Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The daily dog

When I came back from vacation a while back after leaving Maddie with Joe, he began a sentence the way no one should: "I don't want to upset you, but..."

The upsetting thing turned out to be that Maddie had let him sleep until 11 a.m., while she wakes me up regularly at 6:30 a.m. or 7 at the latest. Sometimes I need to be up that early anyway, but on the days I would like to sleep a little, I shout, "Go lie down," to no avail because then she puts her face right next to mine on the edge of the bed.

The vet says she has me trained.

She can hear when I have taken the last bite of my cereal, and she perks up just so I won't forget to give her the last bit of milk in her bowl.

After we eat breakfast, she conks out on the couch. Sometimes I fall asleep while sitting up alternating between "Morning Joe" and "The Today Show."

After her morning nap, Maddie migrates to the patch of sun in the living room.

Sometimes I follow her in there because the light is so nice.

Throughout the rest of the day, she follows me around like a dog.

The vet wants her to lose a little weight, but it's hard for me to resist tossing her a piece of apple when I slice it on the cutting board. At the sound of the knife she runs over and gives me that starvation look. (The vet says a carrot is less fattening.)

Some nights around bed time, she puts herself to bed on the big LL Bean pillow in my room. After she comes down to go out for the last time, I ask, "Do you want to go up?" and she grabs a toy to take with her. Often she hoards them in my room, and I have to bring one downstairs. I noticed last night that she picked up the long skinny orange daschund but dropped it in favor of a yellow floppy-eared dog. The orange toy was obviously not cuddly enough.

I am writing all this because I was reminded of the benefits of dog therapy when a woman who I was tutoring in reading said that her doctor had recommended a therapy dog, but her landlord wouldn't allow it.

She said she needs the dog to fight off depression and have a reason for getting out of bed. Someone whose dog had had a litter actually offered her a poodle, but she couldn't take it. She is trying to move, and I hope she finds a more dog-friendly place soon.

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