The Morning Freak Out

I’m not sure why, but my entire family has been missing Reilly very hard this week. Yesterday, I dusted his commemorative dog bowl. His collar had dust on it and when I grabbed the leather lotion and a cloth… I just started crying. When my son came home, he said to me, without me having mentioned a word to him about my feelings, “Mom, I really miss Reilly today for some reason. I’ve been missing him all week.” My husband voiced similar feelings while cooking dinner and fending Mugen off of his pant leg. At one point, he bent down and put an arm around Mugen and said, “I’m used to there being a dog under foot, but you’re supposed to stay on the ground and sniff at the edge of the counter and then sit and wag your tail at me… and then I’m supposed to give you a piece of chicken when Mom’s not looking.”

The look on my husband’s face as he said this was a mix of joy and sadness. I knew what he meant. Those were Reilly’s habits and that was his routine with Reilly while he was cooking. He adores Lucy and Mugen… but Reilly was special for all of us. Our lives will always be a little bit empty without him.

I’m not sure why that emptiness has been so hard to cope with this week. It’s not as if there’s anything as far as the calendar goes. Reilly’s gotcha day was in August. His passing was in July. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s that summer’s coming. Maybe… we can feel it… that it’s almost been a year since we lost our sweet boy.

One of the things that I loved most about Reilly, was his attitude. He woke up every single morning with a bounce in his step and a wag in his tail. My hubby told me that all of his Labs growing up had this zest for life. My hubby used to wake up in the morning and rub Reilly’s chin and he would smile and say “The world is great ’cause there’s a Reilly in it.” and there was something magical about that phrase. It made my entire day to hear him say that and to see Reilly do his doggie bounce and come over to me with a big smile on his face.

Lucy and Mugen have the same zest for life. They get excited about waking up in the mornings. It’s like the world really is great because they’re in it. Unfortunately, I don’t smile most mornings. I’m not really a morning person, you see. I have to have my coffee. I will smile and be happy if my hubby is hanging around, because he has that effect on me, but if I’m on my own… I’m a zombie until about 10. Mugen and Lucy, on the other hand, are ready to go first thing. There is an order to things because of this. The order is super important.

I send Lucy downstairs first. This is for her own protection. Lucy will do stairs, but she still doesn’t trust them so she’s very hesitant about going up and down. If I send both dogs down at once, Mugen will bowl Lucy over. In the interest of keeping Lucy safe and the vet bills low, I give her a good morning pat, she gives me a wiggle and a kiss and then I send her out the door.

After she’s clear of the stairs, I return to the bedroom. Once I shut the bathroom door, the closet door and make sure that all of the dresser drawers that hubby and I rooted through have been shut, I will then head for Mugen’s crate. I will only open the crate door if the bedroom door is FIRMLY shut. I left the bedroom door open once by mistake. I will never, ever do that again.

Once I’ve got all of these things finished, then and only then, will I stand clear of the crate door and reach down and spring the closure and stand the heck back. You see, opening the door to Mugen’s crate requires special consideration for important stuff like your knees, hands and face. Mugen is so excited about being awake in the morning that he is literally a dark chocolate blur that breaks free from the confines of prison and bounces all over the entire bedroom in a span of approximately .34 seconds. You have to stand clear of that door or you will end up with a bruise on your shin, or a cut on your finger or worse, you’ll get knocked out.

Once Mugen’s free, I have to run to my bed before he can get back to me and climb up on it. If I am not on the bed before Mugen gets back to me, he’ll grab the sleeve of my robe or shirt, and drag me to the bed. I love my fuzzy red bath robe, I’d like to keep it. So… I haul butt to the bed.

When Mugen sees me on the bed, he’ll join me with a single leap and I swear some mornings, I can almost hear him thinking, “YAY!!!”. Then he shoves his head in my armpit and we have a belly rub and he rolls around and spreads brown dog hair all over my blankets. I need to get a candid shot of him leaping onto the bed some day. His ears and flews fly back and he looks freakish and I’ve never seen a creepier looking expression on a dog’s face.

I’m quite certain that this is the highlight of Mugen’s entire day.

After all of this, we head downstairs and within a few minutes, Mugen will butt tuck across the main floor. It always starts in the parlor. He does a figure 8 around the dining room table, twice, and then he hauls it across the tile into the kitchen, around the kitchen table, in a circle around the family room and then back the opposite direction and he stops exactly where he started.

Lucy sits next to me, huddled against my leg for safety, while I sip my coffee and we watch him. It’s not as if we can really see him, I’ve never seen a dog run as fast as Mugen does. All you can see is this pink bit where his tongue hangs out and this brown moving thing and that’s it. It’s best if you stand clear because he has no spatial awareness in hyper speed mode. If you’re in his path, he will ram into your shins and then he’ll keep going as if you were never there in the first place.

After this is done, he plops down in a spot on the kitchen tile that places him within clear view of the front door, of Lucy’s morning nap spot on the dining room carpet and the barstool where I park my butt to finish my coffee and read some stuff on the internet. Then he starts SNORING until I have finished eating my breakfast. We repeat the butt tucking incident after I have fed him breakfast and then we go for our morning walk.

This is my morning, every single morning. It’s not exactly the same way every single time, but this is pretty much the gist of what I get up and do every day. Before you ask, the answer is no. Mugen does not understand the meaning of the word “Sunday”.

This morning was no different, except that today, the neighbor’s dogs were out on her deck today. She let them out just as I was taking Lucy out for her morning newspaper reading. The timing was horrid. The minute that her dogs saw Lucy, they barked and scared her. If Lucy is scared, she will NOT pee until I go back inside and get Mugen and have him come out with her.

So I did this, while standing in my front yard, in my fuzzy, red bath robe. I’m thinking to myself that the fence cannot come soon enough. Then I came back inside and the neighbors’ dogs began their usual routine of barking at every thing that moves. And unfortunately, this was at a time of day when all the school kids were walking to the bus.

Today, Mugen and Lucy decided to get in on this game. I can deal with Lucy’s bark. It’s not very loud, it’s actually a little weak and not scary sounding at all. Mugen on the other hand, sounds like the biggest dog you have ever heard and he scares the crap out of me with his bark.

After 20 minutes of this foolishness, I’d finally had enough. Mugen is in his crate. Lucy is banished to her dog bed. And now… all is quiet.

Of course, my poor son, who does not have school on Fridays, came upstairs mere moments after I crated the puppy and immediately wanted me to watch some video he’d found while surfing on youtube at 3 am.

I stared at him with no concept of why he wanted me to do something other than drink my coffee and read google news, and he just quietly snuck out of the room.

And now… all is quiet… again.