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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

What is a pet?

Don't panic. This is not a maudlin eulogy or ode to our fine furry friends. No overwrought sentimentality. Just a note of appreciation for what our dogs (and other pets) bring into our lives.

I swing my feet out of bed at 5:00 in the morning and Lucy--the black rescued greyhound--raises her head expectantly for me to pet her silky cheeks and let her know that it's time to start the day. By the time I get my robe and slippers on, she's stretched, pranced into the next room to wake up Bliss--the fawn rescued greyhound--and has grabbed the toy of the morning to take downstairs for her morning outing. The toy has to stay inside, but the first run in the morning is quick, because breakfast is about to be served.

Bliss, a little slower to start in the morning, finishes, comes inside and manages to have her face in my hand, no matter where I am standing. Her face is exactly the height of my hand when held at my side and I am often surprised to find her head placed in it at odd times during the day. She just wants to be petted. After all, she's a pet.

Now that is an interesting word, with so many conotations. The idea of having a pet is to pet it, and Lucy and Bliss are constant reminders that everyone wants to pet a greyhound. They prompt me when I've finished my morning writing that it is time for a walk. If it weren't for that, I'd get no exercise at all. Their favorite destination is the local coffee shop drive through window where the baristas ooh and aah over them and feed them cookies while petting their heads (just high enough to stick their noses in the window). If I show up without the dogs, the baristas always ask about them and it sometimes gives me pause when one says, "pet the girls for me."

Well, petting is what pets are all about.

And they have their own schedules. After the morning walk, they are content to sleep for the next several hours. One is often curled up on the carpet next to my chair in The Wolf Lair and the other on the fluffy bed next to DW's desk. But periodically through the day a blonde or black head will be thrust over the arm of my chair and the nose will land squarely on my keyboard. That is my signal that it is time for petting, getting up and stretching, and seeing what the weather is like in the back yard. And their biological clocks are set for exactly 4:45, at which time they start racing up and down the halls, fighting over toys, and otherwise being obstructive until I figure out it is 5:00 and time for dinner.

And at night, when we are all tuckered out, I only have to say "bedtime" and they are racing to the beds in our room to receive cookies, pets, and a comfy goodnight. They never seem to get bored with the routine, because the next morning it is fresh and new.

As much as I hate picking up poop, can't afford the specialty dogfood for a delicate stomach, and groan at getting out of my chair for another walk, one stroke of a silky cheek drops my blood pressure and slows my breathing. And that's what pets are for.