Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lessons from a Dog: Stop and Smell the kibble

I woke up late this morning.

My "Hot Gossip" alarm clock went off, emitting a low, constant buzz, the only sound it can make now that it's well over 20 years old. I turned it off, rolled over and continued snoozing. A few minutes later, TB's phone alarm began to ring, some dated tinny tune that he silenced with a grumble.

I have no idea what happened between 7:15 and 8:26. Well, I mean, I know I slept but that's all I got. When TB came out of the shower I barked at him, "Why didn't you wake me up?"
"You looked so peaceful!" he answered
"I'm not peaceful now! I'm a ball of anxiety! I'm late!"

I ran around the house, fixing my humidity-hating hair into some sort of 'do, slashing at my face with blush brushes and fingertips of foundation, throwing a dress over my head, throwing a pug out the back door, throwing some food into her bowl all the while cursing my deep abiding love of sleep.

I packed my lunch, let the dog out a second time* and put on my shoes. 2 minutes to spare. I opened the door to let the dog back in and... she wasn't waiting for me by the step. I called her name. No movement. I looked into our backyard and there she sat, pretty as a picture, soaking up rays in the middle of our outdoor rug.

"Lily!" I called, "I have a treat for you!" I palmed a few pieces of kibble and held them out to her. She continued to look up at me, calm, beatific, and utterly uninterested in the paltry pieces of "food" I offered her.

This is completely unheard of. I once watched this dog eat a maple key that was in a cobweb.

"Come on girl, here you go, eat your damn kibble, come on, come here."

Nothing. Not a budge.

I sighed. I couldn't blame her. It was beautiful this morning. The air was warm, with a touch of heaviness, a preview of the oppressive heat that'll be here by his afternoon. The backyard looked especially green, no small feat for a place that's nearly all asphalt and advertised in the real estate listing as "parking for five". Even our table and chairs, cloyingly referred to as a "chat set" looked inviting. But it was now waaay past time to be at work and I was all ready to leave so I knew what I had to do.

I went inside, logged on to my work computer, checked and responded to some emails and wrote a note to my colleague:

Woke up late this morning - sorry! Time got away from me, logged on from home. Be there soon.

Then I went outside, sat in a lawn chair and just... breathed. Lily hopped up onto my lap and the two of us sat there, letting the breeze ruffle her fur as she lay her head in my hand, eyes closed as the sounds of people going through their mornings stirred around us.

It's been a crazy couple of days - weekends spent working for 3 or 4 hours each day, last minute work projects that need to be done yesterday, summer plans getting changed and made, and changed again. I've been perpetually tired, even as I recognize the moments of enjoyment or beauty or fun that peek through. And so it seemed like a necessity, this 10 minutes for myself, scratching a lazy dog under her chin and behind her ears and we sat, doing absolutely nothing.

And only after we were finally settled did she eat the kibble.

She's not doing much for my professional career, but she's one hell of a life coach.

*Clever jerk that she is, she's learned she gets a treat every time she does her business outside. So now she never does both bathroom activities both on one trip. Smart little wiener. 

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