I look forward to the weekend because I get to play. Not that we don't have plenty of fun at our actual weekday, paying gig – putting out GRIT and our other magazines – and I am eternally grateful for work I love that pays the bills. But weekend play is different. For one thing, I get to play music – at a couple of jam sessions that have been going on for years, and also in practice with my band, which has also been going on for years.
But my best weekend time is getting to play with my Little Guys, which these days include Bob Dog (above), Cutie-Patootie (CP, below) and the Ace of Kittens. I never intentionally set out to have an all-male pet herd, but right now, I'm surrounded by boy-ohs.
It's a bit annoying that they don't have the distinction "weekend" and insist that 5:30 a.m. is still a great time to get me out of the sack. I'm often able to bribe them with an early morning feeding and get an extra hour or so of shut-eye, but basically, with the boys, the day starts early.
And once I've had coffee, their noses take us all for a walk. They HAVE to get out and smell the world, in vivid detail, and for some reason, it all goes better with me walking along beside them. I sometimes throw them out the front door and growl, like a character from Dickens, "PLAY, dammit," but they just circle the door hopefully until I start putting on my outside shoes and getting my jacket. Then we're off and running.
This morning the weather was chilly but delightful, and they coaxed me into a walk around the entire perimeter of the place, which worked out to about 40 minutes at a good clip. When we got back, I gave them rawhide chews, which CP is much more interested in having me throw than in him actually chewing. So we played toss and find for several minutes. Then the cat decided that he needed to jump in the middle of things and he and CP went at it for a while, tearing around the house in hot pursuit of each other. I sat beside Bob Dog, who is very elderly and can neither see nor hear very well. Everything comes as a surprise to him these days, and a bullet-train encounter with a cat and a 30 lb. cockerdoodle is just no fun for anyone. So I took the opportunity to sit and brush him and deflect the worst of the rambunctiousness, and we had a nice visit while they went at it.
I ended up spending nearly two hours playing with the boys, including making their food for the week. I suppose some people might think all this is time wasted. But on several occasions during our morning romp, they made me laugh out loud, and during the whole time, I didn't think about bailouts or bombardments or investments gone bad. And that's very, very good.
On my way to work Friday, I found another sweet dog by the side of the road (a few weeks ago, it was a little schnauzer mix who who ended up in a "forever home" with two of my good friends at work). This week's find didn't have such a happy ending: Someone had just put this dog (an older yellow Lab) out, apparently because she was too ill or expensive or too much of a hassle to take care of anymore. My vet said there really wasn't much that could be done for her, so we mutually agreed that euthanizing her was the only humane choice.
I wonder this morning as I remember her sweet, confused face looking up at me from that ditch, if she ever brought anyone even a fraction of the pleasure and sweetness my guys bring me on a daily basis. And I wonder how someone could repay such sweetness with such harshness. I sure hope life is kinder to whoever left her there than they were to her.
And I am even more grateful than usual for my sweet, exuberant buddies, who always get my body moving and my heart going again.
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