Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cuddle Time

Sigh. My camera s broken. Again. While Eric checks the warranty date (we're very close), I am forced to do with old pictures or things that I stole off of the internet. Fortunately, I have a subject today for which I have no lack of pictures. My Dogs.

As of late, they have decided that it is of the utmost importance that they be cuddled each and every evening. For small dogs like Beth's Chihuahua Oliver, this activity is not such a big deal. After all, an eight pound dog fits nicely into your lap and there is still room for whatever you are doing, like bead embroidery or knitting or the newspaper or even watching TV. With large dogs, however, making room for them in a lap is a more interactive pursuit.
Cosmos weighs in the mid-fifty pound range. Sunny is more along the line of eighty.

During the day, although they have their requests and demands, they're easy to live with. The occasional pat or opening of the door will do it. They would like to go for walks, but with my leg still in the throes of healing, a dog biscuit makes a nice substitute. They spend the prerequesite time barking at nothing. Barking at neighbors. Barking at the reflection that they can see in the 2nd story window of the unit across from mine.

Shedding is an important acitivity that occupies their time. Cosmos - a dalmatian - sheds terrible short hairs that embed themselves in all fabrics and get stuck. It's hard to brush him too, since his hair is so short that it makes most grooming tools ineffective.

Sunny, on the other hand, sheds in profusion. I have been using a shedding blade on him quite effectively, but still there are drifts of hair piling up like loose snow in all the corners of my living room. I probably could use a vaccum at this point, but come on! I have a built in excuse for the hair in my leg and why not take advantage?

Come 5:00pm, it's time for dinner. Believe me, they don't let me forget it. Cosmos whines, Sunny goes by the front door and starts to bark. It is imperative that he be allowed on the patio before (and after) each and every meal. Except, of course, if it is raining out which it is not right now.

Then the evening rituals ensue. The dogs go outside for their twilight bark. I have dinner and clean up the kitchen. Pull my crafting together. Sit down on the sofa in the studio and turn on whatever form of entertainment that is appropriate for the evening. Realize at some point that the dogs are in and go close the front door. Settle down again.

Small whine. A miserable whine from a dog who is in extreme pain. That would be Cosmos. I am on the sofa with items strewn all over. He is not.

Louder and more protracted whine. I might not have heard the initial overature.

Small circles run in despair, punctuated by moans of pain. Piteous dark eyes trained on mine. How can I be so cruel as to deny him access. After all, it's time. Time for the dog to be on the sofa in my lap.

I begrudgingly move all my personal belongings off of the sofa and into various baskets, tables, whatever. Sit down again, whereupon Cosmos makes a leap up. He's not as good as it as he used to be because of age and arthritis, and sometimes I am required to help his back end on.

Now that he is on the sofa, he must inspect it to be sure it meets his specifications. Without fail, it requires some adjustment. Mainly the throw pillows in the corner opposite me. He disapproves of them and flips them off with his nose.

Then it's time to settle down. That process is quite simple. He strides over to and on top of me, and the front half of his body - as much as he can cram on - is draped over my lap.

Moans of pleasure now come from deep in his throat. The position of his head is of utmost importance and I am required to pet it while he finds the perfect place with both comfort and view in mind. And when he finally does? My job is to pet him and whisper encouraging words of love into his ear. And thus we remain for 30 to 45 minutes.

While all of this is happening, Sunny will be laying on the floor, seemingly indifferent to the activity. He makes a point of lying with his back to us and his head pointing towards the door out to the hallway. For all intent purposes, he appears to be fast asleep. Not even a flicker of the ear betrays him. But as in many actions by dogs, this is false advertising.

He is, in fact, extremely alert to everything that is happening with Cosmos. While displaying a nonchalent attitude, he knows when Cozie has settled down, and when either he - or I - have decided that my lap is numb enough now for him to leave me. And then, a split second before that happens, Sunny comes to life.

He rolls onto his stomach. The head whips around to stare at me. And the most hurt and incriminating eyes you ever saw pierce my soul. This is the look of a dog denied. The dog who is not loved. The dog of guilt.

Sunny is a little too big and arthritic these days to get onto the sofa, so the immediate action upon Cosmos's departure is mine. I slide off of the sofa and onto the carpet. Slither over to the dejected dog. And hug him.

He ignores me, rolling back onto his side facing away from me. But he can only keep this indifference for a few seconds. He is now the center of attention and first, the corners of his mouth turn up just a little, then a toothy grin erupts, and finally, he positions himself such that I can get to the parts of his body he would like me to scratch the most.

Another half hour or so passes. I spend part of the time petting Sunny, part of it brushing him. It really doesn't matter to him as long as he is at the center of my activity. Cosmos will have, by then, positioned himself in the hallway, laying sprawled out and watching every move I make with a baleful stare. But he leaves us alone. He knows that it's Sunny's time now.

Finally, I've had it. I get myself off of the floor, look at my clothing which in less flattering terms could be called a mass of dog hair, but I prefer the description of a "natural fur tweed," consider brushing myself off but then think "Why Bother?" and go back to the predetermined activity of the evening.

1 comment:

hot tamale said...

You're a lucky gal Laura Silverman! ;)
love ya


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