My dog loves me. No, he really, really loves me. I am his person. He likes Gary quite a bit. And Gary has been good about walking Coconut since I started spending each morning at the computer writing pithy articles and writing dog bios. But given his druthers, which is a really odd word, Coconut chooses me as his person.

That’s usually a good thing. Today the poor pooch’s world has been upside down. I’m leaving him. For six days.

The last time he boarded and then I came home and sat at the computer he retaliated by eating holes in my foam kitchen mats and swallowing those huge pieces. It was a scary time and he was uncomfortable, to say the least. If he did that for an overnight time away I am more than a little scared about leaving for six days.

I’m going to New Orleans to the largest animal care expo in the nation, maybe in the world. I’ll be learning all I can about marketing and communications for dog shelters as well as making connections for future grants and other opportunities we so desperately need.

I get anxious around big crowds. I get headaches. There are projected to be over 2,500 people from around the world. Yeah, I’m getting anxious just thinking about it. On the other hand, New Orleans is in my blood. Literally. My daddy grew up in the French quarter and I have cousins to meet, Hurricanes to drink, beignets to eat.

When I come home I will have a dog who had missed me. A dog who will not be able to understand why I was not there to sing the good morning song to him, yes, from Singing in the Rain, or tuck him in at night and whisper him a secret that he is forbidden to share with anyone, not even his dad. No comments, please.

Here’s the good news about a dog. Though he gets angry and confused and tries to take it out on my belongings, he is quick to forgive. Well, maybe not the same as you and me. According to Discover Magazine, “Dogs feel at about the same level as a toddler, meaning they experience basic emotions like fear, happiness, distress, and love. They do not, however, feel more complicated, compound emotions rooted in memory and/or social relationships such as shame, guilt or pride. Because dogs don’t harbor resentments or grudges, they cannot necessarily “forgive” in the true sense of the word.”

Forgive, forget. Tomato, tomahto. I’ll take it. I’m already wondering how I can handle a week away from Coconut. He’ll have daycare and a couple of days of boarding to help with my husband’s schedule. But he won’t have me.

We’ll move the replacement kitchen mats and be thankful that he’ll still love me.