In my home I have started a ritual. Susie has other words for it, but I’ve settled on ritual. It is rather an odd ritual, but before I give you the exact details I want to introduce you to the other participant.
The other partaker of this habitual sacrament is the newest member of the Gang of 5. The Gang of 5 is the nomenclature Susie and I have begun to use to identify our two dogs and three cats, all of whom are rescues. I think of them as our own personal crime fighting super heroes and Susie considers them to be five little, four-legged members of our family. We both totally love on them.
The most recent fellow is Andy. His entrance into our lives began when he was abandoned at a golf course, where I was to give a talk. He appeared early in the day and immediately identified me as a soft hearted sucker with the means to extract him from his current homeless, hungry situation and usher him into a warm home with plenty to eat. He said he was only seven weeks old and had no idea what events had transpired to leave him in such a strange place with uncaring people. A quick inspection around the grounds turned up no siblings or parents, so he came home with me.
My wife, Susie instantly prepared food, water, and a litter box apart from the others so he could make the transition from wandering around a golf course to being a member of the Gang as seamless as possible. Once he was fed, watered and nature had taken its course he began to explore every square inch of his new abode. He was also anxious to make the acquaintance of his new siblings, so anxious that to them he seemed a little forward. Since his only exposure to others was his birthed brothers and sisters he straightway approached the Gang by hopping on them, gnawing their ears, batting at their tales, jumping on their backs, and lunging at them with teeth bared. This type of activity, without the usual warm-up period of sniffing, staring, and lots more sniffing, did not quickly establish bonds of love. Slowly he learned to turn down his enthusiasm (at least a little) and they learned not to be so put off by his willingness to shower them with his type of affection. Hence his nickname, But I Meant It Nicely.
Now back to the ritual.
I awaken usually around 4:30 in the morning and head to the bathroom for my morning constitutional. I will spare you the exact intimate details of what this consists of, but suffice it so say I feel greatly relieved upon finishing. But this has become a sign to Andy that for at least few moments I am anchored in one spot, with time on my hands, and nothing better to do than pet him furiously. He loves this. His little purring mechanism increases by several decibels.
So each morning begins with my alarm making this horrendous loud obnoxious noise, which completely convinces me that it is far better to rise and face the day than have to endure that sound for another go round. Then I grope my way into the bathroom, thankful for the nightlights Susie installed several years ago, and ahem…make myself comfortable. I then hear the pitter-patter of not so tiny feet bounding up the stairs, running down the hall, scratching for traction as he rounds the corner before flying into the bathroom and coming to a skidding stop at my feet. With my first touch he erupts into ecstatic purring so loud that the first few times I heard Susie mumble, “Uh…what’s that…uh…noise?”
The other day I mentioned to Susie how neat I thought it was that every morning, no matter what; as soon as Andy hears my feet hit the tile floor of the bathroom he comes charging through the house like a runaway freight train, careening into the bathroom for morning snuggles with Dad. She smiled and said, “Isn’t that how we all feel about love? Once we discover it, won’t we run to its source as fast as we can every time?”
With a smile I reached out and hugged her before replying, “Yes, Honey it is.”
Introducing the Gang of 5:
- Jake the Wonder Dog – A Jack Russell who looks like a gym rat steroid freak. Seriously, he has muscles everywhere and they ripple as he moves. He was abandoned by a family who got him when he was eight weeks old and the next day decided they weren’t “dog people.” So he came home to us, but he is 100% Mommy’s dog, they are completely inseparable. He refers to me as “what’s his name.”
- Callie the Sleek Dog – A 13 year old Huskie who came to us tipping the scales at close to 200 pounds. Through diet and exercise she is now down to a svelte 125 and lookin’ good. She has been through several homes, but she is beginning to move very slowly and emits small groans as she gets up. We make her as comfortable as possible. Our home will be her last.
- OC the World’s Smallest Cat – She is an all-black, incredibly tiny cat whom we discovered one morning under our front porch in the middle of winter. At seven weeks old she was cold, hungry, and scared of the world. She is now a little ball of love muffin.
- Zip (aka Snowball) the Catch Me If You Can Cat – She was abandoned in our daughter’s suburb, and knowing of our great love for furry little creatures, she immediately brought her to our home. She sprints throughout the house and for a brief instant we considered calling her Flash. As I type this she is laying, curled up, on top of my feet.
Susie and I love on them exactly as we would any member of our family. We talk to them, hug them, love on them, pet them, and shower them with all kinds of affection. They do the same in return. It works well for all of us.