On Saturday, Boyfriend and I loaded all of my living room and dining room furniture into his parents’ ancient minivan. “All” isn’t really that much, just the things I have acquired since I moved out on my own 2.5 years ago as well as a couple things I got in the divorce: an uncomfortable futon/chaise/couch hybrid and jute rug from World Market, a $20 coffee table from IKEA, two rigid rattan chairs Ex-Husband and I got for super sale at a chi-chi furniture store here in Dallas, a rickety pub table I’ve sat at almost every day for the last six years.
I donated it all to a thrift store benefiting a local women’s shelter. I won’t need it in Austin, there’s no room for it in Boyfriend’s house, and none of it was really comfortable or expensive, anyway. I keep buying temporary furniture, thinking that one day eventually I’ll be rich enough to invest in something I’ll want to keep, but I never am, I never do.
On Sunday morning, Rufus woke me up at 6:30. He’s been doing this ever since the days got longer a few months ago. I’ve discovered the reason he is so happy to greet the sun every morning, and that reason is food. He can’t wait to eat every morning, and he slaps his paws around on the bed until I can’t ignore the racket anymore and get up to feed him. I know this goes against every dog training manual there is, but this is the solution that enables me to get the most sleep, and Rufus doesn’t let this small amount of power go to his head, so it mostly works for us.
As the routine goes, I fill his bowl, Rufus nudges my arm with his nose to say “thank you,” and I go back to bed. After he finishes eating, he jumps back into bed with me to notify me with a burp that he’s fully satisfied and then leaves to go sleep on the living room futon/chaise/couch hybrid, where he stays until he hears my alarm. I love to listen to him walk down the hallway, pick up his pace gradually until he’s running, and then leap onto the couch. It’s not a very tall couch at all, and he could easily hop up there without a running start. But he chooses to run anyway. I suspect it’s one of the small pleasures in his dog life.
But on Sunday I listened to the walk turn into the run and, in place of the usual climax, his tags clanging into each other as he leaps, I heard silence. He had watched us load up the furniture, gradually clearing the room, but the doggie capacity for memory is rather small. Either that, or the doggie capacity for denial is very large.
I lay in bed, Boyfriend sleeping beside me, wondering what was going through my sweet dog’s head as he stood there taking in the newly bare living room. After a full minute, I heard him walk back down the hallway. He appeared at my bedside, resting his chin on the edge of my bed, which he never does, and I knew, through that eerie ESP dog owners develop with their pets, exactly what he was trying to communicate to me: “WHAT IS HAPPENING?”
The top of his head is so soft right now. It’s been so hot this year he’s not only shedding; he’s molting. Growing an entirely new, darker, sleeker, coat. It looks really terrible, his fur mottled and dappled, and I imagine it’s been a source of embarrassment for him these last several weeks. But the new coat has come in fully on his head, which I stroked as I told him I’m not really sure what’s happening, but it’s both terrifying and exciting, and we’re both just going to have to be okay with that.