Is There a World That Doesn’t Involve Dogs?

This might come across as a strange thing for a dog blogger to say but I think I spend too much of my day thinking about animals. From the time I wake up, my job, my hobbies, my friends, my conversations, the books I read, and even my Facebook status updates, everything is related somehow to animals. Mostly dogs.  There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this. I like everything I do. I enjoy reading and talking and writing about animals. They are endlessly fascinating, after all. Honestly, I wish I could spend more of my time in similar ways. But I fear I have tucked myself into a very small world.

Last week I spent a day amongst people whose jobs don’t allow them time to own pets. I went a whole eight hours without hearing the words “cat” or “dog.” It was alarming to me how much I noticed the absence. Have I become a little too obsessed? Is this all-encompassing interest really that healthy?

I’m sure by now almost everyone has seen the eHarmony video made by the woman who might love cats just a little too much. If not, you can find it here. I am still not sure it isn’t a joke. If you take it seriously, it’s a little frightening. While I don’t think I am this far gone yet, I can see it happening one day. That could be me, sitting on that bed, crying about how much I love dog whiskers.

Not a pretty sight.

 

Look at me! Blueberry picking! Not a dog in sight.

There was a time I had interests that didn’t involve animals.

 

It’s hard to believe, I know. There are photos on my computer without animals in them. Not a one. I participated in feminist communities. I read books about history and politics. I took belly dance classes and cooking classes. Some days I went to the library. I even remember going to see movies in a real live movie theatre. Movies that didn’t even show a single animal. When I went shopping, I never thought of going by the pet store. Hell, I often skipped the pet supplies aisle in the supermarket. Back then, I had friends who didn’t have animals in their houses.

Don’t worry. I am not saying I am going to give up any of my animal-related actitivites. I am so involved for a reason. But I think I need to spend some time re-discovering some of my former interests. I used to love baking, for instance, but I haven’t made anything for months. (Unless you count dog treats.) I am also going change my reading habits and search for books on non-animal topics. Not permanently, of course, but I think it will help remind me there are other things going on in the world.

Hopefully this will keep me on the healthier side of crazy.

What non-animal-related things are you up to lately? Have any fun suggestions?

33 thoughts on “Is There a World That Doesn’t Involve Dogs?

  1. Hmmm, another great post that will have me thinking for the next few days.

    But I’ll add a contrary point that I am thinking about posting on–connecting with dog people brings me in touch with people I wouldn’t normally know. When I look at the facebook pages of Something Wagging fans, I see folks with different religions, political opinions, favorite books, and music from mine. And that’s neat.

    If I didn’t connect with different people over a common interest in dogs, I might find myself in an even smaller bubble.

    So yes, explore all the interests you have. They’re what make you an interesting person even when Shiva is not at your side.

    But don’t be too concerned about the doggie obsession. Look at the international friendships you’ve formed just by telling stories about Shiva–and then sharing things about yourself that round out the picture and make us like you for more than just loving her.

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  2. You are not alone. I feel the same way sometimes. My pets are like my children but sometimes I feel like that is all I ever talk about, hear about, or read about. My mind thirsts for other stimulation. But I always remember without our voices they may never be heard.

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  3. I second what Pamela says. Animal people come in all stripes (sorry), and it’s that diversity that I LOVE. I have an opposite life to yours– NONE of my friends have pets. I have to get my animal fix on-line, and, of course, at the dog park, where I meet people I would never, ever meet otherwise.

    I believe it’s the height of rudeness to peek into another person’s womb, so this is not meant as a hint or personal comment in any way, just a statement of fact: having kids changes EVERYTHING. Your hobbies, your friends, and even your relationship with your pet. In fact, you’re often too tired to do anything! If you want to start a non-animal-related book discussion blog, count me in! 🙂

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  4. What? Non dog activities? Blasphemy!! LOL

    Actually, I enjoy fantasy novels (especially easy to read young adult), and cooking and hope to get back into ballroom dancing when funds permit.

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  5. Great post… I have a number of blogs I watch on here from photography, cooking, to pets.. and I admit I find the pet ones the most interesting usually these days. My biggest thing is that I have little hope of really enjoying any other hobbies if my dog is not content and worn out… so that’s also part of the reason I do so much with her/related to her. And it’s just what I signed up for by getting her. It’s hard for some people to understand but I take that job pretty seriously. I am also surrounded by dogs all day, so my photography which is a hobby of mine tends to reflect that, but I’m okay with that for the most part as it still allows me creative outlets. My baking goes up and down, but I have wanted to get into making more treats for the dogs so that I don’t eat what I make but can still get my creative fix through baking. Problem is then my dogs have lots of treats that I can’t give them right away or THEY will get fat.. I think I may start giving some away on the blog. I already do to the friends living nearby.
    It all comes down to balance, if you feel dogs/pets have taken over your life and other areas might be suffering because of it, or it is leading you down the wrong path overall then fix it.
    Maybe you should try something new every month, or challenge yourself to do one of these other hobbies at least once a week.
    You’ll figure something out, you always do… but you are not alone in this.
    Anna
    http://www.akginspiration.com

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  6. I definitely find myself doing mostly-dog-related things. I love it, but I definitely notice when I decide not to sign up for a class or something because I know that I can’t bring the dog, and with working all day, it seems mean to leave him for part of the evening as well.
    I’d check out groupon for things you might like to try… they’re usually limited-timeline things, so it isn’t like you’re signing up for a year of doing something not-dog-related. I took a bartending course (one three-hour class) through a groupon deal (or one of the other deal sites), and have done a few exercise type class things that fit into my dog-lifestyle relatively easily.

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  7. I force myself to do non-dog things, only to find myself thinking “what could I be doing with my dogs right now?” Pathetic.

    I guess my job gets me away from dog stuff. If I talk “dog” at school, I get eye rolls or the subject is quickly changed. No one wants to hear how Chewy likes to pull on my hair, and how it is annoying, but yet, so sweet. That’s why I blog and goto classes and agility trial. Dog talk.

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  8. oh my god, i swear you got into my brain and wrote this post as me. i have been having this exact same fear/insecurity lately. when ben and i get together with friends we haven’t seen in a while, it’s so hard to think of anything to talk about other than dog rescue and dog fostering. what did we used to do before we fostered?
    i’m going to join a running club again and train for a marathon maybe for next spring. i love to cook and hope to do so more if/when chick and stevie wonder are fully integrated in the house thus saving us some time. i love to travel, and need to start dreaming about our next trip. for my “real” job i work on public policy and advocacy on issues of poverty, and i love it, but lately it’s been squeezed out in terms of brain space by the dog stuff.
    what do you do for your “real” job taht involves dogs?

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  9. I embrace the dog-craziness! I just opened up my very own pet shop so I guess I’m forever going to be talking dogs, all day long. And I wouldn’t change it for anything! It’s amazing to find that one thing that you are crazy passionate about.

    But I do also love reading (dog-related and non-dog-related books), cooking and gardening. ‘Course, my puppy is doing his best to destroy my garden, I’ve been thinking about starting to bake dog treats and the 4 books I currently have lined up to read next are dog training & health related. Oi vey! The dogs are taking over my non-dog hobbies! Thank god I still go to concerts (and dogs aren’t allowed at most) and enjoy a good round of lawn sports with our friends (unfortunately, our dogs are usually in the thick of it there too).

    I would also point out that no one critiques parents who have no hobbies outside of their family/children. Just ’cause our children are the furry kind does not make us crazy cat ladies!

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  10. I quilt – however I am working on a dog bed for a crazy dog in NS – I garden – but I changed my planting beds so Kita doesn’t have anything poisonous to chew on – we travel – but I have to look for dog friendly hotels and camping areas – I read books – but the lastest book is 101 dog tricks – I read a couple of blogs – but my favorite is this one – oh no – I think that whatever Kristine has caught is catching.

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  11. Okay, see, I’m not even gonna show mom this postie cuz I don’t want her getting any ker-azy ideas. I think she totally forgot that there was a life that didn’t revolve around us and I’d like to keep it that way, thank you very much.

    Wiggles & Wags,
    Mayzie

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  12. This totally happens to me. I will be incredibly busy with Sophie events for weeks on end and then realize, “Oh, I haven’t seen any of my non dog owning friends in months.” Flyball tournaments are all weekend and usually a few hours away. If we don’t have a tournament, we have practice, agility class and obedience class. I love all our activities but I definitely have to remind myself to meet up with friends and have some social life that is not Sophie related.

    I planned two summer get aways for myself in between tournaments and work commitments. One this weekend to the east coast for a friend’s wedding and the other in August to Vegas 😀

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  13. …..is there a world that doesn’t involve dogs…..well if there is I wouldn’t want to live there.

    My first responsibility is to Song, but after her I like family history, reading, tapestry and crafting. I am also very commited to promoting awareness of The Alzheimers Society (my mum has dementia).

    Song brings so much light into my life, I am more than happty for my life to revovle around her.

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  14. Since Cali is twelve, it’s hard to remember what my hobbies were before her 😉 I DO think that having her and going to the dog park, etc. has given me much more opportunity to meet new people. I’m not as outgoing by myself . . but if you have a dog with you, I’m definitely going to say hello . .at least to your dog 😉

    I love the fact that dogs help us slow down and enjoy life. People that are “too busy to have pets” are missing out! Don’t be too hard on yourself!

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  15. I know what you mean. My regular day job is unrelated to pets, but my other job and many of my free-time activities are pet-related. Walking, hiking, camping, blogging, lobbying municiple governments… we will drive to vacation destinations so Moses can come. We always bring him along when we’re diving (“shore support”). With him pretty much on bed rest these days, it’s actually felt pretty lonely.

    But one thing I do that is animal-free is play dodgeball. No, seriously. A bunch of friends have put together a rec dodgeball team. It’s tonnes of fun – I’d highly recommend it!

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  16. One of my favorite non-dog related activities is cooking and anything food. I’m a big foodie and love exploring new recipes and ingredients. I think it’s healthy to mix it up every once in awhile!

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  17. I think a lot of the time, for me, it becomes a merging of things that I love. For example, I love spending time with the dogs, and I love to travel and see new places. Being able to take the dogs along is a win-win for me!

    Photography is a new favorite hobby of mine, and I do take pictures of the dogs, but I also take pictures of other things, too. I’m learning to train my eye to capture the beauty that I see in everyday life. I also dabble in poetry and other creative writing, although not as much as I used to. I am also a voracious reader, and I rarely read nonfiction dog books. I love romance, thrillers and suspense.

    I don’t think your dog centeredness is any different than people who have a child, though, and suddenly all their activities center around kid stuff! You’re not abnormal!

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  18. What a great post! You know exactly how I’m feeling! I find myself in this space all the time. It really takes an effort on my part to find the balance between my dog’s social life (blogging, agility, the park, walks, treats) and MY social life (*crickets*). Last month, I decided to make an effort to spend at least two hours a week doing something just for me. I’ll never be that wild and crazy girl again (There are dogs at home. They’re *waiting*!!) but I love spending a little care-free time on my own or with friends.

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  19. Haha, I totally understand where you’re coming from. I have to fight really hard to not fall into “all dog all the time” mode. With four dogs it’s pretty easy to do 🙂 Since I do have four dogs, a lot of people automatically choose to talk to me about dogs right away since it’s an obvious topic of interest. While I certainly enjoy talking about dogs, I work hard to change the subject sometimes. I don’t mind being the crazy dog lady, but it’s good for people to know there are other things that interest me too 🙂

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  20. i think that sounds like a peachy idea. i try and do have interests outside of Ms Pea [though her blog takes up an inordinate amount of time].

    i suggest you try capoeira [of course] because it’s a heap of fun and is a whole community. before you know it, you’ll learn a new language, how to sing and play weird instruments [and humiliate yourself] in public and how to cartwheel. how can you beat that?!

    it’s good to have a life that’s *ahem* well rounded.

    i do hope Georgia doesn’t find out i said that.

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  21. the cat thing is a joke – she is trying to get an acting job…. she did a good job at going viral on youtube though!

    I still have a lot of friends who don’t have animals. I go out of my way to make conversation about politics etc but eventually they always ask me about the dogs or cats (depending on which species they prefer).

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  22. I think that happens, and is typical of anything that a person might get into and enjoy. And what could be better than loving to spend time being with and thinking about your dog?!

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  23. Balance is not a bad thing. When I was up at one and three with some unhappy dogs, I was thinking there were other things in life I could enjoy. However, I find friends and family with kids have similar questions about finding balance, too. Any friends I know who have interests in causes generally find they can be consuming. You can step back and find balance.

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  24. I think everybody who’s ever had a pet feels the same. George is my first ever dog (or pet), and he’s been with us for less than 3 years. However, I can’t imagine life without a dog anymore, and wonder how I could live without one before. I had my blackberry picking days, too. Well, I still have them, it’s just that now I’ve got George to help eat them.
    It’s the same with life pre- and after children…
    Being that I’m ready a dog-related book at the moment, I’ve taken your advice on board and will look for a non-animal related one next time. And might go on a family bike ride at the weekend, WITHOUT GEORGE.

    Have a nice weekend. x

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  25. I so wanted to comment on this post when I saw it on my Blackberry (now I need an iPhone or Droid so I can actually read it AND comment! Kristine – you so expressed all of my thoughts. I,too, am obsessed with all things dogs. We had a family birthday party recently and my brother invited his girlfriend. All we talked about was dogs! My brother finally said “enough with the dogs!” I also used to have a life before dogs that did not include dogs.

    So does that make us crazy like cat ladies?

    I think I’m going to have to grow some new interests and hobbies. 🙂

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  26. I can’t remember ever having a life without a warm blooded critter in the house. There was always a cat around somewhere, and I’ve had dogs since I have been 9 years old.

    What do I do for fun besides work? More work, which is dog-related. Sometimes I go fishing with my Dad and I do like to cook. This past Father’s Day, I made a sit down dinner for 14 people.

    I’ve had dogs for so long that I don’t even think about how they affect my life ie. walkies, trips to the vet, getting home for feeding time.

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  27. Oh boy I hear you! I think being a conscientious pet owner is a lot like being a new parent, it takes over your life. Crap, working from home Stella and Oly are the only things I have to talk to during the day! 🙂

    Good though to branch out and work on your other interests. Be sure to share them with us!

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  28. It’s easy to get absorbed into the doggy world! I generally manage to keep a balance – I’m a big reader, I love to bake (and cook), do yoga, go to movies, etc. 🙂 I think it’s good to mix in other things here and there – and I agree with houndstooth – I’m into photography, but that dovetails nicely with my love of Ms. Bella!

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  29. Oh, I can so relate. My main non-dog activity (outside of music – although even that includes dogs now sometimes) is Zumba. It’s a blast and is my healthy outlet. Of course, the dogs almost always get their off-leash hike after Zumba.

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