Haley is always there to greet me at the door. She stands at my feet with her mouth lolling open in a doggy smile and her butt wagging rapidly, compensating for her lack of a tail. As soon as I set my backpack, and my lunch bag, and my camera bag, and my “things” bag, and my keys, and my waterbottle, and the mail, and something else down she is attempting to run up my legs. So I kneel and hold my hands out. She grabs onto them frantically and passionately, as if she’s asking for a hug, pets, potty time, a treat, and playtime all at once.
So I go for the potty time because if I got that one wrong it might end up on my carpet. Sometimes she meanders to the grass, stands in it, and looks back at me for permission to come back inside. But most times she will dash full force into the grass then come to an abrupt halt, squatting impossibly low to the ground. She prances back through the door and sits at my feet looking up in anticipation of a treat for her good deed. Instead, I feed her dinner. She prances over, just as happy with this reward, takes one nibble and brings it to the carpet. It is a strange habit really because after that first bite she is happy to eat the rest of her meal at her bowl.
Then we might play. She always begins the battle with an excited pounce over to her lime green and black, rubber ringed toy. For us it is a sturdier version of a rope toy because the usual life span of a standard, big dog rope is about three weeks.
She will run over to me vigorously shaking the toy so its whacking her in the face, as if to tempt me into play time. I grab it and her muscles immediately rear back so that her lean body ripple to life, giving her big dog strength, and her face spreads to an even wider, goofy grin with her mouth clenched around the toy. When the battle gets rough she will let out a playful grumbling.
Then I win.
And play some keep away, leading her in hot pursuit around my torso. When she seems to fizzle out I throw the toy across the room. She retrieves it, faithfully bringing it back, but not always without some taunting of her own.
Sometimes she will accidentally nip my finger in the battle.
She abruptly responds to the word, dropping the toy and sitting on her haunches with her ears pulled back and her eyes apologetically pleading forgiveness.
When the sun settles just above the horizon Haley dozes off on the couch. She curls up in a tight ball like the milipedes do. I will put in a movie and sit down next to her. She wakes just long enough to curl up against me to place her head on my lap. I take her paw and she falls back asleep, content to be holding my hand.
The next morning another day in the life of Haley begins with her catapulting onto the bed for morning kisses and cuddling.