What My Dogs Do When I’m Down

Desperately Seeking Sun

Sometimes I think in a previous life, I was a cat. Or a plant.

In the middle of winter,  on a cloudless day, I’ll stand in the sunniest spot in my yard and tilt my head to the sky so I can feel on my face whatever feeble warmth makes it through the cold air.

The other day, when temperatures were in the high forties, I lay down on my back on the deck — not on a chair or a bench, but directly on the deck floor — attempting to soak in the sun.

The deck was hard, cool, and covered with muddy dogprints, but my hat kept my head warmish and protected from the muck, and my coat offered a small amount of cushioning. The heat on my face felt luxurious.

I could hear a few birds singing early notes of spring, so I closed my eyes and gave in to the moment.

Suddenly, I was paw-pinned to deck — and cold dog noses and slurpy wet tongues invaded my reverie.

Lilah is looking concerned; Tucker is right behind her.

Lilah is looking concerned; Tucker is right behind her.

I opened my eyes to see three sets of worried eyes in furry faces staring at me.

“Mom’s down!”

Lying face up on the floor is not a typical Mom position, and the dogs were concerned. They huddled around, questioning me: “Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine if you could get your nose out of my eyeball, Jasper.”

Jasper wants to make sure I'm ok.

Jasper wants to make sure I’m ok.

“And if you could remove your paws from my coat so I could sit up, Tucker.”

Tucker standing on my coat and looking in my face.

Tucker standing on my coat and looking in my face.

“And thank you, Lilah, for ensuring my face is really clean.”

Well if you're sure your face is clean...


It reminded me of the time I tripped over my snowshoes and splat-landed in the snow several weeks ago. Within seconds, all three dogs were gathered around me. As my canine audience watched closely, I took a mental injury inventory (Legs? Working. Arms? Movable. Back? Wrenched but viable. Dignity? Trashed.)

View from under Tucker

View from under Tucker

It wasn’t until I started to move and told them I was okay that Jasper, Lilah and Tucker turned their attention to the dumped contents of the compost pail I had been carrying. At the time, I was quite honored that the dogs waited to see if I was alright before attempting to snarf down the apple peels, potato skins and moldy bread I had dropped.

Dr. Lilah comes to my rescue.

Are you sure you’re okay?

Maybe my dogs aren’t they Lassie-type hero dogs who know how to run and get help.

Jasper keeps an eye on me.

Jasper keeps an eye on me.

But that day as I lay in the snow, and again when I was resting on the deck, I could feel the concern, love and caring pour over me from my dogs. And it was warmer than any sun.

In order to try and capture what it felt like, I lay back down on the deck took some pictures with my iPhone. The results are the photos you see in this post. Not all are in focus, but somehow I feel like those flaws help capture the emotion of the moment.

Do your pets know when you’re “down?” How do they help?

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27 Comments on "What My Dogs Do When I’m Down"

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  1. LOL – I love this post. It has to be my favorite.

    A few months ago, the dogs saw a rabbit (squirrel, bird, or another obnoxious hated creature) and took off. I was in the process of untangling their leashes and didn’t respond fast enough to the change. I grabbed the leashes quickly (but not fast enough) to stop the mass bolt towards the bushes and the dogs took me down.

    I finally know what “had the wind knocked out of me” feels like – it doesn’t feel good. I couldn’t breath for a few minutes, I had tears streaming down my face from the pain, and I was bleeding in three places. And I had four dogs standing around me wondering what I was doing on the ground.

    I didn’t have to say anything (I couldn’t anyway), they waited patiently until I got to my feet and got everyone’s leashes and we walked very slowly (no pulling either) back to the car.

    When I walked in the house, the dogs followed somberly and my boyfriend asked “how was the walk?” then took in my appearance and said “nevermind” and took over from there.

    I can laugh about it now, but at the time, it sucked.

    Today, I just remember those faces above me wondering if everything was okay and I like that memory.

    • It is an amazing feeling, isn’t it? It wasn’t so funny when I faceplanted in the snow. But all three dogs were by my side in a heartbeat, and the love and concern was obvious. That’s the part I remember. Being nosed at. Licked. The eyes looking deep into my own. Priceless. Unforgettable. Humbling.

  2. easy rider says:

    I sometimes wonder how Easy can “read” me… he is immediately on my side and he tries to cover tears with slobber and magic weim-spit :o) I’m grateful for his love… and for the slobber hmmm not sure :o)

  3. I think for all of the dogs craziness and excitement, when we are down, they are always around to make sure we get back on our feet.

  4. jan says:

    I think that Misty the alpha Poodle would start looking for a new human so no one would miss any meals in case it was serious. 🙂

  5. How pawsome that they love you so much and want to make sure you’re okay. Or do they like it because now you’re on their level?

    • They do think it’s fun when I’m on their level. Hey, any one of them will sleep in bed with my husband and I. But when I’m down in an unusual place, they’re concerned. Something is not right.

  6. Phod will run and check, Hailey doesn’t notice. Glad you were ok! Thanks for the re-create, loved the pictures.

  7. meowmeowmans says:

    Aw, we think it shows how much they love you! They just wanted to make sure you were okay. 🙂

  8. Emma says:

    Mom lies on the floor and the ground with us a lot, so that is not alarming. Now when she slips and fall, that is different. She always lets out a shriek which tells us there is trouble and then we jump all over her.

  9. Rebekah says:

    These are so cute!!

  10. Well, at first when you said down we thought like depressed because I am an excellent anti-depressant. But you meant down literally! Every time my mom lays on the floor to do her exercises she has a cat on her and me in her face just like yours! She thinks its because I think she’s not suppose to be there, probably like yours. Love Dolly PeeS: She signed up again to see it it works this time again.

    • I intentionally wrote the title to have a double meaning; glad you caught it. I can picture the cat on you while you’re trying to do Downward Facing Dog — with a dog nose in your face. 😀

  11. They love you and were worried, for sure ! Mum is sometimes on the floor doing her abs workout, which is not alarming, but we’ll check if she’s just lying, or doing anything else as exercises. Purrs

  12. I must share the story of Ogden Nash Cohen, my cat. He’s long since passed but he always knew when I had a headache. He would lie on my chest and put his paws on my eyes. Only when I had a headache.

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