White Dog buried her head under the pillows. "MUST she be so darn energetic before the sun is even up?" my girl moaned. It starts when Steve's chime and surf alarm goes off indicating time for him to rise and get in study time for school. tap. tap. tap. taptaptaptaptaptap and continues as our Miss Bella goes through her morning ritual of pacing between the office and the bedroom as Steve makes his way to his computer. Then when he settles in, there is her in and out through the dog door to check the weather, then to take care of business, and finally to follow Taiko (Steve's study buddy) as HE greets the day. taptaptaptaptaptaptap...the sound of her nails on our hardwood floor.
The past few mornings our Tiny Dancer has decided to give the new pallet of doggie blankets that Steve set up in the bedroom a try. She nests the fleece into a cozy heap and snuggles in next to the chair...but don't look because that is enough to make her scurry out of the room...only to creep back a few minutes later. I am delighted that our new recruit is being drawn to sleep in the room with the rest of the White Dog Army, even if only briefly. For most of the night she still seems to prefer the security of the doorless crate in the office.
TWD has worked up the courage to comfortably sit an extended arm's length away from me and to take treats from my fingers. Both Steve and Michael are very jealous as she still dashes for cover (though now peeks out) when they get too close. I dare not brag that she has allowed me on several occasions to stretch my hand out to gently cup her face and stroke her ears.
I have the advantage of being home with the White Ones all the time. To them I am a constant and always am there to scratch itchies or kiss noses, or talk to them. Right now I am Bella's anchor which she will rely on less and less as she discovers the wonders and confidence of being in the WDA.
Today after duck jerky time, Little Bella said "thanks" in a way that stole my heart. The rule is two strips of jerky given usually mid day. The WDA lines up and accepts their treats politely, finishing one before asking for a second...Bella has already learned this. But often one or another of the Army will push the envelope by asking for a 3rd piece. "One. Two. You have had yours," I say as I hold up both palms to show my empty hands.
After her second piece, our newest recruit came up and pawed my leg (initiating contact is something she has never done before). I showed her there were no more treats. She sat and listened, then pawed me again. I reached down to stroke her face and she crawled into my arm...she was asking to be held! You have no idea how hard it was to stay calm and nonchalant; I wanted to clasp her to me and smother her with kisses. Instead, I lifted her into my lap and thanked her then sat just stroking her neck and ears without focusing too intently.
She stayed for about two heavenly minutes before jumping down and crawling under the chair.
Her action prompted a tidal wave of white, each pup wanting a few minutes of "mom" time on a cold, rainy wet afternoon. As I held and cuddled and shared my afghan with each of my babies I could not help but whisper a prayer of thanks to the Universe. "How lucky am I?" I asked no one in particular.