I wonder when my dogs will just get sick of me. In exasperation, they will throw their front paws up in the air, tie up little knapsacks full of treats and toys and stomp out the front door. They will do this because over the past few weeks I have become a doter. I may quite possibly have become – ready? Co-dependent.
I lotion their dry winter skin. I move furniture so they might comfortably lie where the sun throws patterns on the floor. I talk with them about politics and religion. I frequently kiss them all over their heads. I meddle.
Three weeks ago I lost my job. Abruptly.
Sometimes they are the only people I speak with all day.
Our routine has taken a hairpin turn. Oh, I still get up at some ungodly hour – it’s genetic. But now instead of shooing them downstairs before I rush out to the gym, I grab my laptop. This is their cue to stretch, abandon their beds for mine and re-curl, one at my feet and one at my side. I find it reduces my heat bill.
I shoot resumes about the Internet for a spell before then heading to the gym, then home to shower and move my laptop to the couch. Often, the girls and I exchange glances. I get a cold nose. They get an ear scratch. There are periodic cuddle breaks. Nearly every afternoon we have some sort of leash-less adventure. We discuss presidential candidates, (Their favorite is Rand Paw- clearly a name recognition thing.) and the relative nutritional value of deer pooh. We ponder relationships. Occasionally they ask why I’m always wearing sweatpants. Lilly rolls on her back and I scratch her belly. Delilah puts her head on the keyboard and I let her. I get tired of using it anyway.
There are occasional networking events. I think they are relieved that I am going out. In clothes that don’t have a drawstring.
We are adjoined at our uneven hips, communicating with our eyes, anticipating each other’s movements. We are three little beers left hanging in a plastic six pack holder.
I have not shed one tear over the loss of my job, but there have been some borne of simple anxiety. A few times I’ve let myself go to the darkest place: What if I can no longer take care of them? What if I had to turn them over to people who could afford them? That’s the crying part. That’s the heaving, sobbing pooh-storm. It upsets them. So I stop. And I feel ashamed that I cried about my dogs when most of my co-workers, who landed on the curb along -side me, have children. A few have children on the way. Some have children in college.
These are the dog days of March. In like a lion. Out like a Ridgeback chasing a lion. It will go quickly and we’ll be back on our paws in no time.
Meantime, I’ll dote. I’ll dog whisper and they’ll ignore me. I’ll put vitamins in their food and trim their nails and be their stay-at-home mom. They are brilliant company. I am annoying. We are a family.