Dog Abby, advice from a Golden

Clock Time vs. Friend Time – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

I have a friend who is always late. I mean literally always. She isn’t just a few minutes late all of the time, she is sometimes half an hour or more, and sometimes she will call an hour or so after we were supposed to meet to say she is not coming at all. I have brought this up with her on several occasions, mainly because we also work together and it affects her job. She recently got fired for being late so often, and she wants me to stick up for her. I can’t. I believe she deserved it, frankly, and I was really hoping this would be an eye-opener for her. Since she is blaming everyone else for her firing, and refuses to admit that being 25-45 minutes late every day is an issue, I have a feeling that this may end our friendship, too. What should I do?

Always Waiting in Allentown

Dog Abby paw print


Dear Waiting,

Mom made a promise when she first adopted me that we would do walkies almost every day. She said there would be some times when she would be out of town or on something called a deadline, but she would do her best to toss balls or go swimming with me at least once a day. Mom has been super good at this, but the busier she gets, it seems the more difficult it is for her to keep her promise. I don’t think it is because she does not love me, but she has been really busy sometimes. Mom never made a clock promise to me, so our walkies can happen any time of the day or even the night. When she can tell I’m bored, she will sometimes say she is going to take me on a walk in an hour or a few minutes. Dogs can’t tell time, so hours and minutes are the same thing to us. It is only when we do not go at all that I get worried.

I sometimes will make my presence known by peeking into mom’s office, just in case she forgot. When I have waited a really long time, I remind mom about her promise by finding every tennis ball in the house and lining them up across the doorway so that she has to step over them when she gets up. Mom uses words like, “subtle” and “effective,” and I am not sure what they mean, but they typically lead to her closing her laptop long enough to take me to the park.

If it starts getting dark and looks like mom will not have time after all, I take my tennis balls to dad. If he’s busy, he may tell me to wait, but usually he will at least toss them down the hallway for me so that I get some fetching in. The noise and commotion is typically enough to get mom involved and we then all go for a walk together.

Walkies are different, though, than when mom makes an actual clock promise to someone. As I said, I do not understand time, but mom and her clients and her friends sure do. When she says she is going to be on the clock at a certain number, she will do that for them because she respects them. She expects the same out of them. When her friends or her clients say they will be there on a certain number of the clock, and they are not, mom gets frustrated because she has lots to do and waiting for someone to be late makes it hard for her to get not only their things done but all the other things she has to do. One of those things she has to do is go on walkies, so this affects me, too, and I do not like it. I will forgive them, of course, because that is what dogs do. Mom forgives a lot, too, but she also gets to a point where she does not trust that person and will no longer work with them. That makes sense. I mean, if you cannot trust someone to respect your time or their own promises, then what kind of relationship will you have?

You have tried being subtle, and it was not effective. Your friend has already heard a commotion even louder than tossing tennis balls down a hallway. They know how important this is to you and to everyone they work with, but they do not care. I do not think your friend is going to change, so I suggest making a new friend who respects the clock, respects themselves, and respects you.

Much love,


Buying Time
Time is money, but I’d rather have tennis balls.

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