White Dog met us at the door arrayed by almost all of the White Dog Army. While the others sang a song of abandonment and relief, she adopted a calm disappointed tone.
"We were very worried," she started. "You told us that you would only be gone for a little while and at most dinner might be half an hour later than normal. It is now ninety minutes beyond when we generally eat...an hour and a half. Do you have any idea how upsetting this is to our digestive systems (Not that I wish distress on any of us)?"
Steve already had taken Stormer out for a break and was in the kitchen preparing meals. We met friends for a very early dinner but the restaurant was crowded and service slow. It was not as though we thoughtlessly were tabula rasa about our furbabies; our friends have twelve dogs themselves so much of the dinner conversation revolved around dogs. They, too, had not yet fed dinner to their pack. Both families had gotten copious treats before we met at 5:30.
A nonpet guardian would not understand the fuss in this all nor would they make much sense of the pre-leaving sequence. I carefully explain to White Dog and whatever members of the White Dog Army who gather where we are going, our list of things to do, the approximate timetable, and when we hope to return. All are reminded of White Dog's authority while we are gone and all are asked to be on best behavior. Hugs and pets are given as we inch toward the door and I turn back to tell them I love them all and that we will be back just as quickly as we can. We wave from the car as we back down the drive.
"But, Little White Dog of My Heart, the timeline is an approximation and we all did focus on getting home to you and your dinners quickly." Then I stopped myself. "White Dog you are making me feel bad about spending a short evening with friends we see only once or twice a year. Instead you should be glad that our circle includes those who empathize with your needs and are not insulted by our startling at the time and rushing through the last half hour of our dinner. Dad has the WDA dinner ready now and I know he added some extras as a thanks for your patience. Go, enjoy your meal. Know you are loved. And remember there are many pups not eating anything tonight." I kissed her head.