I’ve had dogs since I was a child, but never slept with a dog on my bed. I’ve never let a dog sleep on my couch, but this was a year to break the rules.
The rules crumbled before I’d heard of covid or thought about pandemic because my rescued black puppy with a white blaze on her chest was insecure. She needed body contact. When I let her lie on my belly at 8 weeks old, her deep sighs made it clear how much she needed touch. She didn’t get much mothering since she was surrendered to a shelter with 12 puppies in her litter.
Why did I adopt a young, chew my socks, pee on the floor mutt? Truth is I needed body contact and bonding, too, and my old dog Willow and I needed a personal trainer to keep us moving. Disco lived with half her litter and her kind foster mother until she was eight weeks old and could come home with me.
I trusted my old girl Willow would tolerate a puppy, and I was right, but Willow wasn’t interested in snuggling and mothering. Believe me, Disco tried.
We’ve been a family for 16 months now. Every morning Disco stirs at first light, a shifting body curled into my belly. Her comforting warmth penetrates through the blankets. Willow prefers her cushy bed on the floor. Even though her old knees ache, Willow comes upstairs to sleep with the pack and stays until morning.
I wake slowly and Disco learned what Willow already knows. Good things come to dogs who wait. They follow me downstairs and watch while I load the wood stove and pull on my winter hiking gear. This is where the personal trainer part comes in. A puppy who hikes twice a day is a mellow puppy, so out we go for our before breakfast hike in rain, snow, or heat. Disco nibbles at Willow’s ears to stir up a chase or nuzzles my pocket for a tennis ball. My fields are littered with lost yellow balls to be found when the snow melts.
Do you have pets now or have you had pets in the past? Dogs, cats, rabbits? My first animal healer was Amigo after my dad died. I sat on the floor and Amigo leaned into me while I did my homework in 9th grade. Then there was Daisy when Vic died. I’ve had many dogs as an adult, mostly Labrador Retrievers, one adult rescue that didn’t turn out well, and now Disco. It seemed right to rescue a dog in this crazy world–but I didn’t know a pandemic would be part of our experience with so much staying at home.