Excerpts from Leroy Cooper's memoir as told to me during conversations that took place during the 2 years we knew each other. I also write humor, flash fiction, celebrity interviews, real and made up stories--see if you can guess which are which.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Mondays are always challenging in my house. My husband leaves for work before the sun comes up and my dog goes back to sleep. I stay up late writing so I don’t get up until the light of day when the dog starts barking because she is ready for her morning constitutional. She may be ready but I am not! Of course, I get up anyway because it’s easier to drag myself out of bed, pull on some shorts under my nightshirt and get her outside than to clean up the carpet. Besides, she is hungry for breakfast, the most important meal (and often the only one she eats) of the day. She is my alarm clock which is good I suppose.
What follows is the sad part. Once her little belly is full she starts walking around looking for my husband. She is a daddy’s girl so Monday’s are particularly tough on her. She gets up with Daddy at 5 AM, runs to the door with her little back legs crossed until he gets there with the leash. She no sooner gets outside and a puddle forms under her on the grass. Ah, she made it once again. Good girl.
Back inside, my husband gets his coffee and sits down in the family room half asleep. She crawls up in his lap and lays there with him. They are both happy. She lies across his lap or legs pinning him to the chair so he won’t get up. Eventually, though, the coffee kicks in and he has to roust her from her comfortable position and she slinks back into her crate to go back to sleep while he gets ready for work.
People keep telling me that dogs don’t have emotions. Maybe they don’t share the same kinds of emotions we experience but there is no question that on Mondays this little doggie is sad. Her companion and playmate is gone for the day and she’s stuck with me who sits at the computer for hours at a time, working. Sure, when she rings the bell hanging from the door knob I jump up, get the leash and take her out, but sometimes she just wants to play so when I get to the door she grabs a toy in her teeth and starts to run around the house like a racehorse on a track, expecting me to chase her at a similar speed. I stand in one place and stomp my foot and that seems to satisfy her as long as I growl when she runs by with the toy.
Then I’m back to work and she’s back on the chair next to mine. She has her own office chair to curl up on and sleep. Dogs sure do sleep a lot! In general, Mondays are a mopey day for her. On the weekends, even if my husband isn’t playing with her, he’s walking around doing things in the house and she follows him around like his white shadow. During the week, I sit in one place, at my desk, for long periods and that’s no fun at all. Then I get dressed and go out, leaving her alone. What nerve! Going out and not taking her with me. She looks at me with those sad questioning eyes, pleading to go with me. But this is not Europe. I can’t take her into stores or cafes (like I really go out to cafes during my workday, NOT!) and office supplies stores.
You can set your clock by this dog. She can tell by the measure of sunlight when it’s time to go to the front entryway and lay down by the window and wait for my husband’s truck to pull up. And then happiness returns to her home for a few hours.
All of this may seem normal to other dog owners but the one thing that is remarkable about this little white ball of fur is this. Every night we are sitting in the family room together watching TV, reading, working on our laptops or chatting and she is there with us. That’s where her crate is so it’s like we are visiting her in her room. At 9:20, not 9:19, not 9:25, the dog pulls herself up from wherever in the room she is sleeping, usually my husband’s lap, and slinks off to her crate for the night. In the past, we used to say “It’s bedtime,” and she’d run to her crate knowing that she’d get her favorite treat before slumber. We used to feed her the treat, close the gate on her crate and cover it with a blanket. She likes the dark safety of her cave. Now, we don’t have to tell her, she doesn’t wait for her treat, she just drags her tired ass into that crate, lays down, curls into a neat little ball and goes to sleep. Another day. Monday’s over. She knows that this is the beginning of a long stretch of days before daddy will be home for her on the weekend.
For her, it’s another day in her doggie life—or is that seven days in human for every one of mine?
She was so good last week I took her to the beauty parlor so you can see the before and after pictures.