Life goes on. How utterly simple and confounding. The essential acts of waking and sleeping and being (relatively) alive and conscious will drag you beyond events of even the most unbearable significance. Life goes on. Especially when part of your life wants to be fed. Having a dog will bring that point home to you; seven dogs will smack you upside the face with it. Hi, mom, glad you’re up and about — finally. Feed us.
Gordy is traveling again, back to the work that he is so good at. We are alike in that way, my husband and I, finding deep meaning and comfort in being good at something, being useful. He is guiding a large and complex health care enterprise through fractious changes; I feed the dogs. Pretty much equally useful and meaningful as I see it. After all, there are seven of them, dogs that is. They have been fairly tolerant of the fact that I am not fully up to steam and that our daily activities start a bit later in the morning, mostly because I am laying in bed bemoaning the sleep I didn’t get during the night. The younger dogs are eager to pounce on any signs of me stirring. Thus, I find myself rising to wakefulness with defensive tactics already in mind: don’t roll over, don’t stretch and absolutely do not open your eyes and look at the time!
Failing to fake them out, my second line of defense is to open up the bedroom patio door, ushering outside whomever wants to start the day and when they want to come back in … no worries, I’ll just leave the door open for their eventual return. Sometimes this works out deliciously well. I loll in bed and they provide me a serene landscape against which to motivate myself to get up and going. It is most typically the younger tribe that takes advantage of this option, but Sophie and Marco will join them occasionally to take up guarding positions under the backyard trees.
The grazing is good for the horses and so they dawdle in the back part of the pasture, away from the barn and out of sight from my patio door view finder. This gives great reprieve from my otherwise guilt-ridden feelings about these slow mornings. Plus, I needn’t worry. I feed horses first and only then is it back to the house and time for dog and people breakfast. So, the dogs watch. All is calm until a horse wanders into view and, as if Pavlov’s bell had sounded, I am overrun with dogs alerting me to the utter urgency of finally, finally starting this day.
Then there is the matter of afternoon naps. I’m weaning myself off of them, but that has proven terribly difficult to do. Often it is physical capacity and sometimes it is mental or emotional drama that tugs at me, all of which are made easier to face in a day broken into segments – before nap and after nap. Most of our physical activities happen before nap. I have started walking the back acreage in the morning. All the dogs run with, but I keep Giada on a lead. Left to her own devices, Giada goes in and out of the drainage pond a hundred times a day.
Her coat is thick and she never dries out and whatever is in pond water (not a pretty thought) causes her to scratch at herself all night long. Seriously. And that wakes me up, because I’m not sleeping great in the first place. I had to go to the source on this one, so Giada is locked out of the big pasture unless she is on a leash with me. At first, she was a woeful and pitiful display of sorrowfulness about her lost privileges, but we are making a game of it all, this tied to mommy stuff. Maizey helps. Or maybe this isn’t help but doggy taunting. I can’t tell. I just think it’s funny.
The point is Giada is sleeping through the nights and that helps me sleep through the night so its all worth it.
Admittedly, the dogs are grooving on afternoon naps. Dogs nap a whole heck of a lot during the day. They are amazed that I have begun doing so and in a sign of comradely good will, they often join me in mine. Molly is the best at this by far. She usually has to be awakened from a nap to be informed that we are taking a nap (I don’t want her to worry where I am if she wakes up alone) and happily joins me on the bed. I need to be quick to launch myself into my selected spot of comfort though. That’s usually the spot that looks just right to her.
All the other dogs gather round or on the bed; all of them except for Gracie, that is, who has her own methods of rest, not typically involving anyone else.
I am happy for their company. I am happy that they are not nearly as fazed by the changes that have jostled into our lives as I have been. Life goes on and those seven puppies are carrying me forward. Whether or not they know the great gift of that to me, well that’s hard to say. If they do know, they are super cool about it and it’s all about staying chill, right, Maizey?