Today my mom slept in late, ignoring my cries to be let out. After a few minutes I decide to let her stay asleep, holding it until she’s ready. When she finally emerges from her dark dungeon I jump with glee. It’s time to start a new day! What could be more exciting than that?
After letting me out into the backyard mom shuffles over to the stove to boil water for her morning drink. I don’t know why she likes hers dark and hot. I prefer the cool and clear drink in my bowl. She pours a cup of kibble into my other bowl and I devour it while also savoring every bite. It tastes so good I could eat it every day. Lucky for me, I get to. I notice mom is moving slower than usual and she isn’t giving me as many morning pets as she usually does. I can feel that her insides are crying, while her eyes are red and dry. I know how she feels. My cries usually come from the inside too.
After she finishes her bowl of human kibble I prance over to the front door and sit in my tall, look-how-well-behaved-I-am posture. I am ready for our morning walk. My heart sinks when she goes back into her dungeon instead of grabbing my leash. I let out a small whimper and crumple to the floor, wondering why my mom is so sad today.
My mind starts to race with ideas. Maybe she just needs some cheering up? Maybe she wants me to take myself for a walk today, and search for things that will help her feel better?
I sniff around the house looking for clues. To my surprise, I find that the door to the backyard wasn’t completely closed after I came back in. I dig at the edge of the door with my paw and nudge it open with my nose. Wow! It is a beautiful day outside and I’m excited to go on an adventure.
I squeeze through the hole in the fence (don’t worry, I only use it in case of emergencies, and mom’s sadness is the biggest emergency I can think of). I make my way along the side of our house. I hear my friend next door barking in greeting and I run up to him so we can touch noses as we sniff each other through the small hole in his fence. It smells like he’s already had breakfast today too. We are lucky dogs. I let him know that I can’t visit for long because my mom is sad and I need to find her something to cheer her up. He understands and runs to the middle of his yard to chew a bone.
There are so many delightful smells in the grass and bushes in our neighborhood. I can tell we have a new dog in the area and I can’t wait to meet them. There’s also a tree with blossoms that smell heavenly. I run up to it and stand up with my front paws against the trunk. My nose takes in the delicious scent and then I scour the grass below it to find a fallen flower. We had a big angry storm yesterday and yet this tree is now flourishing with life. Even the flowers survived, and I am amazed by how nature can recover from a tough day. After just a few circles of sniffing I find it. It is fresh and still has a great smell. I know mom will love it. I carefully pick up the flower in my teeth and saunter over to our front door with pride. I drop it on the doormat and make my way back out into the neighborhood.
I find another treat a few houses down from ours. A newspaper! I haven’t seen one of these since mom first brought me home as a puppy. Back then, I didn’t understand that bathroom time is only allowed in the grass, so mom went through a lot of newspapers as she trained me. Those were really happy days and even though mom would complain about the newspaper situation, I knew she was feeling good inside when we snuggled on the couch to watch movies or played tug-of-war with the toys she got me. I know mom would love this newspaper as a reminder of our times together when I was little. I scoop it up into my mouth and deliver it in front of our door next to the flower. I savor the wind breezing through my golden fur in this moment as I picture mom’s happy face when she sees her gifts. There’s got to be more out here though, so I head back out to resume my search.
It’s too bad I can’t bring other dogs’ smells back to mom, because our neighborhood has a ton of those! I can tell there have been some cats around too, which is exciting. My ears perk up at the idea of playing chase with cats. Oh how they love it when I pretend I’m going to eat them. Of course they know I would never; it’s just a fun game.
At the end of the block I find a fallen feather. It is soft and shiny. I think about how much mom would love to fly like a bird. Feeling the wind beneath her, seeing the world from above. That would make her so happy. I grab the feather and head back for our house. I can’t wait to show her everything I’ve found for her so far. What a great day it has been today.
Around the other side of the block I find something I’ve never seen before. It is delicate and must be some type of bug, but a very pretty kind. I can tell that it is no longer alive though, and this is sad. But I notice that even in its death it is still beautiful, and it makes me think of happy things. I imagine this bug flapping its wings in the air, exploring the neighborhood with its family and taking in the sights and smells of the blooming flowers. I wonder if mom is sad about something like this. Maybe something she loved is no longer flying? I let out a small cry as my heart aches for my mom’s sadness and her pain. I wonder if this nice bug can help her. I carefully take in the little thing with my teeth and jog back to the house. I add it to the collection at the door.
After going around to the back and letting myself back into the house I notice that mom’s door is still closed. I hope she is eating. I lay next to her door so I can help her if she needs anything. And I want her to feel my love.
Mom doesn’t come out again until nighttime and she is worried when she sees the backdoor was open all day. She looks at me in surprise and pets my head, telling me I was a good dog for staying. Of course I stayed. Someone had to look after mom.
She pours me my night kibble and I gobble it up in gratitude. She eats just a small snack of something that doesn’t look like kibble and then goes back to bed. I stay by her door all night, wishing her nice dreams.
The next morning mom wakes up at the normal hour and lets me out back. She is still moving slowly and her face looks heavy, but she has a bigger breakfast than kibble today and she pets me a few more times than yesterday. I slowly make my way to the front door to politely suggest that we could go for a walk. Only if she wants to. But maybe we could? She looks at me and sighs. I lower my head; it’s okay, I’ll wait until she’s better. But to my surprise she grabs the leash and walks toward me. Yay, we’re going for a walk!
Mom opens the door then pulls back her foot in surprise when she sees the gifts I brought her. “What’s all this?” she asks me. I look at her and try to explain with my eyes. She sits down on the doorstep and explores the items I left for her. I lie down next to her and pant in satisfaction. I can feel mom is getting warmer and her pain is loosening its grip a bit. She makes a half smile; it’s a tired one, but I can see her usual self peaking through. She looks out into the front yard and breathes in the fresh air. It’s a new day, and I will be here to enjoy it with her.