The three dogs I live with, Sage, Ike and Echo, are just that--dogs. They are furry, chew on bones, track in mud, bark at passing cars and fart with abandon. They whine to be let in, luxuriate in front of the fire and occasionally get caught with their heads in the trash bin (Echo is usually the culprit there). But every once in a while, they are much more than floppy dogs covered in mud and that's what gives me pause (pun intended).
They're not my dogs and I'm hardly a foster mommy to them. From the human perspective, I'm a babysitter; from the dog point of view, I'm a litter mate, but I do feel some sort of connection to them. I guess it's because they make me laugh even when I'm in a foul mood. Or the fact that when I come home they each jockey for my attention and obnoxious baby-talk. When I block the entrance to the rest of the house with chairs when they're wet and muddy from being outside Echo wedges his head all the way under until he is just barely past the barricade just to be closer to me. And when I'm working on the laptop Sage walks up to lay her head across the key board, just in case I hadn't noticed she was already there. They dance with me in the living room when I'm blasting the stereo, lay their heads in my lap when I'm working and if I let them, they'd share my beer with me.
These dogs, for all their silly, dusty, bone-chewing antics, have become slightly more than just my roommates dogs. They've become co-workers, workout companions, dance partners, assistant chefs, wake-up calls, jokesters, friends and sounding boards. And yes, even I am rolling my eyes at myself for my "oh-my-gosh-these-dogs-are-so-cute-and -let-me-tell-you-all-about-them" post, BUT they really are that great. And when you live in the frozen, red state of Montana and spend more time with your roommates dogs than any other humans in your life because you work from home four days a week and can't stand to be out at night because it's too cold, then yes--you do get to know and appreciate them more than you thought you would. Besides, they're cuter than most humans I know.