Consciousness comes, slowly.
I take stock of who I am, where I am, and that something is not quite right.
Then I remember. Lung cancer.
Before I open my eyes, I realize that there is something cold near my ear. It is Dash. I remember him burrowing under the blankets as I drifted off to sleep last night. Now this wiener dog, a bratwurst, really, has his nose by my face and the rest of him nestled on John's pillow as if tucked inside a bun. His copper red color surrounded by the beige sheet remind me of a naked dog that walked from the Varsity. He is peaceful in slumber and I know that this serenity will remain with him when he wakes. He is the Gandhi, the Buddha of the dog world, bringing peace to the Alpharetta Greenway and to wherever he goes. He is the oldest and wisest of the pack but is a benevolent leader. There is not an Alpha Male bone in his body.
My legs feel like they are glued to the bed. That spot belongs to Dewey. Dew-eyed, handsome boy. The middle child who is jealous of but loving to his older and younger siblings alike. And playful, smart, polite and wanting always to please. But big dogs, watch out. He announces himself and wants you to know he is ready to rumble.
At the corner of the bed in a spot he has claimed as his own is Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. This is not a typo. He is named for the officious if deranged seeing eye bitch in the movie Everything is Illuminated. Floppity, dumb as dirt, living for the moment and loving every minute. Irresistible to all who do not have to clean up his mistakes or pay for the ruined books. White with dark spots, he looks like an elongated beagle and howls like one. Eats like he may have the potential to challenge Dash for being the Fat Boy in Town. He completes the pack of boys, who can often be found on the bed, sofa, or comfy chair intertwined and in repose.
Suddenly, the quiet of the morning is pierced by fierce barking. That would be Dot a/k/a Dorothy a/k/a Dotalicious a/k/a Ninja. Small, stealth, 6 1/2 pounds of vigilance. The deer, the cats, the other creatures that lurk in and around our yard are never safe as long as Dot is around. Afraid of nothing, she is the bravest of the bunch. For the year before she became one of the Aussenberg/Denys pack she lived in an apartment and never went outside. Now she stays out in all but the coldest, wettest conditions. We almost lost her to a bird of prey last year. She was bloodied and scared, but she endured stitches and swiftly recovered. Dot Denys. One loud, tough cookie who now snuggles sweetly nearby.
I close my eyes for a few more minutes to enjoy the moment.
Covered in dachshund.
Covered in love.