It’s 8.03 so her eyes are on me. Ready? Not yet, cuddles first. Not sure when this became a morning ritual. Her head on my chest, eyes closed, so much is being said without a word coming out.
She knows my every move. Mornings are particularly important because when you have that kind of nose you want to see what the new day tells you about the night before.
She waits by the door, eyes fixated on me. Love and pressure go together sometimes. Finally, the door opens and we’re out. It’s -18 and sunny, though the sun is scarce on our block still. Heel, leave it, good job, repeat. Her little feet dance on the sidewalk this way and that, her nose sniffing tracks of cats and dogs and birds. So much has happened overnight. Again.
The park is white and frozen. We know where the sunny parts are so that’s where we’re heading. Interference. A dog that mostly doesn’t like other dogs, his owner says, shows up. She feels it’s not a friendly greeting but a ‘let me sniff you so I can bash you shortly’, so she declines. A short-lived pursuit follows; her tail is down, she is not comfortable like she is with other dogs. She stands her ground though. A brave pup she is.
We move along. She runs ahead. I stop to adjust my mittens and I notice her standing in the middle of the path waiting. We gaze at each other for a few seconds. ‘Should we keep going?’ I ask. She tilts her head. All right then.
We take a trail that will ultimately take us to the sunny parts. It’s cold. My face is stinging. She dashes up and down the hills chasing birds. Then she stops by the squirrel tree. Yes, there is one she knows of in the park. Other than the whooshing sounds made by my feet and hers, all is quiet.
We reach the sunny path. As soon as I feel the sun on my face I stop and let it kiss my cheeks. She does too. We exchange glances again. We speak sparkling together; a language that makes your day brighter.
All of a sudden she starts sniffing with a vengeance. Her nose plows through deep snow and then she holds it up and smells the air. There are tracks that she sniffs again and again. Then I understand. The snow becomes a translator of our pup’s behaviour. When we’re walking down the street or around here, certain tracks that the snow makes now visible, make her go crazy.
I follow a narrow set of tracks with my eyes all the way up the hill. I wouldn’t have been aware of that if she wasn’t here to make me see. Coyotes. We saw one the other day just out of the park. She looks like one, people say. One day we’ll meet face to face, coyotes and us. I know she’ll be brave, but I hope she’ll be wise too.
We’re in the shade again. It’s cold and I’m thinking of warmth and hot coffee, boys waking up, and morning snuggles with little boy. It’s a good sunny, day. It’s her first birthday.
She’s been a catalyst of laughter in our home, she’s reminded us all of the simple pleasure of being, quiet and peaceful, and let the world go by even for just a bit. She knows our names, we know her favourite games and hiding places and we’re constantly revising the house rules just so we can have more of her.
Happy birthday, pup, glad you’re ours and we’re yours. We love you so.