It is funny when you are a traveler. I am always the one leaving my other humans and my animals behind. I get to see different sites, sounds, and smells, while they stay in their same world day to day, with mostly one thing different: I am not there. I think it is harder for those that are left behind. Thier world continues but there is a hole in the routine once filled by the missing person. People understand travelers, though they may be physically lonely and miss you, they know in their heads that you will be returning. They can talk with you on the phone, text in words, or even Skype with you over internet video. But, to the animals, the hole is just there. They know that another being, in this case me. the feeder and the giver of walks and hugs, is not immediately present. They do not understand that I went on a business trip to Turkey (13 hours away in a metal container with wings). They do not know that I thought about them everyday because, unlike my humans, I can not tell them virtually that I love them. Animals can only receive what is present, immediate, and there. You can not hug your dog with virtual arms.
Another interesting thing is how each animal responds to my returns. Louise goes crazy with jumping and nuzzling (she tries to get inside my flesh she wants to be so close to me). Muffin ignores me for about 24 hours and then, when he is ready, acknowledges my lowly existence. Sofie whines to be in my presence and won’t let me out of her sight for a really long time (and this return showed a new behavior, she actually nibbled on my arms to make sure I was really there, like she preens the cats). I even woke up this morning with Noel, the alpha cat, who rarely will grace my bedroom with her presence, staring at me (probably wondering why I have not been in my office upstairs all week, where she primarily lives, and not happy that she had to come and find me).