Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Way it Turned Out

So, somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain lives this alternate life I started living back in my 20s, where I spend languorous Sunday mornings, sleeping in a bit, reading the New York Times Entertainment section or a good book. There's coffee brewing, a light breakfast. In good weather, I'm sitting in jammies on a porch, enjoying the early-morning light with a certain European sensibility that usually involves croissants. In the winter months, these mornings are spent indoors, perhaps a fire in the fireplace, and always, a great cup of coffee. Back in the day when I worked at a video store, I had a customer a lot like me now--same age roughly, same build, brunette... she said she liked to rent movies to watch Sunday morning while having coffee and breakfast in bed. What a great idea!! I often think I'm actually going to achieve these mornings. Some day.

In reality though, it goes something like this...

At my baseline, with no outside influences, I can't sleep through the night, and I certainly couldn't ever sleep in. But nowadays I've got the animal menagerie... Here's Cinnamon, tapping me ever so gently with her paws on my face, "Can I have three bites of food?" So I give her the food dish, she eats three bites of food, and off she goes. I generally fall right back asleep until 15 minutes later when she'd like three more bites of food, and so on through the night.

And there's Decker who has lost his sense of smell and can't find the food dish unless I put it up in his face, so about twice in the night there are the insistent pawsandclaws on any exposed flesh (usually my face), and the "Why do you keep hiding the food dish???" panic until I point out to him that it's RIGHT THERE where it always is.

Tolliver at least is a self serving unit, but for some reason, even though there's a food dish on both night stands now, he always wants the one on the other side of the bed, so there go 12 pounds of feline trotting across the bed, navigating the hilly terrain that is my body.

And the reality is, I really don't mind all the interruptions. I mean, hell, I'm awake anyway... But regardless, these are not the Sunday mornings I once envisioned for myself.

And on this particular Sunday morning, I awoke to four inches of glorious snow and eventually roused myself to feed, medicate, and let outside my friends' dogs, who I was watching for the holiday. The snow meant I was walking, so I layered on two pairs of sox, boots, scarf, hat... the works for the four-block trudge.

And off I went, mine the first foot prints in the snow, crunchcrunchcrunch down the street. Silence. The snow still falling, and each tree a new photo opportunity, each path a classic Christmas card photo with the white glaze and tree branches iced. My camera, of course, sat comfortably useless on the dining room table...

I was almost at my destination when a car pulled up, his window unrolling as he stopped. And if I were living "It's a Wonderful Life," this would be one of those moments when the scene freezes and Clarence narrates about the main character's, well, character...

"You looking for a dog?"

Ah, the fateful words I've heard so often.



"Well, there's a shepherd up there, he seems really sweet..." I'm approaching the car now, my neon SUCKER FOR A LOST PET sign shining brightly. Dude says he wishes he could take the dog home, you know, given the snow, but he's got a dog of his own (so do I), blah blah blah. I firmly resolve to not look for the dog, but say instead, "Yeah, if I can get him to come to me, I'll grab him. It'll be ok." And dude drives off.

I literally take about two steps away from where the car had stopped, and there he is, all goofy smiles, all snow-trimmed fur, all happy, sweet, easygoing dawg. He walks right up to me with total tail-wagging sweetness. I grab his collar, he falls into step, and we trudge together all the way back to my place, where I drop him in the backyard, awake the MAN OF THE HOUSE, and we make a quick plan to introduce the dogs and keep everyone safe, warm and dry while I trudge off to take care of the pets I was sitting. More trudgetrudgetrudge in the snow.

So much for my resolve. I didn't want to look for him, which the Universe obviously knew, so he came to me. Walked right up. Like he was mine. Walked all the way home with me, like he knew the way.


So now I have this German shepherd, who, it turns out, is ancient and has difficulty walking, especially on the wood floors. His hind end drags unless he's moving in a straight line, and although he can jog and play with Eddie when they're out in the grass, he's really quite pitiful in the house, where his feet twist out from under him and he slides about. But he has a wonderful spirit and great energy, and is all smiley and adorable. His favorite thing to do is sit at Bill's feet and hang out. Of course, being a shepherd, once in position, no one else can get near Bill, so now Eddie is all shaky neurosis that his Daddyhuman has traded him in for a bigger, more chill model. No amount of reassurance and love seems to counteract that worry.

So, we're hoping to find the shepherd's humans. A search of craigslist determined that he'd been out there for several days before I picked him up, and posting our ad with our phone number prompted a call from a rescue lady, who offered to find him a home in case we can't find his owners. So we feel pretty good that he'll have family soon.

But in the meantime, I have the near-constant sound of clawed feet skittering across the floor, a more-neurotic-than-usual dawg, and three terrified cats. Not exactly the peaceful Sundays with coffee and a book. Not exactly...

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