No, It’s Not Time Yet: Go Lay Down
As I sit on my couch, my 13-year old Beagle/Shepherd mix Emma emits a quiet, airy belch in my direction. She and her two furry siblings (Beasley and Graham, 9 and a 12-year old male and female Basset Hounds) have finished their dinner that I’ve started to serve them in the early afternoon.
I started feeding them in the afternoon a couple of years ago, as the whole day was a campaign on their parts to ask, “Is it now? How about now? NOW?!” They circled my legs like little hairy, short sharks whenever I’d do housework, answer the phone, work at the computer, or head to the bathroom. “No, it’s not time yet. Go lay down.”
Now I just need to endure the morning hours, starting as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. The dogs take turns jumping on the bed, treading carefully over to where my head is on the pillow, and do their little begging dance.
Emma will sit next to me and affix an eyeball that bores into the back of my brain, putting a paw on my arm as if to say, “I am ever so hungry, I am considering eating my brother if you’d be so kind as to put him in my dinner bowl.” To which I’d reply, “No, it’s not time yet. Go lay down.”
Beasley is not so subtle. His approach is to stomp on over, wiggle his whole body at me while giving me sad, puppy eyes, and lick my face. I sometimes go to grab him, to squish him to me (because, admittedly, Bassets are supremely squishable) and occasionally I’ll get beaten by his extraordinarily rabbity legs as he leaps from the bed back to the floor. It’s not always cuddle time, though, not when the puppy tax hasn’t been paid.
When I get out of bed, the excitement is at a high. All three dogs come to greet me and won’t let me walk a straight line, to which I say “No, it’s not time yet! Go lay down!!”
I’m a night owl by nature, so sometimes I don’t get up until late morning, which is dangerously close to puppy supper-time. Their bellies are telling them it’s time. I’m telling them to go lay down. They think I’m unreasonable and mean. I feel that way, especially when I walk into the kitchen to get myself some breakfast. I open the refrigerator, where, as it happens the fat-free yogurt that I add to their dinner is kept. “No, it’s not time yet. Go lay down. And get out of the kitchen!!”
Side note: Yogurt makes my dogs’ fur very silky, keeps them from getting dried out in summer, and helps to aid in their digestion. However, it makes for crazy dogs when it’s near supper time and you aren’t getting it out of the fridge, but selfishly getting out creamer for your coffee instead. There’s a collective, silent, “AWWWWWW.”
If I sit on the couch to eat my breakfast, they will take turns sitting in front of me to stare, or bump their noses to my leg. “No, it’s not time yet, go lay down!”
In the 13 plus years since I’ve owned one to all of them, I have yet to forget to feed them. Ever. But it seems as though they have the memory of just a day.
But then, joy! It’s 12:30 in the afternoon, and time to eat! I make them all sit and stay while I prepare their food. Emma can hardly contain herself and has to be reminded at least three times to put her butt on the floor. Graham, the red basset, is honestly the best one of the bunch. She will often go and sit in her spot in the laundry room where I feed them–a good hour before it’s even time to eat, as if to say, “I’m ready whenever you are.”
Beasley continues his shark circling, but finally settles down when I stare at them with my arms folded. “No, sit down. No, don’t mow down your sister, go sit down!”
I prepare their food and put it in front of them. I make them sit and stay as I put the yogurt back in the fridge, give the release command…and then it’s over in less than two minutes. They all come to thank me; it’s most polite of them. I am usually rewarded with a belch from each.
Then they sleep for the next three hours, usually out on the back deck in the sun or on one of the couches. It’s the most peaceful part of the day. Until it’s time for their walk…