Chapter 8 "A Long Doggie Day"
Looking out the long window by the front door, Tyler watched Mom pull out of the driveway and go up the hill, just like the school bus. He finished his breakfast and drank some water, then went upstairs and looked around. He sniffed at the clothes on the floor and found a half-eaten granola bar in the shirt pocket. He sniffed around the rest of the house and gobbled up a small piece of popcorn that was wedged between the cushions of the couch. He thought about watching TV, but couldn’t press the buttons on the remote. Trying to read was even more difficult since it was impossible to turn the pages. Even licking his paws didn’t help. Who knew I would miss my thumbs so much?
Tyler found a napping spot near the garden window where the sun warmed the carpet. It was Dundee’s favorite spot and the nap on the carpet was flatter than other places. Hey, this isn’t so bad. I don’t have to make my bed and I won’t have any homework to do. Yippee! He settled his head on his front paws. Then he raised his head. Wait a minute, he thought. Being a dog for a day might be OK, but what if I stay a dog forever? He yawned and stretched his front paws. I’ll think about that after my nap. The warm sunlight brushed away his fears and he fell asleep.
It was a peacock, a big beautiful squawking bird, its feathers displayed and its eyes beady running to attack Tyler. But the dog was ready to pounce, eyes wide and growling. “Brrrinnnggg, Brrrinnngg.”
Huh? What? Tyler lifted his head and opened his eyes. He was back in his spot, still breathing heavily. He lifted up onto his front paws and shook his head. “Brrrinnnggg.” Oh, the phone. Tyler set his head down and brushed his snout with his paws. Just a dream. He rolled over onto his side and drifted off.
A short time later, the doorbell rang. Without thinking, Tyler jumped up and began to bark. He looked out the window. It was the UPS worker leaving a package on the front porch for Mom. Geez. He returned to his spot and and lay on his back, paws up. But he couldn’t sleep. Nothing to see on the ceiling. This is boring. He went into the kitchen and lapped some water from his bowl. It was on the opposite side of the house next to the den. He saw the rug near the fireplace and resumed his nap.
A loud buzz from outside woke Tyler up. At first he thought it was part of a dream, but the sound droned on and on. What the heck is that noise? By now Tyler was irritated. He propped his paws on the window sill and looked between the blinds. It was Tony, the retired next door neighbor, cutting his lawn.
From there Tyler went to check his bowl, in case by magic some doggie snacks might appear. But it was empty. He licked the dry bowl and ambled back to the front window. He looked up and down the street. All was quiet. Great. The canine snuggled up next to the couch away from the window and the sunshine. It was a nice, quiet, dark spot. He curled up into a ball near Mom’s favorite chair. He snoozed with her scent nearby.
“Bam. Bang. Clang.” Tyler bolted upright. The loud noise scared him and he was shivering. He shook his head and went to the window. It was the city garbage truck emptying the bins left near the street. Now, I know why dogs go after the men who pick up garbage. They are the worst for interrupting nap time. Grrrr. Tyler sighed and decided to go upstairs. Hmmm, maybe I should slide under the bed? Why didn’t I think of this before? OK, maybe I’m not such a smart dog. Something made him pause as he struggled to push himself through the narrow space. He heard a familiar sound, a door slam, and footsteps on the back porch.
He knew who it was. She smelled like lilies of the valley. He hopped down the stairs and rubbed his whole body against her leg. “Hello, my darling,” Mom said. She leaned down and took his head between her hands. Her eyes were sparkling and she had a big smile on her face. After a long scratch behind his ears, Mom bent over and kissed his snout. Tyler was so happy to see her. “Did you have a nice doggie day?”
Tyler whined. I hope your day wasn’t as frustrating as mine. “Come on. Let’s go out for a while,” she said while attaching his leash.
Yes, a walk, outside! Tyler could hardly stand still his tail was wagging so hard. After she put on a sweater, they walked down the stairs and started around the block. It had been a long time since he and Mom had gone for a walk together, just the two of them. Mom chatted about what was on her mind, what she might make for dinner, about the upcoming PTA meeting, baseball practice. It really didn’t matter. It was just wonderful to listen to her voice and be near her. Tyler felt very close to his mom. I wonder if she has any idea…
They stopped to let two college kids on bicycles pass. Tyler licked mom’s hand. She leaned over and patted his head. “I do so love you, Dundee. You know, I loved you first, before Tyler was born. You’re my favorite friend in the whole world.”
A neighbor who was outside digging weeds stood up when she saw them coming. The two women started chatting.
Wait a minute. Tyler just stood still for a minute, his head cocked one way, then the other. I thought I was your favorite, not Dundee. I’m your son. Then, he realized, she doesn’t know.
I don’t care. I won’t be second fiddle, not even to Dundee. Feeling jealous, a plan began to form in Tyler’s brain. I may just have to get into some doggie trouble. Then she’ll change her mind about who she loves more!