For pet owners, ask yourselves this question: what would you most be worried about if your dog could talk?
I know. I know. Some of you are going to say, “I have nothing to hide. I am always myself, even around people.”
But it’s hard to believe we are 100 percent ourselves in public just as we are in the comfort of our own home. At least, I’m not.
I know that I do choose my words when I’m interacting with people, tend to control my emotions more, and have certain qualities of “savoir vivre” (or in other words, rules of propriety) in public that I might not totally have at home. And who’s there to watch me belch? Or walk around in my undies alone at home? Or hear me complain about someone I wouldn’t want anyone hearing me complain about?
Loki. My husky-lab mix dog. My furry son. My secret keeper.
The poor guy had to watch me have breakdowns, laugh hysterically, ugly cry, and not be able to say one single word. In his world, a simple lick on the cheek and a comfortable sleeping position on my lap are enough to make me feel better.
And they are. They truly are.
I saw a clip the other day on Instagram that made me laugh so hard because it’s so freaking true.
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And I talked to my friend who has a Golden Retriever, and I told her this is exactly how Loki looks at me when I’m having mental breakdowns:
And so, we got into a discussion about the things we do in front of our dogs that we would never do in public.
Here are five things Loki has witnessed (and probably wishes he hasn’t) of my no-filter self at home:
1. I talk loudly to myself.
You know those lengthy, emotional, confusing, and sometimes enlightening monologues we have when we are going through something. I often walk around at home when I’m alone with Loki and talk my way through understanding my feelings and what the hell just happened (if it is something worthy of my attention).
When I often do that, Loki stares at me then goes around the house looking for the person I’m talking to. Little does he know my alter ego is trying to provide me with advice on how to handle life’s troubles.
2. I pee with the door open.
Too much information, right?
I was talking with my friend today about our dogs and personal space. His usually turns around and guards the door whenever there’s something she doesn’t have to witness. But Loki enters the bathroom with me, sits by my legs, and stares me in the eyes. It feels freaking weird peeing while having someone staring at you.
But I then learned that to Loki, guarding me means staying by my side no matter what. This includes an intense staring contest, no personal space, and a strong feeling of protection.
So, now, whenever I need to go to the bathroom and I’m alone with Loki at the house, I know we’re going on the “Adventures of Michelle and Loki in the Bathroom of Wonder.”
3. I have the ugly mental breakdowns.
There are no pretty mental breakdowns. But to me, the ugly one includes crying loudly, screaming at the top of my lungs, punching a pillow, or laughing for no reason.
Or…well, all of those at once.
Usually, when I fake cry to see what Loki’s going to do, he just steps on me, walks past, and minds his own business, leaving me fake crying like an idiot.
But when I do really cry, he walks closer to me, licks my hands and face, and snuggles against me on my lap to enjoy my caresses.
Saying that dogs are great to deal with our anxiety is an understatement. They are the greatest source of joy I’ve ever found.
4. I sing at the top of my lungs.
I’m not a good singer. I would love to be, but I’m not. My fiancé has an amazing voice and knows his way around instruments, and when he passionately encourages me to sing with him, I can’t start without following him to hit the right key. And even then, my voice is super low.
Eighty percent of my group of friends are musically talented, so you can imagine me feeling insecure about how I sound like when we’re all singing together.
But with Loki? Yeah, I don’t really care about how I sound. I sing at the top of my lungs, and he howls with me. And with time, as much as I gave myself the freedom to sing my heart out with him, I realized that I was taking singing way too seriously.
Nobody really cared how I sounded.
I’m always in my head way too much. Loki taught me that it’s okay to just have fun and not overthink things like singing with my friends because frankly? They just want to have fun as well. It’s not an audition for The Voice.
5. I go wild with my guilty pleasures.
This can include unhealthy snacks, binge-watching an entire season of “Bridgerton,” and wearing minimal clothing when it’s super summery hot.
Does Loki judge? No. At least, I don’t think so. The only thing he cares about is having me near him, feeding him, giving him belly rubs, and taking him on walks to do his business.
And I wish we could be as non-judgmental as that.
Living with a dog taught me many things, but the most important lesson is to be myself, filter-free.
Here’s another one of Loki’s staring contests for your pleasure: