Coming home from work is always a pleasure – not just for the obvious reasons! The greetings I get from the dogs are usually predictable and always fun.
After I park the car under the deck, I can hear Seelie barking inside. Sometimes Raven and Gryphon join in; they all have distinctive voices, so it’s easy to tell them apart. As I walk up the stairs from the basement, I can hear the whole pack waiting at the door – especially Merlin, who slams his big feet on the door as if that’s going to make me get there faster.
I open the door, and there are four furry heads, all staring at me. Seelie and Merlin are wagging their tails. Raven doesn’t have a tail to wag, having been born without one (a natural bob, for an Aussie), and Gryphon usually reserves tail wagging for other dogs.
Then the barking starts up again. Raven wants out NOW, into the big fenced yard. Seelie is right on her heels. Merlin scoots out too; within a minute or two he’ll be doing an excellent imitation of a kangaroo, jumping up and down just outside the door, wanting back in. Gryphon, meanwhile, has been yelling at me since I opened the door to let the others out. His barking is purposeful, measured; I’m fairly certain he’s yelling at me for having been away so long. Sometimes he’ll go out after the others; most of the time he barks at me as I’m setting things down in the kitchen, counter surfing as he tries to grab my lunch bag.
Yesterday Gryph was more agitated than usual. My roof doesn’t have much pitch to it; that, combined with the awful weather we’ve had for the past month, has led to some really impressive ice dams. Two nights ago, the leaks started. There are several water stains on the ceilings, and a constant drip in my library. I was able to get someone to come and clear the roof; they were up there for at least an hour before I came home. I’m sure all the dogs were upset, but Gryph was really tense.
He refused to go out; instead, he brought me a toy and started his Sheltie game of dancing around the toy, lunging in as if he was going to grab it, then bouncing backwards, barking at the toy, staring at it, barking again, dancing once more. I grabbed the toy, tossed it for him, and he repeated the routine. Eventually he came over to me and leaned on my leg as I petted him, then was happy to go outside with the others.
I’d been stressed all day, worrying about the roof and the leaks. Some of my students asked if I was okay – clearly I wasn’t if they were noticing! I still have the leak, but the ice is melting away, and a friend is lending me his roof rake so I can try to prevent more damage. I’m sitting at the kitchen table, writing this, with Raven at my feet, Seelie and Merlin negotiating for space and play possibilities (still a very rare event for the two of them), and Gryphon curled up nearby.
I’m a lot less stressed now.