It’s hard for me to believe that I’m currently on dogs number 3 & 4 in my life. I’m not going to say that makes me feel old. I have a thing for big dogs. Dogs that invariably contract cancer and leave me broken-hearted. And yet, I can’t imagine living without them.
The intro image to this article refers to the fact that my rottweilers* have always made a habit of lying in the middle of my kitchen floor when I’m cooking or baking. You might think that I’m about to complain about what a pain they are, but I’m not. Actually, I love it.
In general the boys are really good about keeping their noses off counters and stove tops. They will definitely go after anything that hits the ground, it’s all fair game unless I get a sharp “No!” out in time.
For very large dogs with long limbs they have always fit themselves into my small kitchen very well (one dog at a time, they’ve lived with me in generations.) There’s a spot right in the center of my work triangle where a dog can sprawl without being in the way of the oven door or refrigerator door, and he can leave just enough space for me to stand at the sink and rinse dishes.
|Dog #4 – Waldo, who hasn’t learned
kitchen floor skills yet, he prefers
my furniture to the linoleum tile.
They always sneak in once I get caught up in what I’m doing. They aren’t invited, but we aren’t all that big on formal invitations in this house. A lot of things happen when I’m not looking; dogs crawl onto the bed once I’m asleep, boys toss wet towels over doors & cats curl up in my lap when I’m engrossed in a book.
Even though they sneak in, my feet appear to have a memory of their own for dog placement, and I have yet to step on a paw or a tail. We have a rhythm- I step around the dog as I walk from the oven to the counter. He shifts if I need to get into a cupboard and then settles back into place. The best part is that when I’m at the sink is when we really gel. I always end up running the top of a foot over his back in a caress as I step in front of the sink. From there, I’m not sure who moves where, but it ends up that the back of my ankle is anchored against some part of his back or hip so that we’re connected.
|Dog #3 – Sergei, the one with kitchen
floor fitting skills. He also looks directly
into the camera for most pictures.
It’s a little thing, but as I stopped to look down at his graying muzzle tonight I realized it’s a part of my life that brings me joy. It’s not that burst of joy you feel when a baby first smiles, or someone tells you they love you, or when you get your very first car. But it’s a joy that seeps into you softly and fills up any little cracks or crevices you might have in your heart. It’s something that, for me, only a bond with a dog can do.
*even though I refer to my dogs by their primary breed – they’ve all been mutts and rescues.