My dogs had no spoons on the Fourth of July. They were so lacking in spoons, in fact, they probably still owe a few to that great spoon drawer in the sky.
In order for all this spoon talk to make any sense, it helps to be familiar with the spoon theory.
The spoon theory originated as a way to check stress levels for people with chronic illnesses, but it can be adjusted to apply to every living thing. Your Dog’s Friend does a fantastic job of providing a bastion of details if you want to dive deeper into the spoon theory. My quick version of the concept appears below.
The Amended Spoon Theory
The amended spoon theory says that every living thing gets a supply of spoons each day. You get some spoons. Your dogs get some spoons. Even hummingbirds, houseplants and those ginormous Palo Verde beetles get spoons. The amount of spoons you get on a daily basis depends on your overall wellness, serenity levels and ability to handle stress.
- Those well-adjusted and happy get loads of spoons every morning.
- Those who are only pretending to be well-adjusted and happy may get several spoons.
- Those obviously ill-adjusted and unhappy may get only a few spoons, and one of them may be bent.
You can gauge how many spoons you get by reviewing how many stressful incidents you can take per day without totally freaking out. If three incidents push you over the edge, you can estimate you only get three spoons per day.
Apply the spoon theory to your dogs, and you can use the same basic premise.
- Dogs that are well-adjusted and happy get loads of spoons.
- Dogs that are quick to become fearful or excited get several spoons.
- Those obviously ill-adjusted and stressed may only get only a few spoons, and one of them may be already chewed in half.
As the day marches onward, every episode of stress has the power to take a spoon away. The higher the stress, the more spoons you lose. Stubbing your toe, for instance, may take away one spoon, while spending an hour trying to get Netflix to work may take away five or six.
Once you run out of spoons for the day, it’s a good idea to take a time out, go home, revamp, meditate or otherwise be kind to yourself until you can replenish your spoon supply.
Spoons, Dogs and July 4
The Fourth of July is already a doozy for dogs with all its fireworks and noise. The date is known for being the No. 1 day dogs run away. While my dogs did not run away, they did lose spoons in rapid succession.
Here comes a rundown on my dogs’ spoon loss on July 4:
- 1 spoon: Their dad going out for the day (they’re used to both mom and dad being home all the time)
- 1 spoon per three sessions: Sitting at the door at intermittent intervals throughout the day just in case dad is about to come home at that exact moment
- 8 spoons: Landscapers arriving next door at 6 a.m. with chainsaws, chains, clippers, buzzers and a giant Dumpster to overhaul neighbor’s yard
- 2 spoons: One dog wearing his bark collar to stop barking at the chainsaws, chains, clippers, buzzers and giant Dumpster noise
- 2 spoons: The other dog still barking and getting upset because his brother was not joining in the noise (this dog lacks a bark collar because it would involve shaving his long-haired neck for it to work)
Since I would approximate my dogs get 10 spoons per day each, they both were out of spoons well before any fireworks exploded in the sky. Because they were so exhausted after a full day of losing spoons, they barely even noticed the fireworks. One dog didn’t respond to the fireworks at all. The other dog did notice them, although he didn’t go wildly barking across the yard as usual. He simply refused to eat his dinner.
That means the spoon theory really is accurate. The dog that refused dinner is, after all, the same dog who is used to getting spoon-fed since he’s such a fussy eater. So he probably didn’t even think of eating since he knew there were no spoons to be found.
The spoon theory is a fun way to keep an eye on stress levels, for your dog, for yourself and for everyone and everything around you. Life can be so much more pleasant if we don’t lose all our spoons.
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