How Would You Spend a Dog-Free Day?

A life without Shiva? Perish the thought!

Believe it or not there was a time my life did not revolve around dogs. I may be wrong but I think I even participated in hobbies that had nothing to do with trick training or canine sports. As hard as it is to fathom, I recall I used to read books that centred on the human experience, with nary an animal to be found. There may have even been days in which I didn’t utter the word “dog”, not once!

Can you imagine?

It’s fascinating how the adoption of a pet can be so life-changing. I used to swim in pools, go away for weekends to non-dog friendly locales, hang out with friends who’d never held a leash, leave the house without a three-minute session with the lint roller. While I still have a lot of the same interests and passions I always did, many of them have been relegated to the shelf, to be taken down later when I have more time.

I am sure I am not alone in this. Many of you must also enjoy activities that have nothing to do with your dogs. Maybe you love to cook, maybe you are a world-champion croquet player, or maybe you love watching silent films. Our dogs are our family members and we give them the bulk of our attention but that doesn’t mean we don’t pursue goals in other areas. Heck, there is even video evidence of my brief belly dancing career.

When I think about all the things I’ve studied and performed but never spoken of here, it makes me wonder how well I really know all of you. There is so much going on behind the scenes that we never explore in our pet-related writing. If you will be kind enough to indulge me, I’d love to hear about some of your other interests.

What do you do when you aren’t hanging out with your dogs?

46 thoughts on “How Would You Spend a Dog-Free Day?

  1. I often think that my life would be easier without dogs, but not necessarily better! I know for sure I would travel more.

    My interest right now is to go on every zipline within driving distance from my house! Doing one this Thursday, and fingers crossed, a really, really fast one next week!

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    • I love ziplining too! There are a few in Nova Scotia but I’ve only been once so far. I hope you have a blast!

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  2. Hi Kristine, my dad likes to ski, preferably Whistler/Blackcomb, restaurants, loves good wine (no plonk), walks (okay with me because he meets lots of people), trips without us or mom, chatting with his far-away friends, riding his bike and getting out to some movies (mostly action oriented or super hero ones), teaching. Mom likes restaurants, great wine, tap dancing, exercising with very heavy kettle bells and chin up bars, San Francisco and New York trips without my dad, her MAC.

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    • I used to ski on occasion as well, though I spent more time on my butt. It’s not an easy sport to pick up as an adult, that’s for sure.

      How cool that your mom tap dances! Has she been doing that for a long time?

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  3. Tuesday and Friday nights I work the pole down at Vinnie’s lounge. Tuesdays aren’t that great because 1) it’s not pay day and 2) most Tuesdays the joint is dead unless there’s a rare stag party. I would have given it up years ago but it keeps me in shape. What can I say?

    😉 Seriously, in my pre-dog life Hubby and I did a lot more spontaneous things and I liked reading, knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking and doing things with the kids.

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    • Hahahaha! Best. Comment. Ever. I actually laughed out loud and had to read it to my husband to explain my giggles.

      I’ve always wanted to learn a skill like crocheting or knitting but I just haven’t had the patience. I’d love to be able to make things for friends and family.

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  4. Great question! My non-dog related activities include church and getting to spend time browsing inside of a bookstore or library. Even when I bake it’s usually dog treats. For the first time in quite a while I actually made some (human) cupcakes for someone at work and B was convinced they were for her. And I cannot imagine going on a hike without a dog – it just isn’t as fun!

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    • I agree. All outdoor activities are much more fun with a dog. But there is a part of me that misses long afternoons in a library as well. It’s been a long time.

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  5. I honestly don’t remember a time when dogs were not apart of my life, but over the last 5 years they have definitely become more apart of my life.

    I like to garden, cook and spend time with the kids being a kid. I also would love to get back into working with crafts someday.
    Now I’m off to go find that video of you as a belly dancer:)

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    • It’s hard, isn’t it? I’ve only had a dog for three years but they have been so radically different than all the years before that it’s hard to remember what life was like beforehand. Not that I want to go back!

      LOL. Hopefully the video was never put online! Though, anything is possible. 😛

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    • My sentiments exactly.

      I miss Pluto desperately these days. He’s at my mom’s since the baby just started to crawl and we (read my mom) wanted both of them to be apart atleast till the baby finds his feet… so, I’m back home and Pluto is back at mom’s… and it drives me INSANE…

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    • Is there nothing you would do if you didn’t have work or dogs to look after? If you had a free day, completely open, with only yourself to please?

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  6. I guess just like when someone has children, when you have a dog, your interests and activities often drift so you include your entire family in your life. Before the dogs, we traveled a lot more, we ate out a lot more, we enjoyed gambling, and I read mostly thrillers and horror novels. Some of those interest have slowed due to money and time restraints from the dogs, and my reading interests have changed a lot (I can’t count how many dog training books and dog memoirs I’ve read) but I actually feel I have more interests and activities and friendships now that the dogs are part of my life. 🙂

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    • That’s a good point. Because of Shiva I have gotten involved in a lot of different activities and have a lot more friends than I ever would have without her. But I am also careful that I don’t let my relationship with her rule my life. As important as she is, I do think it’s necessary to escape the doggie bubble every once in a while and explore other passions.

      For instance, I know you are a writer and have finished your first book. Is that completely dog-related?

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      • Funny thing is, it IS. 🙂 It’s a suspense novel, but one of the main characters is a dog. LOL!

        But you are right, it is important to do non dog things from time to time as well. There are a few people in our life who are not dog lovers (I know, weird right?) and while we used to invite them over for dinners when we had only one dog, it is hard with three, so now when we get together we meet at a restaurant. So there, that’s one thing without the dogs that we do. 🙂

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        • That totally counts. 🙂 Very few of the people I interact with these days don’t have pets of their own and enjoy talking about them all the time. It’s rare to have a non-animal-related conversation. I wonder if that’s healthy?

          Can’t wait to see your book on the shelves!

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  7. I love to travel. Something I got a taste for when I was in the Navy. We take road trips as often as we can and sometimes that means leaving Relay with family, friends, or a sitter.

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      • Actually, I love cross country trips. We’ve done two so far and covered most of the US in the process. What really makes it interesting is we kinda wing it visiting a few friends along the way.

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        • That’s amazing. I’d love to do something like that eventually. Even better if I could take my dog with me!

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  8. I don’t do much without the dogs or not involving my dog-world friends but before they WERE my life, I spent hours at the pool swimming laps…then reading books…then swimming laps…then reading books. Shayne is not a fan of me swimming–it worries her so she ends up jumping in on top of me so I can’t log too many yards.

    I’ve been very lucky that one of my “pre-dog-life” passions has been totally enhanced by my pups–Ever since I picked up my first camera as a kid, I’ve always been into photography. The dogs have DEFINITELY added to that passion, though I also like to photograph people, plants, and weird geometry I see in the world.

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    • I am super envious of your pool. I haven’t gone swimming for a long time and I used to love it. But I always feel guilty if I do something on a regular basis that takes me away from my dog since I have to be away from her so much during the week. It’s hard to find a balance. Mostly, I just read. 🙂

      That’s great you have been able to work your two passions together! It sounds like you’ve got a great thing going!

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  9. The Husband and I are divers, but even when we’re diving locally, the dogs are waiting on shore and go for swims during surface intervals. It’s really only during travel that we leave them behind, but if I could bring them there, too, I would!

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    • Now that is brilliant! Learning to dive is on my life list. I really need to just sign up for those lessons I keep googling. 😛

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    • You sound like me, except we don’t even go on holiday without Shiva. I haven’t spent a night away from her in three years!

      Are there any hobbies you enjoy that don’t directly involve your dogs, even if they are around? Since you are very creative I imagine you have many different craft projects on the go!

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  10. A dog free day?? What’s that? I was born with dogs and have always had them. But there are days I wish they could go to doggie day care for a couple days, I wouldn’t know what to do if the house was so empty and quiet. 🙂 I’m an artist, I love to paint and write although it would be nice to do these without being interrupted all the time. bol! I also will get away on my bike and I’d like to learn how to cross country ski, for some me time in the winter. I used to love canning, now I just don’t have the time to do it. And I have a house full of plants that I tend to, although they have struggled with 6 dogs as well, but they’ve become so hardy they still somehow look great.

    So what about you Kristine?

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    • I know what you mean, it can be hard to sneak in the time for personal interests with one dog. I’d have no idea how to do it with six!

      Me? I used to love dancing, even though I am terrible at it. I like taking different classes and learning new things. I love to bake but haven’t turned on the oven in ages. There are a lot of things I used to be involved in – theatre, Girl Guides, book clubs – that I haven’t made the time for. But I am thinking I need to start pursuing some of these things again, if only once a week. Maybe open up a history book instead of a dog one for a change!

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  11. It’s been 12 years since we had a whole dog free day (not counting holidays). We do have dog free hours. The Other Half cruises the highway on Bob. I like to do cartwheels, practice standing on my hands, take people down and kick their heads. But you already know that 🙂

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    • I do and I think it’s great! Best non-dog-related activity I can think of! I’ve never been able to perform a cartwheel, not even when I was young. Any tips?

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      • Start with a baby hop. Assume the cartwheel position (one arm stretched out, hand on floor) but instead of flinging your legs all the way vertically up (scary), kick them 1/3 up, then 1/2 up, whatever’s comfy. When you’re ready, kick the legs into vertical and go for it! Don’t look at the floor! It’s easier looking at the wall or into the distance. This may not be accomplished in one day or one month! Have fun! Post a vid when you can 🙂 x

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        • Thanks for the encouragement! I don’t know if a cartwheel is in me at this point but it’s worth a shot! If I accomplish such a giant feat you better believe there will be video, combined with a message written in the sky!

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  12. Everything about my life has changed over the years with dogs. In college, my last dog free times, I went to concerts, spent time in museums, and went to tons of movies. If it had subtitles, I saw it.

    Since having dogs I’ve taken up kayaking, camping, sailing (not yet dog-friendly but we’re working on it), bicycling, and hiking.

    I still love to read as much as ever. And not everything I read is about dogs. But I prefer to do my reading overlooking the lake with Honey by my side.

    I remember really loving movies. But evidently I didn’t love them more than I love spending time with dogs. 🙂

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  13. Yes, having a pet is very tying – you can’t just decide to get up and go without doing a zillion other things first. Yes, they hold us back from going on vacations. Yes, they are time consuming – but I guess none of us would have it any other way . . . look what they give back to us – unconditional love and loyalty.
    Nope, I just could not imagine my life without a dog in it.

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  14. We have a roommate who our dogs consider part of their pack specifically so we can go away now and then. When J is home, I can even ignore the urge to call and check on everyone. Of course, J is in Europe for 3 weeks right now…
    I have my writers’ group every other week. Of course, 4 of us are dog people and 2 are cat people, so there’s lots of pet talk.
    This weekend we left the dogs at home when going two different places they could have gone with us- a concert in the park and the Ren Faire. The concert would be too high a concentration of people for Larry, too much food on the ground for June, and just too long for Howie.
    We’ve taken a dog to Faire before, but this weekend the temps were over 90, so doggies stayed home in the AC.

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  15. I am a voracious reader! That would be one of my top outside interests. I’m also a big movie buff and I enjoy movies that are a bit offbeat and less mainstream. I dabble in various art projects, as well. I seem to be drawn to creative endeavors.

    I also love history, so visiting historical sites is something I love doing when I can. Seeing museums and other interesting events is something I really enjoy. Sheesh! I sound so nerdy!

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  16. I’ve been staging a subtle (and entirely unsuccessful) long term campaign with my boss at the library to allow dogs, or at the very least Elka. I do feel that quiet and well behaved dogs should be permitted; unfortunately, we can’t even really go a day with quiet and well behaved humans (adult OR child) so I guess it’s too much of a long shot!

    I’m such a couch bum that I really don’t have many dog free days….I guess I couldn’t take Elka to Disney World, were I inclined to hope a plane to Florida.

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  17. It’s been so long that I barely remember what it was like NOT to have a dog. Unfortunately, before Cali, I worked A LOT and don’t really remember doing anything too exciting! I think my life has greatly improved because of her – she gets us out for a walk every day, makes sure we don’t work too many hours, and makes us smile daily! 🙂

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  18. I know exactly what you mean…we didn’t have dogs around growing up, except for the occasional stray that wandered up as I got older. Not long before I moved out on my own, my parents got a dog, and I started to actually enjoy being around dogs for the the first time in my life. Then, when I married my husband, we bought a husky, and another one about six months later, and now I can’t imagine my life without them, or dogs in general. I’ve always loved to read, but since my dogs have entered mylife, I love to read about other people and their dogs. I still enjoy going to the movies, taking trips to the beach or mountains, etc, but I definitely think about how my dogs will fit into the equation, or how they’ll be taken care of while I’m away. I don’t spend many days dog-free these days, but when I do, they’re definitely still on my mind at some point in the day. They are, like you said, family. 🙂

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  19. Isn’t it funny when you think of all the time you used to spend doing…stuff? I swear I used to be YOUNG and COOL. When we got Felix I lived in this cute apartment in this quaint little heritage/college town and I went out pretty much every night. I worked in bars and lounges as a singer and did work for the movies here in Vancouver.

    I crafted with a passion and took great joy in redecorating the apartment every season or two. I had dinner parties and barbeques and brunches – a lot. I don’t actually blame the dogs for letting this stuff go, (other than the apartment, that was ALL FELIX’S FAULT), but more my own silly notion of “growing up” and shelving some of that stuff in favour of reliable pay checks, a yard in the suburbs and all that junk. Much like your year of Zoomery, I’m dedicating this year to recapturing some of that wild & crazy girl I used to be. I’ll just have some really cute boys to snuggle at the end of the day now!

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  20. This is actually something I think about a lot, because I often lament about the lack of freedom that comes with taking on caring for another living thing (and I’ve even gone so far as to suggest that a child would eventually equal more freedom than a dog ever will, because you can legally take your children with you to almost every single place, regardless of whether or not it’s appropriate–and it’s easy to get a friend, relative, grandparent to babysit, less so to dog sit). But now that I’m trying to pinpoint what I was doing before Desmond that was so awesome, I can’t come up with much. I didn’t really have hobbies/interests in a traditional sense. We did, however, do much more traveling and much more going out: to eat, to the movies, for drinks, to see a band, etc. We also were able to do things like crash at a friend’s house if we partied too hard, but now we have a time limit on all our activities because of Mr. Wonky Legs. So for me it really is less about the activities that I would fill my free day with and more about just having the free day to not care where I am or for how long. If that makes sense.

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