To paraphrase Dr. Laura: I am my dogs’ mom.
Either that or I’m a puppet. I have four puppy-teers: two chows, a Newf, and
a St. Ber-dog. They pull the strings and I dance a jig. They’ve taught me
many a song and dance. They taught me that Webster’s lists 49,996 too many
words when just four lyrics will do: walk, ride, biscuit, and potty.
Everything else is blah, blah, blah, or BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, or Blah, Blah,
Blah! Granted my husband had pretty much told me that already, but the dogs
confirmed it. I learned from the dogs that fur
costumes are overrated. Sure, they’re warm and fuzzy, but they’re also too
hot in the summer, hard to keep clean, and slippery. If my Newf did have the
spoken word, I know he’d be saying, “Darn, this silky fur!” every time he
slips off the bed.
Speaking of the bed, the dogs have taught me that some props are too
small—especially the king-sized bed. One by one, they clamor aboard like
tourists onto a cushioned Ark. Then the spinning starts. They circle and
check for bugs, add lumps on the covers, and finally, flop down with a
grunt. By the time they’re all cozy, I’ve curled into a ball the size of my
pillow. Over their sleeping backs at a distance suitable for binoculars, I
barely see my beloved, clinging to his edge with one hand clutching the
covers. He gives me that look that says, “Only one of us is going to make
it… I’ll miss you.” I’m usually the one that moves. And I’d like to say that
I sleep great on the couch, but where I go, the pooches follow, taking their
respective turns on the fine Corinthian leather. I spend my nights like a
somnambulant princess in a house full of peas.
When I’ve dared to lock them out of our bedroom, they’ve taught me that dogs
too, can do impersonations—mostly from scary movies. The St. Ber-dog does a
mean, not-quite-on-beat paw-slap on the door that resembles something from a
Night of the Living Dead remake. The Newf sticks his nose to the base of the
door and envisions himself the large-nostrilled, heavy-breathing, killer
dinosaur from Jurassic Park. One chow, click, click, clicks, around on the
tile floor like an angry avian from The Birds. The other chow has some kind
of stomach problem that would type-cast him in The Exorcist. They have
taught me to LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN!
Lately, my dogs taught me that you’re never lonely when you live in a pack.
My husband and I are in the process of emptying our nest. I am no longer my
kids’ mom. In fact, they think I’m just a knucklehead that managed to
stumble through life relying on God and Nature’s good graces.
As the kids jump ship, I think of the
changes in our home. No more booming basement bass vibrating the floors. No
more easy meals for four. No more “What time are you going to be home? Who
will be there?” and “You’re going out in public dressed like that?”
I admit it, I don’t miss them questioning me
like that, but without the pooches pulling my strings, I might get just a
tiny bit lonely. Nevertheless, every time I look in my dogs’ eyes I see that
look that says, “You’re still my mom.” Then, I feel warm and fuzzy all over.
Her dogs’ mom, Kim R., lives with her husband
Blain and their pack near Hoquiam, Washington. On February 23, 2007, their
beloved Koko (the aforementioned St. Ber-dog) succumbed to an unknown
disease at age ten. In the last three months of Koko’s life,
they received great comfort from Dr. John S.
at Companion Animal Clinic in Aberdeen, Dr. Ryan B.
from North Division Animal Hospital in Spokane, Dr. Diane P.
of Brady Veterinarian Clinic in Brady, and Dr. Fred W.
at WSU Teaching Hospital in Pullman. Together this team did all they could
to extend Koko’s life in a pain-free and happy manner.
Blaine and Kim R.