Bert: It’s past five thirty. I think he’s dead.
Sam: He can’t be dead, he just told us to go lie down.
Lucas: Want me to go topside and give it a look?
Elder Mutts: Why sure, we guess, if it isn’t too much trouble. *snickers*
Lucas: *leaping up on the bed* I AM THE LOKI MUTT!
Lucas: *getting off the bed* Wow, he isn’t dead!
Bert: I think he’s dead.
Sam: He can’t be dead, he just told us to go lie down, in a manner of speaking.
Lucas: You want me to go topside and give it a look?
It’s cold. It’s raining. The dogs have been released into the cold and wet, decided they didn’t like it, and they have returned to lie on the floor and be happy. Yet even as I consider how nice it is to lie in a warm bed on a cold and wet Sunday morning, the dogs have decided that I need to be upright, and functioning. This is not new. The Mutts, collectively, have a certain time of the day in which they require me to be out of bed. It doesn’t manner that I will go and write for an hour or two, or that I might not pay them a bit of attention once I am up, no, none of that matters at bit. They want me up. They want me out of bed. They want me to move out of the warm area so they may lie there, I think.
Sam will get half on and half off the bed and ram his nose into my face and whine. If I pet Sam’s ears he can be bought off and will leave me alone for a while once I stop, but only for a bit. Sam’s ears need pettings. Sam can be had for ear pettings and if it were just Sam I think I could get away with staying in bed until seven in the morning sometimes, but Sam has help, and more than he really needs.
Bert is more direct. He will stick his nose under my arm and try to flip me like an egg in a pan if I’m lying face down, and if I am face up he’ll sit on top of me and lick my face until I move. You may think it would be okay just to lie there and get licked, but these aren’t puppy kisses, no. These are in your face take the skin off your cheeks type washings like your mother gave you when you were a puppy.
Lucas is the other two dogs’ shock trooper. He’ll land on me from the floor and it’s like having a tree fall on me. Worse, he’ll paw at my face and head forcing me to duck and cover. Then he’ll distract me so Bert can sneak his head under the covers to cold nose me. The Three start out prodding me one at a time but in just a few minutes I am assailed from all corners and covers, and I must resurrect myself lest I be overrun.
You would think once I surrendered to the inevitable they would relent, but no…Once I am upright they mob me as I am trying to dress if they want to me have some sort of victory celebration with them. Worse, especially if the weather is warm and I’m sleeping nude, they’ll want to fight with one another while I’m getting dressed. There are parts of my anatomy that I do not want anywhere near a dogfight, even if they aren’t serious.
Yet the dogs’ manipulation of my time and attention extends far past getting up. If I am on the phone they seem to know if it’s just a casual conversation or if there is someone very interesting on the other end. They want out. They want in. They want to be petted. They want to climb on me. They want to bark at water molecules floating in the air. The more intense the conversation the more energetic they become. If I am in the middle of discussing the next chapter of my novel then it’s like someone slipped them a pound of Hawaiian coffee and they snorted it all. If I am talking to a woman I would like to spend some time with then it’s like they’ve been hoarding meth for the occasion. Oh, and let it be a woman I want to spend time with and I can talk writing with at the same time? It’s the apocalypse with shedding issues. It’s the tsunami with vaccination tags. It’s a rescued virus that spreads across the house in a frenzy of activity bent on getting me to put the phone down so they can lie down and go to sleep five minutes after I relent to the pressure.
With all this, some people wonder why I choose to let the better part of three hundred pounds of canine live in the same house with me. Dogs can, will, and have, lived happily ever after in the yard, having a porch to sleep upon, and an old mattress for comfort. The simple answer is there aren’t very many threats to my welfare that can withstand the better part of three hundred pounds of canine. As cute and goofy as these animals are early in the morning and during phone calls, when there is a stranger on the property they become a little less cordial than most people are accustomed. Bert is dead serious when it comes to strangers. He’s got a bark that shakes dust from the ceiling. His horripilated form snarling at the front door is enough to keep even people who know him from reaching for the door knob. Sam is merely loud but The Loki Mutt is showing signs of being able to intimidate despite still being quite handsome. Both Bert and Sam are fairly good sized dogs, but Lucas has got some mass to him, and if you want to get into the backyard, you’re going to have to negotiate with him.
The price paid for this sort of security means I may never sleep past seven on a Sunday morning, but I will sleep soundly at night.