Tap … tap. The tan puppy’s head swiveled on his neck so that he could stare directly into my eyes. The expression in his face showcased a sense of tenseness, his eyes flicked back and forth across to scan his surroundings and his muscles, even from across the room I could see how tight they were.
Tap … tap … tap. The noise increased in volume and strength.
The words rushed out of him in a panic. I was very familiar with this sound, and hearing it now brought me no great joy either. The puppy made a pivot and began to dash towards the front of the house. Being curious as I am, I climbed to my feet and took off at a trot behind him.
In what had become a well-practiced maneuver, the puppy bounced up onto one of the two matching green Queen Anne chairs, just so that he could get a better view of what was happening outside.
He turned his head to look back at me, his face covered in bitter disappointment, his voice low and defeated. I didn’t need to look out the front window to confirm my suspicions.
He blinked back at me for a moment, then slid off the chair superman style, his front paws reaching out in front of him and his hind legs stretching behind him for what seemed like miles.
“Yep. Rain Cindee.”
I watched him schlep his way across the living room until he reached a big round fluffy bed that Mommy had left in the center of the room. He circled it a couple of times then threw his body down on it and settled into a comfortable position.
“I get it Mylo. Rain is no fun,” I said, hoping to ease the puppy’s misfortune, but was greeted with a huff in response.
I may not show it as much as Mylo, but the disappointment ate at my tummy too. A day at the park playing tag with our friends sure did seem more appealing than being stuck inside. Life is what it is though, and sometimes we can’t change it.
I closed my eyes and imagined the soft autumn breeze ruffling my brown hair. I sucked some air in through my nostrils and could still smell the crisp aroma of the colorful leaves. Memories of running across the green grass, my floppy ears bouncing around as I went filled my mind. Then there was the pure joy of leaping into the air and landing in a huge pile of leaves and watching them scatter everywhere. Oh what fun.
“Phooey,” I barked.
“Yeah phooey,” Mylo added.
Apparently, Mother Nature didn’t think we were miserable enough, because she told her cloud friends to open up and pour even more rain down on us.
“Humpf,” I grumbled.
“Humpf,” Mylo added.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
My eyes popped open and started to burn a little bit. My eyelids protested and began to close again, and I was going to let them, but then remembered the vague thumping noise that had woke me up to begin with.
Upset with myself for having the memory and then the feeling that the mature thing to do would be to wake up and see what was making the noise, I took in a deep breath, began to gather all my strength, then willed my eyes open. I was greeted by a blurry room, but not just that, it was spinning as well. Ugh. I really dislike this part of waking up. It always makes my tummy do flip flops.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
This time, the rapping noise rattled the floor startling Mylo to wakefulness. Through hazy eyes I watched the tan puppy stagger to his feet and begin to wobble towards me.
“Cindee! Wake up! Somebody is trying to break in!”
Mylo’s screams were frantic and somewhat out of control. In the early days of our relationship I would have found this worrisome, but now that I have had a couple of months to get to know him, I realized this was a common place reaction for him.
“Take a deep breath Mylo.”
He glared at me as though I had just sprouted a second tail.
“It’s okay. Burglers do not knock!”
He fell silent. He simply stood there blinking at me while he let my comment ruminate inside his little skull for a moment. It took less than a minute for it to sink in this time, and once it had, he nodded and smiled.
I sucked in a lung full of air and was about to announce our guest’s arrival when Mommy came scurrying down the stairs and gave me the look.
What look you ask? It was the look that says … do not make a single sound, or else! That look.
I thought about it for a split second.
“Someone is at the door,” I howled, my words echoing through the house.
Mommy stopped at the bottom step and scowled at me, so I did what any self-respecting dog would do. I slunk off to hide behind the dining room table. Don’t worry, Mommy did not yell at me or anything like that. I am just a very sensitive girl who does not handle guilt very well.
“Why did you do that,” Mylo, who happened to be tagging along behind me, asked?
“I don’t know. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.”
I felt my head drop to my chest and a rush of heat begin to rise in my cheeks.
“Please, help me, I don’t know what to do!”
Our attention turned towards the pleading voice at the door.
We were grateful for the warmth of the family room after our dash across the yard through the icy cold rain. This was the first time we had been invited into our next-door neighbor’s house, and it was kind of cool inside.
“Hi cuties, my name is Emily, what are your names,” the young woman, who happened to also be our neighbor, asked?
Her voice was warm and soft, and it made me feel like I had fallen into a giant pile of cotton balls. I was about to introduce myself when she reached over and started to scratch me behind my ears. She moved her hand gently down the side of my face caressing my cheeks, then took hold of my name tag and study the letters for a second.
“Hmmmmm, a pair of ee’s. Very unique. I love it!”
She leaned over, kissed me on top of the head, then turned towards Mylo.
“Let’s see your’s handsome.”
I watched, spellbound, as Emily did the same thing to Mylo. The puppy simply stood there staring up at her with a goofy smile on his lips.
“Follow me,” the young woman said, nodding towards a wicker basket that was tucked away inside an alcove that branched off from the main room. We followed close behind Mommy and Emily. My eyes followed our new friend’s curly black ponytail as it swished from one side to the other and soon, an unwelcomed dizziness descended on me from following the back-and-forth movement.
I really liked Emily, but somehow, this whole thing seemed kind of sketchy to me. A quick glance over at Mylo and I knew instantly that he too was feeling that something was amiss.
Mommy and Emily quietly approached the basket then carefully knelt in front of it.
“What’s going on,” Mylo asked.
What I did know was that my tongue was drooping from my mouth and that if felt all dry and fuzzy.
“What should we do,” Mylo inquired.
“Don’t know,” I answered again, only this time, I added a shrug for emphasis.
“Why don’t you go and look and see what’s happening?”
I gave Mylo a little nudge forward. He stumbled ahead a few steps before catching his balance and turning to face me with a menacing glare on his face.
“You are the grown up. You go!”
His response stung. I stumbled backwards and let my head drop. He was right and I felt ashamed of myself for pushing him.
“Oh my gosh! Is that?”
My head snapped up at the sound of Emily’s excited squeal.
The smile on Mommy’s face reassured me that nothing sinister was going on, but still, it was difficult to fight this apprehension that was creeping over me. I turned to flee but was confronted by my own reflection in the big picture window in front of me.
I didn’t like what I saw as I took in the brown Labrador mix with the floppy ears. I was tired of being that frightened dog, so I summoned all my courage and willed myself towards the basket. I could hear the rush of blood pulsing through my ears and felt the growing queasiness in my tummy. I couldn’t do it.
I stood still for a moment, stuck in between the me I was and the me I wanted to be. I can do this! I forced myself to put one paw in front of the other. Just one more step and I would be there.
I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. After holding the air in for a moment I released it with a deep breath out. With my eyes still tightly shut, I took that last step. Another breath in. Another exhale out.
“It’s now or never Cindee,” I whispered under my breath to myself.
I opened my eyes and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“Did that dog just poop out a puppy?”
The words tumbled out of Mylo’s mouth in a rush of excitement. I turned to look at him. His face glowed in astonishment.
“No Mylo, we just witnessed a new life being born!”
I couldn’t help but smile and I couldn’t contain a small little tear of happiness that spilled down my cheek either.
It wasn’t the most articulate think that Mylo has ever said, but it was the most meaningful.
It was cool, and much more. So very much more!