Hail falls in April. In Cincinnati, Ohio. My dog refuses to come inside. I do not make her. Instead, I open the front door. I watch her sit and sniff and turn her puffy head, with the long ears, from side to side. I watch as she watches the wonders of life in the way only she can.
Just about twenty four hours ago, I took her to the vet for vaccinations and regular blood tests, followed by a long walk along the river. After we returned home, Belle did not wake, except for the few moments she lay by my side, as I ate falafel and pea shoots. I turned off the lights and fell asleep, too.
At sunrise, I wheeled out to her favorite spot, my old green chair, and she wasn’t there. Instead, she was on the floor, near the old green chair. As if, she tried to jump onto the chair and didn’t make it. I cried. And, then, I petted her. She rolled on her back, all four of her legs in the air. I scratched her belly. I coaxed her upright on all fours and outside to the grass. Belle did her business, came inside, asked me to help her on her green chair, and fell asleep.
I worried. I worried all day. I worried she is old and these vaccinations did something to her she just couldn’t handle. I googled about vaccinations and lethargy. Don’t google about medical issues is a lesson I learn often. I did it anyway. And then I had to get my haircut and had to leave. So I left. I left, worried.
And when I returned, she barked. She ran for her Green Man, the favorite toy, and brought him to me. She ran to the treat cabinet and started scratching and begging. She wanted to go outside. I let her. She wanted back in, I let her. She wanted a treat, I gave it her. And then Fed Ex dropped off something. And she barked like Kujo. I cried.
I cried for the silence and cried even harder for the bark. I thought I wanted this little, cute dog who looks like a bear cub who never sheds and never barks, but I got this little dog, who went through stuff I don’t even know, who protects me, with all the hair and twelve pounds she has, from mailpeople and Fed Ex people, and friends, and who knows what else. She barks. And, somedays, I wish she would stop.
Today, though, I want her to bark forever and sit outside in the hail. I love her barking and craziness more than ever today. I will sit here and watch her and wait for her to scratch to come back inside because I love her. Barking and all.
And this is how we love. We love the barking, the hail, and the fluffy, cuddly snuggles...while we can.