I have a confession to make. I snuck the dog, Jazz, into my bedroom this morning so that she and I could be together when I wrote this post. I don’t know why it was important to have her with me, but it did give me a great sense of comfort.
I am not one of those people who gush over animals – I wish I were as I feel I’d be a better human being. I sometimes feel cold and callous when I am not goggling over photos posted on facebook of little puppies and kittens. Nonetheless, here I am today – a better person for my desire to be accompanied by a dog.
I am struck by this inconsistency.
She really is a beautiful dog, though. And at this very moment I feel her peace pass through to me. Truthfully, I felt anxious this morning. I wasn’t sure if it was just that our family routine was thrown off by David’s exciting bridge-building competition, the loss of his last molar tooth, or that Katya stayed at a friend’s overnight – leaving her bedroom empty. All of a sudden, the flurry of the morning turned still when everyone departed for their independent destinations. The only ones left were Jazz and I.
You have to wonder what really goes through a dog’s mind? Jazz and I have this routine every morning that consists of me coming down the stairs. This means I am going to pet her – she is going to get up and jump around me and follow me into the kitchen – where I open the cupboard to dig my hand into a bag of dog treats. She then “sits up” and chomps down on the treat that lands into her mouth. Unlike most dogs, Jazz likes to have some attention while she is chomping on her cookie. At that moment, while I pet her head, she is totally satisfied. I then fetch for myself a muffin (you know – for the fibre!) and tune into the weather station to determine what kind of temperature Kevin and I will be facing on our walk. Jazz sits at my feet anticipating rogue crumbs. She also knows that the next event in the morning sequence is a walk. In anticipation of this walk – Jazz does not wander away. Any movement towards the door, a coat, boots, is met with a counter-movement to the door by Jazz. I move, she moves. But not this morning. David’s early ride to school thwarted the normal routine of a walk. Jazz just didn’t know it.
So, again, what goes through her mind? Do dogs feel disappointment or do they just continue to be optimistic? Does Jazz just wait and wait and wait until someone is ready for a “walk”? I’d like to think so. Is that why Jazz doesn’t ever seem to be depressed? Or am I mistaking depression for fatigue? No walk? She just lays down and closes her eyes. And waits. One ear is always tuned to the door – just in case!
Maybe this is not a bad way of living life? Imagine being ready to spring to life at any moment? Imagine that the highlight of one’s day was a walk outside – a simple treat in the morning – a pet on the head? Imagine having no knowledge of people’s cruel intentions to destroy lives, or of natural disasters that wipe out entire communities, or of pain and suffering through preventable diseases? Ignorance would indeed be bliss.
Jazz lifts her head to look for the noise that emanates from my laptop keyboard. She is just beginning to show signs of aging through a few hairs poking from her brow which are stark grey in contrast to her honey-brown fur. She is curious. But not for long. She licks her lips, breathes in a deep breath, sighs, and tucks herself in closer to my legs. All is calm once again. I resist reaching out to stroke her coat as I know this will interrupt our peaceful moment. While the world rages on around us – we are quiet. I feel a grave sense of guilt as I indulge in the decadence of this peace. I am cloistered in the moment. I know of its ephemerality. Already, in this moment, I feel the pangs of productivity resonating in me. “Time to get up, Stacey!” I hear my inner voice prodding. “Dishes are waiting!” I continue. “You need to get at those taxes!” As long as my fingers are busily pumping out letters to form words and sentences, I have an excuse to remain here – with Jazz – living this dog’s life for just a moment.