My dog sits there like a king on his throne, basking in a bright beam of daylight. He’s positioned himself right under the bedroom’s skylight, the sun’s warmth sinking into his dark brown fur. He almost seems regal. Though his days ahead are far fewer than those behind , his brown eyes are still bright and intelligent. The years may have stolen his youth, but he’s in pretty good shape for an old mutt.
He slowly lays down, sprawled on the deep blue carpet. He glances at me casually, assuming I’m still asleep on my bed instead of watching him with half opened eyes. And then he does it, his morning ritual. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen a dog do.
Like a damn cat, my dog methodically begins cleaning himself…with his tongue. First his left forepaw, then his right. About ten passes each. Watching the old guy take such an interest in personal hygiene is more than enough for a laugh. But to mimic a cat? I thought most dogs hate cats.
And the pooch knows what he’s doing just isn’t …right. Before moving on to a new section of fur, he’ll look around sheepishly. He probably realizes, deep down in the feral part of his mind, that he should be fetching a paper. Or guarding the front door. Or maybe just chasing his tail.
For Christ’s sake, he’s a dog. Man’s best friend and protector.
Instead, he’s sunbathing in his master’s bedroom while primping himself like some fashionistic little diva. The word “spoiled” comes to mind. As does lazy, privilaged and maybe a touch neurotic.
Then again, in his own way, he’s still covering all the bases. Though he may not be patroling the room, he is here watching and listening. A sharp whistle would send him bounding over to me, if only for a friendly pat on the head.
A car horn blasts away angrily out front and his ears prick up momentarily. He doesn’t move otherwise, he’s become accustomed to all the irrelevant background noise of the neighborhood. He goes back to cleaning his lower leg. And that’s when I decide to end my spying and sit bolt upright.
If an animal could die of embarrassment, this would be the one. Most dogs would spring into action at the sight of a human suddenly rising in front of them. Either jumping up to play with their owner or setting themselves in the fight or flight position of readiness against the unknown. Not mine.
My dog freezes in mid-lick, looking up at me through saucer plate eyes. As if caught with his paws in the cookie jar. He collects himself pretty quickly, nonchalantly rising to his hindquarters. He quietly struts over to me as I get up, looking for that good morning scruff of his head.He leans into my hand, gratefully acknowledging that I’m finally awake and the day can really begin. He returns my friendly petting with a quick hand lick and then heads for the stairs, looking over one furry shoulder to make sure I’m still behind him. I’d love to comment on how nice he looks this morning, but why embarrass a buddy?
Instead, me and man’s well-groomed best friend head down stairs together for breakfast.