I smell something new. My nose is twitching. Sniff- sniff- sniff. I am sniffing something so good- it’s high up on a shelf in the kitchen. My human mother, Alison, (really the only mother I ever knew because I have not seen my biological mother Roxie since I was 2 months old), tells me not to snoop. “Dea, down. Down!” She says firmly. I get down and then resume my job of sniffing.
I can’t help it. I know it’s not food but it’s something good. And I think it’s for me. I think most things are for me. I hope so much that it’s for me that I can’t stop running around the living room ecstatically jumping up and down on the large living room chair. “Dea, get down, no jumping,” she always says. She worries about my luxating patella.
I usually get a new squeaky toy at least twice a year for sure, one when the weather is very cold during the holidays and the other for my birthday, which is tomorrow and the beginning of spring. I think that is what this is. “Stop snooping Dea,” Alison says with a smile. But, that’s really a lot to ask of me, a brilliant, loving and incredibly curious poodle.
Alison tries to fluctuate which squeaky toy I get from a large wicker toy basket that is in another room. So, I often feel like I am always getting a new toy because I had forgotten about the blue cuddly whale or the orange orangutan form last year. In that room, Alison sits on a chair and does something with a machine and I sit on her lap as she presses keys on this hard surface. I usually fall asleep on her lap because she could be pressing keys for hours.
But, when she is on the phone around 5PM, that’s when I zoom in for the one squeaky toy that seems to cause her to get a little aggravated. I don’t mean to annoy her, I really only want her attention 24/7. This star shaped fluffy toy makes a louder shrieking squeak than the others, and I love that sound. I love it so much it makes me run like a crazy puppy at this hour tossing the toy around the living room, hoping that Alison will get off the phone and play with me.
She’s a really good mother though, because she knows it’s one of my favorites so she lets me play with it while she is on the phone.
The next morning will be “our” birthday. Yes, we have the same birthday, April 2nd which is an amazing coincidence. I so hope she will wake up earlier than usual. I know I will already be awake as I lie next to her on the bed and stare at her with all my doggie eyed power, praying that she will wake up soon. Yay. It worked. She’s up.
She immediately hugs me like she always does. I stretch out all four of my limbs as far as I can and give a big yawn. Then she turns on the tv but it’s not Animal Planet- or Pet TV; it’s always these same stern voices talking about the virus, corona, or a more complicated name, covid-19. Alison sits up in bed and listens with so much interest. I want her to just focus on me but she is so deeply engrossed on these stern voices.
Alison lifts me off the bed so I don’t jump and hurt myself. I can feel her body is rigid with stress as she opens the door to the kitchen so I can do my early morning business on the wee-wee pads. She fills my water bowl and then turns on the living room tv as she gets her coffee and starts throwing my pink elephant squeaky toy. But she is mostly focused on the solemn voices that are on the tv. They are still saying the same words, virus, corona and that complicated word, covid-19.
After my breakfast Alison gets ready to take me out. My routine has drastically changed in these last weeks. She used to walk me about twenty -minutes but now its doubled! What a happy dog I am. She is also with me all the time now so my separation anxiety is better. She rarely goes out even once a day without me by her side. I am some lucky dog but I’ve noticed a few other uncharacteristic things. Whenever we go out she puts this strange covering over her nose and down to her chin, and all I can recognize are her eyes, so it’s much more difficult to give her my customary kisses. I stare at my mother with uncertainly, trying get used to it but It’s our new normal now. Also, I don’t see any of my best female or male doggie friends on the street. I wonder where they are. Oh well, at least for me my new normal is I have my mother with me all the time and I am outside exercising like mad with her.
But today is our birthday and that means something good is going to happen any minute. After our long walk she goes back into the kitchen and reaches up into that high shelf and tells me to come. I obediently sit down on the kitchen floor, but I am so excited that I can barely sit still. And there it is, a new aqua and pink rhino fluffy shaped toy that she throws onto the floor in the living room and says, happy birthday to ME! Plus, it squeaks the perfect squeaky tone as I ecstatically throw it up into the air and all over the room.