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Today we went to see Sophie’s doctor to get updates on her vaccinations. She looked at me with adoring eyes as if to say, “Owie, Mommie” when she got her shot. She is sleeping now dreaming of rabbits and the open fields of the high mountain desert. I daresay her vet is in that dream somewhere, maybe her dog and Sophie are racing around together.

Sophie adores her vet. When we drive by the turn to “Sophie’s Doctor” she starts to  wiggle in happiness. We don’t even have to turn in. When we do turn in she is abominable. Sophie has a loud bark and when she is happy and excited the Subaru seems a very small place. I have thought about opening the window to let the sound out but I think she might just go right on out of the car seat belt trailing behind.

Of course, when we arrive she has to take forever to sniff all the smells of all the other dogs who have passed by. It is nearly impossible to get her to go inside and then you would think she had died and gone to heaven. All decorum is out the window. A 9 year old lady she would not whimper and whine and squeak so she can get to go run around and hug everyone but there you have it. She does.

I feel like Sophie does. I love Sophie’s doctors. We are alway cared for and cared about. Right after the fire Sophie needed something or another and it was a bittersweet time knowing how happy they were to see Sophie was alive and with us at the same time being so sad remembering the animals who did not make it. I was deeply moved by their tender caring.

Today, along with 100 hugs and 1000 dog cookies Sophie got vaccinations including one for Leptospirosis. The Leptospira bacteria can be found in fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine. We spend a lot of time in the woods and I could be wrong but I think animals urine might somehow get into the water (she said, ironically). The leptospirosis vaccine can cause discomfort for a bit. It can also cause facial swelling. Tonight Sophie is a puffy faced, sad eyed little girl. She will be happy as a clam tomorrow but tonight she is milking it for all its worth looking at us with sweet eyes. Extra hugs and pets, a few more treats, sweet crooning voices, she got them all. What a dog life. With her sad, pathetic demeanor she got us to come to bed early so she could hop up between and snuggle in for a good nap. It is actually nice that she got us to come to bed early since we have been burning the midnight oil.

Sophie is a special dog. She had hundreds of people friends. She likes to make the rounds and visit everyone she knows. When my mom was in hospice we went to see her each day for weeks before she died. Each morning we would go in and Sophie would make a bee line for my mom and spend the day keeping her company and basking in the warmth of all of the staff who helped take care of my mom as well as all the visitors. At the end of each day my mom would give her half of her dinner and we would leave for the night. When we got back to my Mom’s house where we were living she got her 2nd half of dinner. I did not want Sophie to learn to be totally dependent on my mom but they loved sharing the dinner ritual I had to let them do. My solution was a two-half-dinner routine.

Pretty much wherever Sophie goes she leaves a trail of people admirers. She loves other dogs but gets so excited she acts like a nut and embarrass her mother. Around people she is perfect and she knows it. She can use her beautiful hound eyes to trick you into doing just about anything she wants you to do. I have fallen for it so many times I cannot count. She has this way of cutting her eyes to let me know what she wants. If I say no, cut, cut, cut. I burst out laughing and she wins.

Tonight she is sleeping stretched out snuggled up against my spouse so she can be comforted by his closeness and warmth. Their gentle snoring is a sweet accompaniment to my typing this story.

When we were designing the house to be one of the things I realized late one night was that I did not want to be far from my spouse and doggie’s snores. It seemed impossibly strange but after we assessed the situation we decided that it really was important. My spouse is an early riser and uses the office in the morning for email, reading and other quiet tasks. I am a late night-er and use the office to do email, reading and other quiet tasks. We realized that the sound of sleeping of the other as a background noise was important.

People talk about liking to hear a child sleep, the gentle snores, sighs, moistening of the lips, and the rustles of the covers are reminders that the other exists, that you are not alone in the world.

Listening to my spouse and my dog sleep is as comforting a sound as I know. It means that I am safe because they are resting peacefully. We are invested in each other in ways that we we know and even some we never realize. The silence that comes from not hearing another sleep has to be interpreted. Are things OK? Are they happy? Ant tonight, does her vaccination spot hurt? Is she fretful?

Tonight there are sweet sounds of inhalation and exhalation coming from my family. I am content.

close up of face of red dog nose burried in blanket sad look