Monday night, Jonno and I were on the sofa, giggling through another episode of The Rachel Zoe Project (don’t hate, y’all), when I looked over at Tania, and she looked back with her big, brown eyes, and what can I say? I’m a softie for big brown eyes. I patted my chest, and she accepted the invitation immediately, crawling on top of me and conking right the hell out. Adorable. Heavy and snorey and kind of pointy with the toenails, but adorable nonetheless.
As she lay there sleeping, I remembered something I’d half-forgotten: the way Tania liked to spoon with me after the storm. (Which I suppose we should all start capitalizing as The Storm to distinguish it from the other storms that have already begun to follow.) Jonno and I hadn’t had her very long at that point — only a month or so– but Tania wasn’t one to stand on ceremony. She acted as if we’d been pals forever. Every night, I’d crawl under the covers, and within a minute or two, she’d squeeze in beside me, her back to my belly, her paws dangling over the bed’s edge. No fidgeting, no fussing, just right to sleep for the rest of the night.
At first, it was just cute — the act of a giant puppy who thought of herself as a lapdog — but soon I’d turned it into a little game. She’d sneak into position, I’d pretend not to notice, then once she’d settled in, I’d try to breathe in synch with her, so our chests rose and fell in unison. I don’t know why I thought it was funny, but game or not, it helped me relax, breathe deeply, and sleep, none of which were easy to do back then. (Evacuated, imposing on friends, guilty for being comfortable while other friends weren’t — if I knew where they were at all. Ah, memories.)
In light of last week’s unpleasantness, Tania’s behavior on Monday night also reminded me of worldfamousauthor Ken Foster and his story of the pit bulls who saved his life. (If you haven’t read The Dogs Who Found Me or any of his other works, I can’t recommend them highly enough.)
Ken had begun feeling sluggish and dizzy, but he’d written it off as exhaustion — which makes sense because, you know, handling three dogs can have that effect on a person. But one day, his dogs starting acting strangely, jumping on him, playing very aggressively, trying to get his attention, get him up off his chair. Ultimately, it was that crazy behavior that got Ken out of the house and into a doctor’s office. And it’s a good thing he went, because somehow, the dogs knew what Ken didn’t: that his heart was failing and that he was slowly dying. They were trying to save him.
I wasn’t having a heart attack last week or last night, but it’s comforting to sleep among hounds just the same.