I’m sitting on my bed, shivering, because the back door is open and there’s a cool breeze flowing through. I know in most places in the US right now shivering would be an understatement–you wouldn’t have your back door open this time of year–but it’s not comfortable. Obviously, I should get up and close it, but I have one dog on my right, gently snoring, one dog on my left, peacefully curled into a ball, and a third dog on my feet. This is a precarious, precious moment of equilibrium and I don’t want to jeopardize it by moving.

This week has been grueling. I’m exhausted. Major, major, major mistake: making appointments for the dogs to have vet procedures while C was away.

Bartleby, poor boy, finally got neutered. That shouldn’t be a big deal, but he chews on himself. And it turns out that he is very, very familiar with the cone-of-shame and a little bit of an escape artist when it comes to it. He growls steadily the whole time I try to get it on him and when it’s finally on, he wanders off and finds a wall to push it against until he’s getting his head almost out of it. I either need a cone that’s tighter around the neck, but that doesn’t seem possible, or one that’s longer but still just as tight around the neck. I think I’m going to head back to the pet store this afternoon to try again. Meanwhile, I feel like I’ve spent hours chasing him around saying, “No! No chewing!” which he ignores, unless I physically stop him and pet him for a while.

Zelda, poor girl, went in to have her teeth cleaned and wound up having four of them pulled. I can’t say I was surprised–I’ve been worrying about her teeth for years, because several of them were broken. But she’s been in a lot of pain, and a bit of a state of shock. Before she was in pain, we’d established that she was okay with M around (M is C’s dog). For three nights, M slept on my bed with B and Z, and it was crowded–three dogs is a lot–and I didn’t sleep well, but it was okay. After Z was hurting, though, she was no longer willing to let M be in the bed. Or near me. Or in the kitchen. Or on the couch. Z in pain is about ten times more territorial than she is when not in pain and she’s always somewhat territorial.

I wonder if somehow she blames M for the pain? It could be. Her hostility first started when I needed to take M for a walk and Z and B didn’t feel well enough to come along. M has a lot of energy and is bigger than either of the others: she really needs a serious walk to burn off some of her bounciness. Z just wasn’t up for it. We made it halfway down the street and then she stopped walking and just stood and shook. We went home and I took M for a walk on her own, but by the time we came back, Z had gotten growly. And then it rained for two days. M’s opinion of walking in the rain is that we must run, run, run to get home and out of the horrifying WET. B’s opinion of walking in the rain is that we must stand absolutely still and hope it will soon be over. Z’s opinion of walking in the rain is more of a “So? I have things to sniff, who cares about a little water?” Trying to walk all three of them at once… it would be funny if it was in a movie, happening to someone else, but experiencing it is less amusing.

So the last three days, M is her usual bouncy, happy-go-lucky self, only bouncier than usual because she’s not getting enough exercise, and–since her person is away–determined to snuggle with the pack. Z is a grouch, eyes always on M, hackles always on the verge of rising, and wanting to be in touching distance of me at all times. And B can only be stopped from chewing on his stitches when I’m holding him. It’s like trying to watch three toddlers. And with about the same amount of sleep that you get when you’re taking care of babies and toddlers.

Which brings me back to why I’m sitting here, shivering, and writing a blog post instead of doing any of the zillion more essential things that need to be done. Laundry, taxes, filing. Letters to be mailed. Health insurance to be checked on. Grocery shopping. Trip to the pet store. Etc., etc. But for this moment, there is peace.

Happy, peaceful, sleeping dogs.

I think I’ve talked myself into feeling lucky. 🙂

Happy New Year!