I lifted our dachshund off the couch, careful to keep her little back straight. She’d already been outside for the night, so I carried her to the bedroom and gently set her on the bed – where she immediately looked up at me, tilting her head (neck pain, poor thing), pleading with me about…?
“I’m right here, Lucy,” I told her, petting her, massaging down her spine, suddenly and keenly aware of the problem:
Kelly was in another room.
Sure enough, Lucy scooted towards the end of the bed. Slowly. Looking back at me once or twice. Pausing at the edge. “Come here, Lucy,” I coaxed her, trying to give my partner a moment of peace. Time alone. Everyone needs some of that at the end of a long day. Right?
Lucy regarded me with those sad, now slightly agitated eyes, and we sat in silence, me with my hand out and she with her eyes fixed firmly on the floor. I knew what was coming. The house would be quieter if I just brought her to Kelly. I knew it. She knew it.
One bark. Two barks. I was no Dog Whisperer.
“Come HERE,” I said to her now – quietly so as not to wake Miss E, but loudly enough for her to hear (aging ears, you know). More than eleven years together under the same roof and it’s still Kelly she wants. Only Kelly. Always Kelly. Unless we’re all sleeping. No, then she’ll push her whole dachshund body up against mine until finally I wake at the edge of the bed, one leg out from under the blankets. She wants me then.
But now, she was sitting upright at the end of the bed. Sitting tall for a dachshund. (And by now, even a cat person would know what she wanted.)
Still, I didn’t lift her down, so after two or three or seven hundred minutes, she deigned to join me at the head of the bed, turned her backside to me and burrowed under the blankets, letting out a deep, deep, deep sigh.
Or maybe that was me sighing. I’m not sure.
When Kelly returned to the bedroom and observed me sitting in the bed reading with that lump of Lucy blankets next to my knee, she smiled. I wanted to smile back. I did. I knew how idyllic we looked, right out of “The Walton’s” or “Little House on the Prairie” or something. (Did any of them have dogs?)
“She wanted you,” I said instead, mad now that eleven years meant nothing to our dog.
“I know. I heard her,” Kelly replied. And just like that, the idyllic moment passed. I popped it like a bubble.
Because while it is true that eventually, our dachshund did settle down, cuddle up against me, and sleep — sometimes, the glass stays half empty for awhile.
Even if, most of the time, it’s half full.