And so he is, anxious, sweet, energetic, worried about his brother, clinging close to me and then fleeing upstairs to get away from the drama of the aging border collie.
I am amazed how in tuned Riley is to Boscoe--even to changes in something as subtle as the way he breathes. Boscoe has had a few restless nights, and when he wakes up (almost always at about 1:30 a.m.) I wake up, too, because I am sleeping right next to him and I feel his weight shift, hear his breathing quicken. But before I can move or say a word, Riley is back down the stairs in a flash to see what's going on. And nothing is going on, other than this: Boscoe woke up. And, a floor away, Riley responds.
And so we all get up and toddle to the back door, some of us (Riley) faster than others of us (Boscoe, and, if I've been deeply asleep, me), and Riley zooms down the porch steps, wide awake, ready to race around on the icy snow under the full moon, and Boscoe kind of gathers himself and launches himself down the stairs, understanding that momentum will keep him upright.
And then I, sick with lack of sleep, hair sticking out, wearing fuzzy socks and a polarfleece vest, must go out into the starry dark, my breath coming in clouds, the snow crunching underfoot, and lure them back into the house or they would stay out there for hours. Sometimes, if Boscoe is feeling shaky, I go back inside and take down the leather dogleash from its closet hook and go back out and kind of coax/drag/pull him up the stairs.
Boscoe and I return to our little love nest on the hall floor (doesn't it look cozy? And I have to admit, despite the aches and pains and sacrifices of sleeping on the floor with a dog instead of in my bed with my husband, I love waking up and seeing the branches of our Norfolk island pine over my head; it makes me feel, briefly, as though I am camping) and by then Riley has long since disappeared back up the stairs, leaped onto the bed and curled in a tight ball next to Doug and is already fast asleep.
Two nights ago, we all came in and I hung up the leash and locked the door and then stumbled over to the love nest and noticed something black on my pillow. Two eyes opened, and it was Riley, waiting for me. Boscoe heaved himself onto the foot of the bed and sprawled the length of the futon. And I crawled over the covers, wedged myself between the sheets, and fell asleep, one dog at my feet, one dog at my head, three on a futon for the short rest of the night.
Ahem! I'm still here! And I thought this post was supposed to be about me for a change!
It is, little dog. That's exactly what it's about: love, and loyalty, and family. And that makes it all about you.