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Life Pets

Outside

There’s been somebody at our house almost every minute, every day, for the past seven months. This is quite different from one year ago.

We do leave for various reasons; we’re not completely housebound. But, we respect the advice of doctors and scientists, so we are at home much more than we are out. The places we go are specific and few. It’s rare for our house to be completely empty these days, and our hours follow generally predictable routines.

This is a summary of Mollie’s take on it:

Month 1 – YAY!

Month 2 – YAY!

Month 3 – YAY!

Month 4 – YAY!

Month 5 – Yay!

Month 6 – Yay

Month 7 – yay

She still appears to be glad we’re around all the time to keep her company. She seems to enjoy hanging out with us in the backyard, or on the couch, or on the bed, wherever we might be during the day and through the night.

However – it’s been a long time since she had to wait patiently for the sound of the key in the lock, the front door opening, after being alone. She used to wiggle with energy, bounce and bark, when we came home. She was so excited by our new presence and the affection and attention that came with it. Now, with the house so rarely empty, with somebody always available for a loving ear scratch or tummy rub, she doesn’t always notice when one of us walks in the door.

The kitchen used to be a magical place where meals were typically based on our comings and goings to and from the outside world. She knew that food followed the morning alarm clock or the evening return to home. Sometimes, we’d bring her something from a restaurant, and the crackling paper bag was her signal that she was about to enjoy an extra special treat. Now, the kitchen is still the place of food, but it’s also the place of phone calls and video meetings. The alarm clock and the restaurant meals don’t happen very often anymore. Seeing us in the kitchen no longer automatically means that it’s dinner time.

Even the backyard, that wonderful playground full of leaves and sticks, birds and squirrels, has become routine. It used to be inaccessible for most of the day. Now, it’s simply a bark away. With the weather cooling off, a bark sometimes isn’t even necessary. We often prop the back door open, allowing the breezes in and Mollie out, freely, according to her mood and interest.

It’s possible that some of the changes we’ve noticed in her behavior are due to her age. She’s four years old, not a puppy anymore. I remember what it was like as our sons grew up, the gradual shift from little boys who eagerly ran to greet us when school was over to teenagers who gave a casual wave and a Hey, ‘sup as they came through the door. Perhaps Mollie’s just moving into her teenage years.

I suspect, however, that the past seven months, our constant presence and the quiet and mostly unvaried routine of our days, play a part. The joy she displays at the word walk, at her realization that she’s getting out, she’s going somewhere, she’ll see and do new things, gives me that impression.

In many ways, Mollie’s just like us. Home is a special place. We love each other, we enjoy being together. These are the people we want around us through it all, and we appreciate what we have. We are grateful and happy.

Still, it’s fun to change things up. The world is appealing, enticing; the variety it offers, the potential adventures and interesting options call to us. We haven’t lost the desire to go, to do, to see and experience and then to share those bits and pieces of life beyond our front door.


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