From the series: Life on Dog Hill

Ahh, the morning routine! Hubby gets up first, showers and goes downstairs to make coffee. Then, right before 6:00 a.m. he brings up a cup of steaming coffee and sets it on the headboard tempting my eyes to open by teasing my olfactory organ. Mmmm, smells good, I mutter into my pillow. Can I drink it laying down?

I drag myself out of bed and, cup in hand, wander into the hallway with eyes half-closed. I open the door to the twins’ room and Chippy, our three-legged min-pin, is tunneling his way out from under Sergei’s covers. Jake, a big mixed-breed sleeping at the foot of Alex’s bed, opens a sleepy eye but doesn’t budge.

Chippy runs downstairs, greets the two collies, and waits at the door with Toby while I remove Sandy’s diaper. Yes, I said diaper. She struggles to stand, her back legs stiff after the night but she too knows the routine. With diaper off, she takes a slow step forward, wobbles, regains her balance and then she lines up at the door with the others. By this time, Blizzard, our west highland terrier who sleeps in Nathaniel’s room has now joined the pack. And with that, I open the door and out we go!

In a few minutes time, we’re back in and the dogs race to the kitchen for their cookie. Good dogs that go potty outside always get cookies! I double bag the stinky pee-diaper, wash my hands and hunt for my coffee cup.

Ryan is awake and blowing on his oatmeal and the twins won’t get up until Ryan heads out for the bus at 6:50. This little window between 6:15 and 6:45 is quality time for Tom and me — this half-hour of sitting together in the living room drinking coffee, chatting, and scratching dogs.

We love our dogs and morning coffee just wouldn’t be the same without them competing for our attention. Four of the five dogs are rescues which, by the way, make wonderful canine companions.  But the dogs of Dog Hill are demanding, standing in front of us starring intently until we scratch them. If we dare stop, a nose is sure to bump under our arm just as we’re taking the next sip of coffee.

One morning a couple of weeks ago, Toby was starring at me more intently than usual. Still working on my first cup of coffee, I wasn’t as alert as he would have liked me to be. When I finally looked at him I could swear the dog was smiling at me. Amused that Toby had learned to smile, I was in the process of telling Tom about Toby’s new trick when poor Tob started heaving.

“He’s not smiling, he’s gonna barf!” I said, quickly putting my coffee cup down. And, for a woman who is slow to get started, you would have been uber impressed with the speed at which I jumped from my chair and guided Toby out the front door.

We watched from the window as he… well, you get the picture. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

I really thought he was smiling at me…

 

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