Sunday, December 2, 2012

Evening meditations

Our work and life schedule means the animals in my household are left alone each day. I don't like it and wish it was different but, for now, it is our reality. Another reality is, as a single mom to 1-1/2 college students and as some who works in public education in a state that pays teachers very poorly (a ranking of 49th in the country), I work more than one job. Several afternoons each week, I race in from school, change clothes and race out again to drive the 26 miles to my evening job.

So I make a special effort when I come home to make sure the dogs feel loved. It's always late (anywhere from 10:30 p.m. to midnight). Marley sleeps in my daughter's room, so I know he is stretched out across her legs, effectively holding her captive all night. Blue greets me at the back door, does his special dance for attention and a fresh bowl of water and is generally his happy self (he probably hopes he can convince me he needs another meal; that boy always acts as though he will never eat again!). And that leaves Miss Carson, my whirling dervish.

I can hear Carson as soon as I walk in the kitchen from the garage. She starts spinning in her crate, located next to my bed. Even though I know she's had her big bowl of water and been out for her last trip of the night, I may let Blue and her out again while I change clothes. It usually depends on how late it is, how tired I am, and if I work in the morning.

When they come in, I tuck Blue in for the night. His favored spot is on his huge LL Bean bed next to the front window in the dining room. From there he can survey our cul de sac, keeping a sharp eye out for neighborhood cats and periodic wildlife, including opossums and skunks. I really need to reinforce that window ... Or he may head to his crate for a while; it's located in my son's room. Blue is funny though, he often won't sleep in the bedroom when his boy is away at school. When he first left for college a year ago, Blue didn't darken the door to the room until after the Thanksgiving Break.

I pop Carson into her crate while I clean up and get ready for bed. She sits with her head cocked in that typical terrier fashion, watching every move I make. Or she crosses her front paws and waits patiently for me to finish.

Carson's very ladylike crossed front legs:

And then we snuggle. When I was married, dogs were rarely allowed on the bed, at least after the human children came along. Or on the sofa, or, or ... So we snuggle a lot at our house. I can hardly get in the bed because Carson is always so excited. I slide in and she gets as close as she can - she's a licking machine, we have to work on that - and she flops over to ensure her belly and legs get a full rubdown. Minutes tick by but she never tires of the attention. As I slowly wind down, her massage slows as well, which means she will readjust or lick my hand to remind me she's there. Sometimes, after 30 minutes or so, she can be enticed to go to sleep, which she does with a huge sigh. Other times she wants to play and that means she must sleep in her crate next to my bed. When she's there, I swear she has a third eye that is awake all night; if I so much as turn over she knows it!

Some nights I really just want to go to sleep, but I realize this is a gift Carson gives me when I take the time to accept it. My breathing slows, my thoughts still, I focus completely on this little 20 pound black and tan bundle of boundless energy. And I just am ...

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