When my husband and I got engaged, we got Rocky. He has always been spoiled and received tons of attention, until three years ago when we brought his sister Lyla into his life. My 23-pound Rat Terrier suddenly found himself sharing his living space with a highly energetic Doberman. Fortunately, after working out a few bumps with their pecking order, they are now the best of friends.
Still, every now and then I realize that Rocky needs some extra special one-on-one time; his sister can be such an attention hog. I decided to take him out for a week of fun and adventurous dates where we solidified our bond as pup and human. Here’s what we did (and spoiler alert: Rocky loved every minute of it):
We Went to the Movies
One of our local cinemas had a pet-friendly showing of “The Secret Life of Pets,” so I bought tickets and Rocky and I went for an early-morning matinee. When we first got into the theater, he got to meet an arsenal of new friends who had accompanied their owners to the show. Then, he discovered that there were popcorn kernels on the floor from the previous showing and he happily munched away at those.
When the movie started, I shifted over in my seat and Rocky hopped up and laid down next to me. He shifted his gaze between me, the dogs in the seats around us and whatever was happening on the screen. He barked along with the cartoon canines and even growled a few times when the characters got chased by dog catchers or got themselves into a rumble with a delinquent animated rabbit. Rocky thoroughly enjoyed the show and when we left the theater, he was so stimulated that he passed out happily in the car on the way home.
I Took Him to a Fair
There is a pier in town that has a variety of carnival games and rides. Those aren’t so much up Rocky’s alley but stuffed animals are. Being the chivalrous date that I am, I tried my hand at several games like Whack-a-Mole and popped balloons with beanbags. After a few tries, luck was on my side and I won him three stuffed animals, which was he thrilled to receive (he curled up next to his unicorn as soon as we got home).
We Spent the Day at the Beach
Rocky loves the sun more than most dogs I know, so he was totally up for a beach day. And what’s better than a beach that allows other dogs as well?
After letting him mingle with some of his kind, we went for a long walk on the shore together then ran for a few miles in the sand. He quickly learned that trotting through soft sand was much harder than wet, so he stayed as close to the ocean as he could get. I gave him some water and treats to refuel him and then we ran into the water to cool off.
Rocky would chase me into the sea and then flee for his life when a wave came at him, making it to shore just in the knick of time. After a while, he became so enthralled in chasing me that he didn’t notice a big wave that smashed into him. He flipped over, rolled through the surf, and then hopped right back up to continue playing with me. I am still finding sand in my car.
We Had a Coffee Date
Grabbing a cup of Joe is such a dating staple, so we hit up our neighborhood Starbucks where I grabbed a peppermint tea and treated Rocky to a puppuccino. After picking up our orders from the counter, we parked at a table outside to enjoy our treats (Rocky scarfed down his drink in seconds). The puppuccino is a secret-menu item at Starbucks made specifically for pets and consists of a cup of whipped cream. Needless to say, Rocky was a fan.
We Took a Nature Walk
We found a quiet little trail near our home and spent several hours outside in nature. I was able to let Rocky off leash and watch him run up and down the hills. There were tons of lizards and insects around for Rocky to chase and he had a ball attempting to catch them (he never even came close but it was cute to watch him try).
When Rocky wanted a break, he curled up under a tree and I plopped down next to him to take in the scenery. It was a great way for us to spend some time together and sneak in a much-needed cardio session.
I Treated Him to a Spa Day
Rocky is a short-furred dog and, aside from us clipping his nails, he never gets pampered at the spa, so he was happy when I treated him to a special spa day. I took him outside and brushed him with his special brush, which he absolutely loves, as it feels like a gentle massage. Then he got his nails clipped, ears cleaned, teeth brushed and a nice relaxing bath with all-natural oatmeal and aloe shampoo.
I dried him off and wrapped him in a fuzzy warm towel, which he loved (he always enjoys burrowing down in the covers and is a big fan of being warm). I even turned my heating fan in my bathroom on and created a little doggie sauna atmosphere for him. After that, I gave him some treats and a nice bowl of fresh natural spring water before he took a snooze out on the patio.
We Went Shopping
We hopped in the car and headed over to a local dog bakery where I bought him a bone-shaped cookie. Then we went to PetSmart where I let him pick out a new toy to add to his collection. We got something super furry and easy to destroy, as the dog toys around the house are typically Lyla’s tough (and very boring for Rocky) rubber toys.
To top it all off, he came home with a brand new giant shiny bone, which he is still enjoying. Aside from the food, I think his favorite part of the day was riding in the car with the windows open (he knows how to roll them down all by himself) and getting some fresh air while driving around with me.
We Had a Caricature of Us Drawn
I took tons of photos during my week of dating Rocky but wanted another fun way to capture the memory of our wonderful time together. So, with the help of some friends, I found a very talented caricature artist in the area and set us up with a session. Rocky sat in my lap while the artist sketched our likeness.
Rocky posed for him and occasionally cocked his head to the side while watching his sketch being drawn. When it was my turn to be drawn, Rocky took a little nap (posing for a portrait and keeping your head still is more tiring than it looks). Afterwards, I got it framed and am planning on hanging it up in my laundry room above Rocky’s leash hook.
We Got Some Much-Needed R&R
The week was hectic so to bring it all home, Rocky and I snuggled on the couch together, one of his absolute favorite activities. He’s not typically allowed on our furniture (aside from his many dog beds) so it was an extra special treat.
By spending seven days together without his sister, Rocky and I really solidified our bond. We did a bunch of activities but at the end of the day, it was the company that was the best part of it all. I highly recommend taking some time to show your appreciation for your 4-legged roommate.
Nicole Pajer is a freelance writer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, energetic Doberman, and rat terrier.