barn is super dog friendly and they've tagged along with me occasionally, but I have to face the facts that I have city dogs and I'm never going to be able to go out and ride my horse while my dogs calmly sleep in the shade trees. No, my dogs would much rather run amok and chase the barn cat while getting shocked by the electric fence and harassing passersby. Don't get me started on the eating and rolling in the inappropriateness, you all know what I mean.
Look, I've saddled myself with the responsibility of having multiple animals ever since I was 19 years old, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Still, it's a balancing act. Those that add children to the equation truly have my respect and admiration, because...yikes. I don't have the words.
So, I will continue to live life with Miles getting a night here, the dogs getting a night there, and relying on the people around me to help fill in the gaps. We're all very grateful, and couldn't do it without you!
Finally, if someone else did all the evening dog chores for me, I wouldn't get to see Lebowski on a log overlooking a river, happy as a clam.