Thursday, September 28, 2006



This probably falls under the heading of Details about the Buengers I Don't Really Need to Know, But Might Be Fun Anyway. We have a rather rigid morning routine. Walter gets up first, maybe 5:20 or so, dresses, coaxes Luke downstairs, lets Uma out of her crate, and frees Willy from the downstairs bathroom. He walks the dogs down the road in the pitch dark, collects the newspaper, and returns about 5:50 (actually, at exactly 5:50) to start the dog feeding process. At that point, yours truly is almost always still abed. . .waiting.

Waiting for what, you may ask. Godot? For the Iceman to Cometh? For Walter to bring me coffee and bon bons in bed? No, for the last six months, at 5:50 every morning, I've been waiting for Willie. He arrives one of two ways: by banging insistently (noisily, stubbornly, incessantly, , , you choose the adverb that fits) on the bedroom door until I let him in or by plunging through the doorway, up onto the bed, dogpiling on me and licking the ice cream cone he thinks I have stored behind my ear. I cozy him up for a few minutes then roust myself to dole out Erin's morning chemo. Willie eats while I dress, then I walk him the mile and a tenth around the lake, so that he will be calm enough to survive the day without doing something so bad that one of his owners kills him on the spot.

So, there I am, yesterday. It's 5:50. No Willie. 5:51, 5:52, 5:53. No Willie. I hear Walter bumping around in the kitchen, mixing doggie kibbles, opening the can, arranging it all artfully in their bowls. Where's Willie? I think to myself, maybe this is the day. Maybe Willie has grown up. Maybe he is setting aside his rambunctious puppy ways and is ready to join the family as a full-fledged, non-remedial, non-probationary dog. I dressed quickly and headed downstairs to tell him what a good dog he was. I found him laying there, head up and cocked, looking first at me and then at something else, something he is guarding between his front paws. I discover he has not given up his bad dog ways. I have, in fact, been jilted. Our morning tete a tete, our daily rendezvous, has been set aside for someone else. A tree frog. I was dumped for a tree frog. A now dead one, at that.

I picked it up, while it was still in one, non-bleeding piece, tossed it in the trash, and reclaimed my puppy, code named "No No Bad Dog."

Oh well, they grow up so fast. Why rush the process?

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