“The joy of a sleeping dog.”
That is a bit of phrasing that can be read in two ways.
(1) Either, you’re glad the neighbor’s dog finally quit barking and went to sleep so you can go to sleep (YOUR dog NEVER barks at midnight!) or
(2) You just happened to look up and see your canine companion of 14 years enjoying a deep, deep sleep on her special bed.
Our spotlighted dog for this weekend’s edition of Let Sleeping Dogs Lie & Napping Cats Nap has been in our household for more than 14 years. Annie arrived as a puppy, probably 7 or 8 weeks old. She was born under a storage shed at a home down the hill from our house. That was in 2004.
Hard to believe.
Her Mom is Calamity -- that’s her in the photo atop this website. I spent more than a year trying to catch that elusive dog. Finally got her when she had pups and was trapped with them.
We found homes for Calamity (my brother Garry took her -- you’d never see two more dedicated souls!) and her many pups. (Bless East Lake Pet Orphanage!)
One of the homes that we found turned out to be ours. We kept Annie.
She was a darling, dear, action-packed puppy. Heeler mix, it seems. And for years we called her "Puppy Annie" -- even now we'll slip up and call her that.
She’s been in a decline over the past few years -- has trouble getting up, but moves pretty quickly to catch an airborne treat once she is up. Has ear problems, but responds to medicine and shouts and the crackle of a bag of saltines being opened. She’s up and into the kitchen like she was six months old and chasing a squirrel.
And, though she was affectionate when she was a puppy and lively in middle age, she’s just darned near human in her golden years. She can be downright crabby. (Yes, my funspouse Martha says there's a similarity between me and the ol' crabby dog.)
Usually when she’s sleeping she folds her right paw up under her leg (that's in the top photo for this editon.) Always has slept that way. Now and then, though, you can catch her on an alternative bed with both legs “dangling” off the mattress.
What is the lesson we have learned from living more than 14 years with Annie? That life is a series of changes and the more of it you live, the more likely you are to enjoy a nice, comfortable nap.
And that is a lesson we wish she’d have taught us when we were much younger. Why? So that now we’ll be able to nod off instead of laying awake wondering about tomorrow’s challenges and the day’s defeats.
As Annie says with great wisdom, “Just concentrate on the treats.”
One of my favorite photos is this one -- it shows my Harpspouse Martha getting in some practice on the strings while little Annie reaches up to ask for a favorite number and Inky, the Cocker Laureate of the State of Texas, works on some lyrics to go with music Martha has written.
When I began writing this edition, it did not occur to me that I’d be confronting how much time has passed between the day we got “Baby Annie” and Friday afternoon when, after feeding her, she happily went down the garage steps, jauntily out the utility room hall and into the back yard to do her business.
That photo on the left is Baby Annie with the first dog Martha and I got together, the wondrous Nicki. She was the best little girl.
As you can see, Annie was admired by us and Nicki. Annie is a dog who has been loved from the moment I first held her. I remember one dark night when she was very, very ill and I sat up, holding Puppy Annie -- might even have done a little praying over that tiny puppy. (That's a much younger me holding a much younger Puppy Annie, probably on the day we got her. My hair was darker then. Naturally.)
As I was typing this paragraph, she was grooming her grown-up toes while stretched out on one of her beds beneath the big TV.
She likes to be close so she can hear the dialogue without turning the sound up so high that it drowns out the crackle of saltines being opened in the kitchen.
[PLEASE SEND PHOTOS of your sleeping critters and their stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re proud to present your beloved companions in our internationally-read weekend feature Let Sleeping Dogs Lie & Napping Cats Nap. Your love for your critter will inspire people to embrace a dog or cat or “other” as a bonafide companion with heart. And you’ll be inspiring the planet’s insomniacs to believe that we, too, can catch some sleep if we can just figure out the right way to hold our paws.]
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