Bryn and I drove down to Saginaw from Traverse City on Monday of this past week, as my husband’s brother was suddenly admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit at Covenant Hospital. Joe, a cardiologist, is managing his brother’s care. (He continues to practice medicine here three days a week: the other four are spent with us in Traverse City.)
Completely submersed in this emergency situation I didn’t register my dog’s quiet anxiety.
Then, last Tuesday afternoon, I drove home from the hospital in a better mood and found her unable to settle on her couch nest. What in the world? My dog looked so sad! So many sighs, eyes too wide, mouth in an O- the picture of mournful.
“What’s up, Bryn?”
Her brown eyes flicked to the sofa. My nest is not right, Boss.
Here’s the situation. A sofa, which had served us well for thirty years at Sunnybank House, was trailered back to Saginaw two years ago in November, to offer to our children, or donate to Goodwill. Bryn had grown up lying at its foot. Hmm, I thought. Why not let her use it? (Furniture has always been firmly off limits, but, as she doesn’t shed, I decided to make an exception here.) It had taken awhile for her to absorb the fact that this sofa was OK. Mine, Boss?
I’d smiled. “Yes. Hop up.”
She’d stared at me, then at the sofa, uncertain. She put a paw on it, glanced at me, and I said again, “Go ahead.”
Oh, Boy. She’d hopped up and walked the length of it very slowly, one shoulder pressed to the backrest, enjoying the give of the cushions. Finally, she sat at one end. Her chin rested on its tall back as she looked out the window, chuffing happily. Her place!
Amused, I’d dug out an old fleece rug from storage and set it atop the cushions. It was November, and cold. Bryn loves fleece. That gift was icing on the cake. She was in heaven.
Since that day she’s rarely been off it. She’ll stare outside for hours, watching squirrels and rabbits scamper over the two-acre lawn. She watched for Joe’s car all of last winter from her sofa. She listens to me humming in the kitchen as I cook.
It was funny to watch her arrange the fleece just so, and then curl up in it, put her chin on the sofa arm, and sleep. One day I’d found her rummaging through her toy box for a soft little decorative pillow I’d given her a while back. She brought it to the sofa, set it on the end cushion and carefully positioned her paws on it. Bryn loves pillows. I keep finding them at rummage sales for a buck or two...
Now, less medically distracted because Joe’s brother was holding his own, I focused on my dog.
“What isn’t right?”
Her eyes flicked to the sofa. I looked.
Hey! Where was the fleece and her pillow? I hadn’t moved them, so where could they be?
Was that the problem?
I searched the house. Bryn followed me around, sniffing each cupboard I peered into.
Huh. Joe had obviously shifted them somewhere after I moved back to Traverse City in May to begin work in the garden.
When he arrived home I inquired. But he couldn’t recall what he’d done with them.
“They’ll turn up.”
He always says this when we mislay something, and he’s almost always right.
Bryn took to occasionally tapping my arm just once, ever so lightly, to remind me...
Boss, bed’s not right.
I couldn’t fix this.
But Time could.
Today, two days later, Joe and I entered the workshop (an outbuilding that used to be the farm’s granary). He showed me the progress he’d made in sorting/giving away/ tossing irrelevant bits and pieces. The area was much less cluttered, now.
Oh! Something caught my eye! There, on top of some empty file drawers, lay the sheepskin, rolled up, AND her small pillow. Surprised and pleased, he remembered he’d moved them out here to vacuum the sofa.
I shook out the fleece, thumped dust from the little pillow, brought both into the house and set them on the carpet. Bryn stared, incredulous, then began to prance around, thrilled.
It’s hard to adequately express her pleasure. She inspected every inch of that rumpled sheepskin, then joyfully rushed over to barely bump me, just once.
This is good! Oh, so good!
I put the fleece where it should be.
She set her front paws on that sofa, surveyed her stuff, then let out a contented sigh and hopped up. After turning in circles to prepare her nest, she lay down and rolled onto her back, glancing up at me happily.
Bed’s just right, Boss.
Paws in the air, she promptly fell into a relaxed, deep sleep, her pillow near her nose.
Little things can mean so much!
Here are photos of Bryn before and after her clipping, as I wrote about last week, as well as one of her on her couch, fully furred, with her little pillow by her head...