03/08/2013 11:10 am ET Updated May 07, 2013

The Kennel

So there I was... partly looking forward to leaving my 11-month-old pup at the kennel for a week... but partly missing him like nuts.

He and I have a very complex relationship. He relies on me for food, walks, health care, love... but he also tries to dominate me every chance he gets. He has never seen me as Alpha -- not in the nine months that we've had him. He jumps at me, he pulls away or bites the leash incessantly when I walk him, he tries to occupy my space, he never listens to any of my commands.

So, when my family and I were planning our Spring Break vacation, I looked forward to a "Spring Break" from pup as well. Hubby and I did lots of research. We couldn't just leave him with anyone (too many horror stories). It took us a while but we finally came up with a kennel in the country. Hubby and I visited it and we liked what we saw. It was clean, the dogs looked happy, and there was plenty of free space for the dogs to run around. In short, we were happy with our decision.

When it was time to take pup there, we made it a family trip. Hubby and I sat in the front seats of the car, 14-year-old son and pup sat in the back (with lots and lots of towels just in case pup would get car sick). We also brought along pup's food, his bed, four of his favorite toys, and one of the towels from the car (so that it would smell like home). As soon as we got there, pup couldn't wait to get out of the car; he heard so much barking, all he wanted to do was play and play. iven it was his supper time, we gave him his food. He went at it and never looked up as we were trying to say a sweet "good-bye" to him. He had positively no interest in us. We stared at him for a while, but when he made it clear he was too busy to give us any attention, we just kind of left. So much for the tearful good-bye I had envisioned.

That evening was really weird. The three of us ate dinner in silence. It was strange not to have pup around sniffing at our feet. It was strange not going out for a walk after supper. I really missed the little guy -- hubby and son, not so much. But I missed him like crazy.

So today, after a full week, we went back to the kennel to pick him up. Son went to the car to get pup's leash, so hubby and I were in the office alone, waiting for our dog. As soon as pup came out, he ran right past me and was all over hubby. He jumped on hubby, he licked hubby, he stuffed his nose up hubby's private areas -- he could not get enough of hubby. I just stood there, next to hubby, staring. Then, 14-year-old son walked into the room. Pup left hubby and jumped on son. He licked son, he played with son, he sniffed son. I started to feel like the third wheel so I tried to get pup's attention. I tried to get pup off son so he could actually focus on me -- the only one who missed him!! Pup didn't like me prying him away from hubby and son, so he turned around and nipped my hand!!!

That's when it hit me. All this time I've always thought my dog hated me. Now I know the truth; he doesn't hate me. I'm just a non-entity to him. I feed him and walk him, but I'm a nobody to him... sniff... sniff..

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