Oh, man. Its happening again.
I am like one of those women in a bad romance novel. I go into the relationship reluctantly, determined to maintain my distance. The first few interactions are difficult, to say the least. There are fights, tears, one misunderstanding after another. I become utterly convinced that this will never work out.
Then it happens, just like in those Harlequin books. There are unexpected tender moments, a brief cuddle, a kiss on the cheek. There comes a moment, when I least expect it, when I find the two of us side by side, gazing into each other’s eyes in a house that is suddenly empty and quiet.
And I fall in love. Even thought I told myself I wouldn’t do it.
I am so weak. Such a pushover.
The object of my affection moved into our house about a week ago with her owners, my daughter and her fiance. They also came with a cat, but that is a story for another post. My focus now is on my granddog, Izzy.
We have met Izzy before, of course. The kids brought her one afternoon for a visit, which took place through the flying fur of two old home-protective dogs meeting one young interloper. It wasn’t pretty.
They all came back and spent the night here at Christmas. We managed. Barely. Kate and I kept the peace by acting like two of the meanest recess ladies ever; we basically stood in the middle of the living room all day, and every time one of the dogs so much as twitched a whisker, we pointed at the offender and made the famous Cesar Milan “TSCHHH” sound. All was quiet, but no one relaxed.
So when they all needed to move in with us last week, I was pretty anxious. I knew I’d be fine with the humans; my daughter and I are ridiculously compatible, and having her come home is easy and fun and welcome. Sam is newer to us, but is a big warm teddy bear who stepped right in and became Paul’s instant sports buddy. The human relationships are fine, truly.
Its the dogs that have been the challenge.
My big dog, Tucker, is mostly just a sweet old dope. He never fights and never growls. He is a pacifist. Sadie, on the other hand, is determined to protect the homestead. She and little Izzy have fought from their first meeting. It was a girl-girl throwdown, with snarls and teeth-baring and attempts to rip off ears.
That first week with everyone together was tough. There was the unexpected outbreak of war when Izzy wandered into the room where Tucker was asleep; we barely managed to pull them apart. Then there was the moment when I stupidly tried to feed all three at once. I had barely opened the food bin when all three were gnashing teeth and barking in rage. If Sam hadn’t been there to haul them back, at least one would be earless now.
So I wasn’t feeling all that kindly toward Izzy for a while. She just wasn’t my type, you know? Kind of pushy, strutting around with her little black nails tapping on my floor. Sadie and I agreed that she was just a little too cocky, too perky, too in-your-face. We agreed that she had to go.
But then it started, slowly. The morning when she greeted me with a big slurpy cheek kiss, then laid her head on my foot. My cold heart melted just a tiny bit. And she knew it, too, she knew she was reeling me in. She started to sit beside me while I was working; I’d look up from my math papers, and she’d be gazing at me with those big brown eyes. I noticed her trying to ingratiate herself with my dogs, too. Oh, she was subtle, but she knew exactly what she was doing. She started to sniff Tucker in all the right places, and he began to trust her. Then it was walking side by side with my Sadie, trotting along like they were the best of friends.
I didn’t realize what was happening at first. I hardly noticed what I was feeling. But this morning, it hit me. And it hit me hard. Paul had taken our dogs for a hike, and Kate and Sam were still asleep. It was just me and Miss Izzy. And we went for a walk. She trotted beside me all around the neighborhood, and she kept glancing up with her goofy doggy grin. When we got back home, I gave her a cold drink, and a little doggy treat. I sat on the floor, with my back to the sofa. Izzy settled right beside me, her chin on my knee, her left leg draped over my thigh. She gave a big sigh, rolled that brown eye my way, and went to sleep.
I’m in love.