I have my alarm set for 6:45 a.m. but I don’t know why I bother. Everyday it’s the same routine. First, I hear his nails on the wooden floor and his tags on his collar jingling. He stretches his front paws as far as they go and does his canine yoga and then he props his sweet little face on the edge of my bed.
The hair whisps around my face gently blow from his breath. I am especially tired this morning; so I ignore him. “Maybe he will lay down and give me 10 more minutes”, I dream. I know better though; he was not born with a snooze button. He makes little bear noises to wake me up without disturbing the 2-year-old who made her way into my bed in the middle of the night. How does he know the right volume? Loud enough to wake mommy but quiet enough so daddy and Maggie can sleep. It’s our alone time together and he knows exactly how to get it. My eyes are closed but I can feel him staring at me. At some point I mentally decide that he is right, I better get up. The list of to-do’s for this morning started scrolling through my head.
As soon as my eyes pop open he gets excited and starts high-stepping with his paws like a miniature Clydesdale. I glance at the clock, 6:26 a.m. “Good Morning handsome! Right on time! Teddy Bear, such a good boy!” I whisper to him the way dog owners do. The smile on my face is genuine. I love to rub his ears, they are as soft as velvet. He looks up to remind me to scratch under his chin. His eyes close and leans into me when I do that. I slowly climb out of bed and throw on a sweatshirt and my warmest boots. He watches me from the edge of the closet doors as his tail whips from side to side with excitement. “Are you ready buddy?” He answers me by racing down the stairs and waits by the back door.
It’s a cold, brisk morning. The cold air feels good on my face as we both make our way to the edge of the woods where he does his business. I secretly think he feels embarrassed when I watch him so I look around like I don’t notice. Now I’m getting cold. “Hurry up dude! Who pee’s that much anyway?” I love him with all my heart but I don’t want him taking advantage of me. A little nagging goes a long way. He apologizes for his large bladder with his chocolate-brown eyes. “All right. Ya done?” He confirms that he is comfortable by sitting down next to me. He stares up at me waiting for some love. How can I resist? I crouch down next to him and wrap my arms around him.
“You’re a good boy! A real sweetie. Do you know that?” He licks the air next to my face. He has already figured out that I don’t appreciate a true tongue bath the way daddy does. “All right. Let’s get breakfast inside where it’s nice and warm.” He trots behind me and eventually we make our way inside. I fill his dog bowl with fresh water and food and he inhales it the way chocolate labs do. I could go back to bed but I opt to make a cup of joe and cuddle on the couch with my newest family member. He props his head on my lap and closes his eyes. I rub his soft ears again and slowly sip my coffee. This is it. This is happiness. I, like everyone, am surrounded by chaos and stress. I need these moments. Thank you Ted. It’s going to be a great day.
I dedicate this blog to the lab rescue organization where I found Ted.