Gabe joins me in my early morning solitude. I usually start my coffee first thing out of bed, then put on my coat, let Gabe out of his kennel, hook his leash onto his collar, and take him outside to check his pee-mail and make a deposit. It doesn’t take him long; then he and I sit side-by-side in my ratty old recliner, covered with a blanket, until 4:30, when he eats. I say, “Are you hungry?” And he is instantly awake and struggling to escape the blanket and get to the floor. It only takes him five minutes, tops, to eat. Then he’s right back beside me, covered head to toe. Of course, I get up several times during those three or four hours until Cliff gets up: There are visits to the bathroom and trips to the kitchen for coffee; I always tell Gabe where I’m going and what I’m doing, although he rarely even raises his head to let me know he hears.
I wish you could see me getting out of the recliner: You see, Gabe likes to extend his head and upper body to the footrest of the chair, so if I let down the footrest, he’d fall on the floor head-first. It wouldn’t hurt him a bit, but because I get up so often, I hate to bother him. (Yes, I’ve become that dog-person.). So I sort of dangle my right leg off the side of the footrest to the floor, scoot my butt up as far as I can, and contort my arthritic body sideways, holding firmly to the armrests, until I’m standing. Gabe sleeps through all this, which makes me happy I didn’t disturb him. Here he is, waiting for me to somehow get back in the recliner without disturbing him:
It’’s a dog’s life, right?
And now you know how I start my day.