A Dogs Life


He wakes to the sound of the alarm clock, but for him, time is only measured in day and night. Through the blinds he can see that it is daylight, and he stretches to his full twelve-inch height, yawning as big as a lion. Stepping carefully through the hills and valleys of the bedclothes, he searches for the human he knows to be burrowed under the covers. He watched earlier with one eye open, as the tall one left wearing what he calls fishing clothes. But he can almost always count on the shorter one to linger.

How silly and futile are her attempts to hide under the pillow from him now. Though he has been aware of her presence all night, pushing himself into the voids created by a curve of her arm or bend in her knee, it has been hours since he last saw her face, and his joy is boundless. He pounces, landing squarely on her head, tongue lapping her to consciousness. Flopping onto his back, he waits for the belly rubs that he knows will arrive when she opens her eyes. He is a good boy, she tells him. It is the best part of his day.

He pretends to rebuff his humans efforts to remove him from the warmth of the bed, hopping like a rabbit to escape her grasp, and yipping with delight as he lands just out of reach. It is a wonderful game, but the growls of his stomach require him to surrender to being carried down the stairs. He knows that the red bowl in the kitchen will magically be filled with his favorite breakfast.

But first, there is business to attend to. While he slept, his arch enemy has been stalking his pack. Sure enough, there he is his beady eyes brazenly staring from atop the birdfeeder. The gray squirrel has strewn seeds to the wind, and for the mighty defender of the yard, this shall not stand.

When the door opens, he launches himself from the porch, rocketing across the grass, roaring at the top of his lungs. It is exhausting, this endless game of cat and mouseer, dog and squirrel. Vanquishing his foe, at least temporarily, he will now devote the rest of the day to his other important work.

Perhaps this will be the day that he convinces his human to leave the uncomfortable chair she sits in, and turn away from the thing that she pounds with her fingers. Maybe today she will realize that it is THE BALL that gives meaning to life, and that if she would simply give herself over to throwing it, her life could be so very different.

Lying in the sunlight, he dreams. His short legs move as he runs in his sleep, chasing away anything that might harm the two-legged members of his pack. Was he asleep for an hour or a day? It makes no difference, to him all he knows is that he awakens to the sound of his name being called, to THE BALL rolling toward him, and to his humans, who laugh as he wags his entire body with pleasure.

Later, when the sun has gone away and his belly is full his legs tired from running and running, fetching and rolling, and barking his happiness to the world, he snuggles under the covers where he drifts happily off, tucked into the spot just under the tall humans chin.

This has been the best day ever, he thinks. And I am a very good boy.

//Susan Frampton

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