A Gift for Daddy

Last weekend was extremely hectic around our house. My wife was out of town for a girls weekend with her friends from years past. I was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home, with a few fun chores and time to play with the dogs. Unfortunately, early Saturday morning my file server’s hard drive (RAID) crashed. So instead of doing chores with my two goldens busily watching and I’m sure trying to interfere, I spent the weekend cursing at the computer and running around like a madman pulling out the little hair I have left. Fortunately, all of the critical data was backed up, but I needed that computer, I depended upon it.

Saturday was a nice day. I left the back door open so my golden retrievers, Amos (5) and Jasper (7) could wander in and out at their leisure. Amos has developed a habit of always wanting to be outside when he’s inside or inside when he’s outside. He will bug me to death to put him out, and then he’ll bark (He loves to hear himself bark!) frequently at the neighbors or the squirrels or whatever catches his fancy; so he’ll have to come back in. We have discovered that its often easier to just leave the back door open when we’re home. When he barks too much for too long at something or someone, I only have to call his name and he runs into the house and is quiet for a while.

By late afternoon, on Saturday, I hadn’t seen the boys for several hours — they hadn’t bugged me at all which I found odd. I trudged upstairs out of the dark dreary basement where the server sits and walked outdoors. Nope, no dogs. I checked their favorite haunts along the fence among the shrubbery, where they can watch the world without being seen. Nope, no dogs. Back in the house and up another flight of stairs to the second floor and into the bedroom I went. Ah ha! I found them. Amos was on his bed — a pile of old pillows and blankets neatly arranged on the floor, not far from our bed, to provide maximum comfort. Jasper was on our bed. His head was on the window sill of the window at the head of the bed and he’s oblivious to anything going on in the room as he guards his house against the perceived threats from the world outside. The window faces the street in front of the house and there is almost always somebody doing something somewhere in front of him. His body is stretched across the pillows and he’s pulled the dry-clean-only comforter into a nest around him.

As I walked into the room, I started talking to them like I always do — “Well here you are. I thought you’d be outside playing! And you’re here sleeping!” — like they’re kids that truly understand what I’m saying. But then again, in our minds, they DO understand. Jasper spins around on the bed, without actually standing up, and starts sniffing at a spot on the comforter and looking at me. I walked over and lay down on the bed beside him and began to pet him. Amos hopped up and lay down across my legs. And while Jasper was clearly thrilled that I was there and petting him and scratching his ears, he was clearly trying to show me something. Slowly I looked over at the spot he was so incessantly trying to show me. I’m sure it’s going to be a toy he wants me to use to play with him.

Whoa, there’s a mat of something. That’s not a toy! “Jasper, did you get sick on the bed?” I got up and walked around the spacious king size bed for a better look.

OMG, IT IS a MOUSE — dead, and thoroughly drenched in dog slobber, with its fur slicked tight to its little 4″ long body. Jasper pushes it around with his nose and then proceeds to lick it and wag his tail incessantly. Jasper is so proud of himself! I’m freaking out, there is a 4″ long, skinny, dead mouse on the bed. My wife’s gonna kill me! As I start to rethink the idea of giving the dogs free control to run in and out of the house without supervision, Jasper starts to play with his prize. He is clearly anxious for me to use it to play with him. He could hardly contain himself. He picks it up in his mouth, tosses it into the air, and then drops it on the bed again. He wants to play. And Amos does too. As I bend down to talk to him, he licks my face! OMG, I KNOW WHERE THAT TONGUE HAS BEEN 15 SECONDS AGO.

He was so proud of himself, how could I possibly be mad at him? He followed my every move as I quickly disposed of the mouse. I petted him and told he was a good boy — he likes being told he’s a good boy. I guess my computer problems could wait a few hours while I played with the boys. They were happy about that. I guess they showed me what was important in life!