Real-life Confession #92: I Am A Novelty Addict

Shiva and I don’t have much in common, it’s true. But one thing we do share is a deep affection, bordering on addiction, for novelty. In many ways I thrive on change. If I had unlimited resources and lived in fantasy land I would be thrilled to move to a new place every year and change jobs like I do clothes.ย  Because I am a human living in modern society I have learned to be okay with living within a routine structure, as long as the details of that structure vary from day-to-day. From all my observations, Shiva seems to agree. Being a dog, she probably prefers a little more stability in her life, yet I’ve seen how excited she gets over a brand new toy or a new hiking trail. She likes knowing when her food is coming, but seems to appreciate if the menu is changed up every once in a while.

011I could not agree more. Sure, eating Cheerios for breakfast every single day is better than eating nothing. If I had no other options, I could probably do it. However, after a week or so I’d start to feel restless, edgy. I’d have to start eating them dry or put them on a plate or in a mug instead of in a traditional bowl. Something, anything, no matter how small, to make them different.

I could be anthropomorphizing when I notice a similar boredom in my dog. It comes with the territory. Or maybe I am just projecting. But when we bring home a different variety of kibble or a new flavour of cookie, she seems to pay extra attention to me on our walks. She offers passive attention much more frequently and responds that much faster to her name. With new food in my pocket, she seems to look at me almost half as often as she looks at the ground.

Apparently novelty ranks right up there with mud.


At home, new toys, antlers, and even freshly laundered blankets seem to give Shiva an extra bounce. I like to keep her belongings on rotation, putting toys away and bringing out ones she hasn’t seen for several weeks. That way they always seem new. She growls a bit more when tugging with a different toy. Jumps a bit higher. We do the same with her chews. And I like to put a little something different in her Kong every day. Sometimes peanut butter, then yogurt, maybe pumpkin the day after. Keep her guessing.

All this craving for newness has caused us both a bit of anxiety as of late. The location of our new house doesn’t offer us very many routes for our twice-daily walks. Even more so now that it’s dark and the off-leash areas aren’t safe. That leaves us with exactly two directions making it impossible to switch up where we go on even a daily basis. Shiva and I are hitting our breaking point. I sense it in my own reluctance to head out the door and I see it in her restlessness at home. I am bored with the same scenery and she is clearly uninterested in the same smells.


That’s why tonight, when I noticed a new road had opened up in the industrial area a few blocks away, we practically ran all the way there. It wasn’t much. Just a new road connecting two old ones, but it was enough for us. There was a new hill to climb and newly planted trees to mark, new mud to scarf and a new view of the residential area beyond. We were both in bliss and lingered as long as possible. I made sure to take it all in from both sides. I don’t think anyone has appreciated new pavement more.

It’s the little things that help get you through. Maybe next week they’ll finally open up the grounds to the new high school they’ve been building. Now that would be a Christmas miracle!


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14 thoughts on “Real-life Confession #92: I Am A Novelty Addict

  1. I can totally relate! When I was a dog walker, there were some dogs that I could walk on the same route every single day and they always seemed excited – Cali would prefer a new route as often as possible – she is easily bored and so am I. I’m sure it’s the reason that we have lived in so many different place, had so many jobs, and so many cars! I hope you find lots of new places to explore and you get your Christmas miracle! ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. bender doesn’t like novelty much except in toys and food – he likes the same old walks, his same old bed, the same old house, his routine…. Barbie seems to love novelty – perhaps because the first couple of years of her life were so sheltered, and she is quite the outgoing type ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. I have to admit. I like novelty too. I would love to live in a different place every year. I get bored with the same food, same TV shows, same books, etc. I love going to our dog park, but I also have to switch it up by taking my dogs to other parks too. They love the new smells, new things to explore, new dogs to meet…
    Daisy especially loves it when we go somewhere new.

    I am so sorry that there aren’t enough places to explore. Maybe a little snow would at least add to the scenery. I can send you some. We have plenty to spare. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Oh, I am the same way. What’s even worse is not being able to find a way to change things up. Talk about getting stuck in a rut. Drives me nuts and challenges my creativity as well. Sometimes the dogs and I just stand outside and look at each other, with that “Well what are we going to do?” look.

    I imagine Shiva is dog that can get rather bored, rather quick. So glad you found a new spot to check out.


  5. I do the same thinhg with Polly’s toys. Although I will have to get another little fox, as she adores him.

    Luckily we have several different routes we can take and usually I let Polly choose which way she wants to go. Only if I have to be back by a certain time do I dictate the route.


  6. I know Georgia gets bored eating the same thing. [Probably my fault.] I think she probably likes new trails too, though she might be more tentative of dogs she meets in unfamiliar places. I can’t understand how some of our local dog friends can go to the same park twice a day, year in and year out. Zzzzzz.


  7. We don’t have a lot of options where we currently live and usually drive to a trail. It’s a bit of a hassle of course but we do it. It’s for the dogs, so of course! I’m glad you and Shiva found a new spot to explore.


  8. We are sort of the opposite. We don’t like change much except at this time of the year when the sun is going away and we feel helpless to stop the darkness. Anything we can do to ward off the dark days, or at least make us feel like we have some control.


  9. During the week we always walk around the block, it is a quick 15 to 20 minute walk. We walk down our driveway and take a right. Every. Single. Night.

    One night I said to Husband, let’s walk the other way, you know for a variety.

    The dogs walked down the driveway and took a right.

    Husband said I thought we were going the other way?

    Well it’s their walk and that’s the way they headed. It seems like my guys could care less which way they go, as long as they go.


  10. looks like my woods, except i have dozens of deer running thru them….shiva is a unique name….when someone dies that is jewish, you “sit Shiva” to morn the passing, you cover the all of the mirrors in the house, people bring over food….


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