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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gabriel and Maggie

Gabriel loves it that he can lie on my lap again.  For so many years, he had to lie between me and the arm of the chair or even on the bed.  My knees were too sensitive to have his small weight on them.  Now that I’ve had knee replacement on both of them, they no longer hurt and he has discovered that he can be on my lap again.  For a while he was hesitant to hop up, but after three months of invitations he has decided that it really is OK for him to be up here again.

I got up earlier than usual this morning because I have a sore throat coming on and I thought a cup of hot tea would help.  Of course, Gabe and Maggie got up with me. While I made my tea, they went out to explore the yard and do other things.  By the time the tea was ready Maggie was standing at the door. Gabe hustled in from the darkness as soon as I opened the door.

I brought my tea to my room and situated myself in the recliner.  I wanted to read a bit in my new book.  Before I took my first sip of tea both little dogs were curled in my lap.  Both firmly believe it is their place to be there.  And they are absolutely right.  I love having them there.

I’ve become a big fan of Cesar Milan.  He says that you have to address the dog before you look at the pet or the individual.  I know almost nothing about the man except that he does know dogs.  It is eerie sometimes how he can manage them.  We have had dogs for my entire life.  My father brought home my first dog before I was ever born and his family had had dogs for his entire life.  Our dogs have always been well behaved and good dogs, but I’ve learned almost more than I can say from Cesar.

One thing he has pin pointed for me is how, no matter how tiny the dog, they still have a dog’s attitude.  Maggie might weigh five pounds, but she thinks she is just as big as Maxim.  Gabriel probably weighs twenty but he thinks he’s a German Shepherd.  Maxim, on the other hand, thinks he can be a lap dog, too.  He doesn’t try to jump on my lap like Maggie or Gabriel, but he would if he hadn’t learned that he has to stay on the floor.  He will come and put his head on my lap and lean as hard as he can, looking up with beseeching eyes.  Or put one big foot on my knee and press just hard enough to say, “It wouldn’t be hard at all for me to walk up onto your lap.  Please, could I?” 

Right now, Gabriel is curled up between my knees with his head resting on my thigh.  Maggie would like to be in that spot, but Gabe beat her to it.  She is laying up against me stomach on my thigh with her head and shoulders snuggled against Gable.  I have my laptop on my other thigh, propped on a pillow and Maggie’s shoulders.  We are all very cozy.  The dogs are sound asleep.

Gabe has been my best for almost 12 years.  He and Aspen were my companions when I lived alone in Winfield.  They ate with me, slept with me, sat with me, prayed with me and laid by my side when I took a bath, brushed my teeth or sat on the john, when I was on the computer, watched TV or read.  It is as natural for me to share whatever I’m doing with my dogs as it is to breathe.  They may not understand every word I say but they try hard to figure it out.  Maxim, like Aspen before him, is very good at figuring it out.

Gabe is getting old. He has hurt himself several times trying to play with Maxim (or maybe boss maxim around).  Maxim has never intentionally tried to hurt him or bite him but Gabe has launched at himself at Maxim and gotten tripped over more than once.  He has damaged his back so badly that at one time I thought I might have to have him put to sleep.  But he recovered, even if he has a distinctive crook in his back you can feel if you stroke along his spine.  He is getting arthritis and his eyes are clouded. But he’s still my dog.
It doesn’t matter what is going on in the rest of the house, Gabriel always ends up beside me.  He might go and visit R & M for awhile but soon he’s back on the bed or on my lap.  If I sit at the table or the counter, he’s right there on the floor beside me.  If I go to the bathroom, he sits in the door way and waits for me.  Where ever I am he’s there.
I’ve only had Maggie since October, but she is learning that she’s my dog too. She likes to sit on Rachael’s lap—especially when Rachael is sitting at the counter eating her breakfast—and she likes to visit with R & M in the evenings if they watch TV in the den, but every once in a while she has to come back and see if I’m doing all right.  Gable is her favorite uncle and role model.  She has begun to notice that he stays with me.  She is oftener and oftener coming and staying with me when the door is open and she could go elsewhere.

I don’t know what people do without dogs.  I don’t know what makes them chuckle when they are sad or what makes them laugh out loud with their antics.  I don’t know who they pray with when they are alone.

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