Mornings. Such a peaceful, tranquil time.
Well maybe for non-dog owners, or at least those not "blessed" with Murphy and Belle.
Take yesterday morning. The alarm goes off, and before I can even reach over to switch it off, Belle is next to my bed, gleefully swatting me in the face with her paw--the huge paw with the non-retractable claws.
Murphy gets up a little slower, and typically Belle goes over to mess with him next, leading to the day's first bit of dog scrapping as Murph, not a morning dog, to be sure, lets her know with a growl and a light nip or two that her attentions aren't appreciated. She doesn't quit though, and before long, the two will be going round and round, grappling at each other, or else he'll be chasing her out into the dark house, knocking things over as they go.
Shoulda just got hamsters, I'm thinking. Hamsters would be sleeping quietly right now.
I get up, and they rush to the back door and line up, eager to go out into the dog run. I toss them out and set about grabbing some coffee and perusing the night's news.
Normally, they take care of business in short order because they both live for what comes next: breakfast. When I hear them on the back steps, I go open the door again, standing aside as I do because I know that 150+ lbs of Shepherd is going to be bolting for the kitchen like a couple of those bulls in Pamplona because they know that their bowls have been filled while they were out.
Want to see some truly confused and anguished looks of hurt and betrayal? Just don't put any food in their bowls while they're out.
Well yesterday morning was an exception to the last parts of this ritual, as Murphy, out in the pen, began loudly barking into the darkness. I knew from the bark that he'd detected some other creature out in the woods beyond the fenced boundary of the run, and he was doing his guard dog thing, letting both the creature and me know that he knew of it's presence and was ready to do battle.
Or maybe he was just telling every neighbor for half a mile that it was four AM. He's nothing if not thoughtful like that sometimes.
I go back to the door to pull them back in and what comes to the door? One dog. Just Murphy comes. Belle is...well that's the question for the moment, because she's sure not in the pen. I grab a show and walk out there, and sure enough, "Little X" has dug another bolt hole under the fence just adjacent to the last one, which I'd filled with big rocks not a week ago. She's gone.
Did I mention that we've still got a drizzly rain and fog thing going on?
I put Murphy on hold and go to the kitchen door. Opening that, with whispered apologies to any neighbors still asleep, I call for Belle. Since she's apparently a ways off out in the fog-shrouded woods, I ave to call a few times, each time raising the volumes, until I hear something running through the underbrush towards me. Yep, that's my little mud-covered Houdini, soaking wet, big grin on her face, and proud of herself for pursuing whatever it was in the woods off into the next zip code before getting the recall. I bring her in and trash another bath towel cleaning her up a bit, and then I bring Murphy in and hand them their bowls. Damn dogs.
I suspect that it's because of stuff like this that someone periodically swipes the "for sale" sign off of a nearby vacant lot and puts it in front of my house.
But this morning? No alarm this morning. No work to be at. This was my "sleep in" morning, which
really means that I get to stay in my bed, unmolested, until the first rays of daylight creep in at about 0714 hours, at which point, both of them come stand next to my bed and begin licking at my face and batting at my head with their huge paws...the ones with the non-retractable claws.
Definitely gonna be hamsters the next time I feel the need to have a pet.