White Dog stretched as the rest of the White Dog Army frenzied at the door. Dad was home! Normally, WD waits for the craziness of seven others pushing and trying to get Steve's attention to end, before she hops up on the sofa next to him and grants a welcome nuzzle.
But when Steve entered the sun porch, he was hobbling. WD was on the ground in an instant, pushing the others aside and sniffing at his driving leg. The WDA backed up a respectful distance and when they realized "Dad" was in pain, cleared a pathway to the chair.
"Is there a story," I asked. "You seem to be limping." "I wish there was some drama to share but I went from sitting in class to standing and I heard something go 'ping' and suddenly my knee was throbbing."
All of the White Ones of every shade, even shy little Storm crowded close to look and sniff. The knee was not swollen nor was it discolored. But clearly it hurt. The WDA formed a line to the bathroom medicine cabinet. "I think it has been decided that you need to take ibuprofen or aspirin or something of the sort for the pain," I interpreted. "Maybe later." The Army's collar tags rattled as they shook their heads in disagreement. "They are right, do it now so it starts to work. And put your knee brace on."
A few minutes later the WDA led Steve to the couch. He had taken medication and was strapped into the brace. Everyone made sure he was comfortable and Candace took over the duties of putting together a fruit salad and cheese plate for dinner.
I looked at him and shook my head as he impatiently kept trying to get up. Taiko finally stood in front of him with his head in Steve's lap and Sachi jumped up to sit wedging him in place. "They are right, stay still!" I told him.
"But walks," he protested. I gazed around the room at the White Ones. "Sorry, my loves but tonight's pre-bed walkies are just going to be trips out to the yard. Dad can stand on the deck if he is up to it, we cannot risk making his knee worse by being out walking around. I know you all understand."
There were no protests. Even Zsofia seemed to comprehend that Steve was not himself. All settled quietly around him in a protective shield and nodded their understanding and agreement.