I live alone. Wait, I should correct that and say I live as a single woman with a furry, four-legged family member. She is the connective tissue in my heart and makes my days joyous and full of love.
Working in the hospitality business goes hand in hand with working strange and long hours. I can adapt to the hours, but my dog is the one who takes the brunt of my lifestyle. I will never leave her outside on a chain to battle the elements – she is firmly ensconced in our home, lazily spending her hours watching the wildlife from the comfort of my bed. I have several people who are more than willing to come over and let her out during the day because she is such a happy dog and just fun to be with. She is never a prisoner in her home – she is akin to a wealthy home owner with servants to look after her every whim.
During these long days, I often wonder how she bides her time. Is she going through kitchen cabinets? Has she mastered the satellite remote? Does she inventory my refrigerator? But each day when I get home from my struggle to survive my sometimes 10-12 hour days, she is there to greet me and nothing in the house seems out of place. Until recently…..
Today I returned home from my usual work day. I was greeted by the comforting excitability that I have come to expect. The house, as usual, was completely intact, the garbage untouched and the serene ambiance wrapped its arm around my shoulder and pulled me into its embrace to welcome me home. The ritual commenced and after she had her time outside, it was time to slip into something more comfortable. (I have never used that line, ever, in my writing, and that will probably be the last time).
My attention was immediately diverted to the duvet cover and what seemed to be a single article of clothing bunched up in the middle of the bed. It wasn’t shredded, it remained intact. However, the entire shirt was extremely damp. She had been licking my shirt for the better part of who knows how long. The baffling thing was, had I not known where the shirt was originally, I would never have known how she got to it. My closet is masked by a cloth shower curtain that offers itself as a makeshift door. Somehow, she was able to remove the shroud of the curtain, gingerly lift the shirt from the pile of laundry and replace the curtain so nobody would be any the wiser.
As much as I miss her during my day, it struck me at that moment as to how much she truly missed me during her day. The writing was on the wall, or in this case on the bed. My scent comforted her during her lonely day and it made my heart ache to realize that fact. We have a very close bond. I have even had to resort to violence for her and shoot a squirrel that had attached itself to her foot and wouldn’t let go. (That is a story for another post)
I can only take solace in the fact that my work days will soon become shorter and more structured. My time with her will increase and perhaps her need to be close to my scent will abate somewhat because I will be here in physical form and not just odoriferous form. And who knows, perhaps in the meantime I can save myself a fortune on dry cleaning! Stay tuned.
If your dog has any strange habits, I’d love to compare stories. Send me some of your funny “tails”.