May 11th, 2010


A new baby or an old dog

I am working from home today, waiting for the air conditioner guy to show up and service the AC unit— which is ironic because the temperature dropped to early spring levels and we have the heat on again today.

I'm also feeling a tad jet lagged in spite of not going anywhere. Our dog Darwin (see icon above) is getting on in years, and he has become a lot like a new baby in that he wakes us up at what seems like the middle of the night. It's actually more like 4:30 a.m., but it feels like the middle of the night. He needs to go out, and if I don't get up and let him out, he leaves me a present right by the back door.

Darwin is a beagle; we don't know if he's all beagle, as he was a rescue dog and the only papers he came with were receipts for vet bills. We're also not entirely sure of his age, but he has to be at least 131/2, or maybe a year older, and I think he is getting doggie Alzheimer's. Beagles are hounds, and they howl more than they bark. I'm told the proper term is belling. Darwin used to howl only when he was unhappy, as when we left him alone. Now he bells like Quasimodo whenever he gets excited, and he gets excited whenever he knows he will be fed.

The problem is, he gets breakfast at 5:30 in the morning when my husband (who gets up at 5:00 a.m.) is fully dressed and ready to go. As soon as my husband starts putting things in his pockets, Darwin puts his nose in the air and lets loose with a triumphant howl of joy, waking me up (for the second time!) a half an hour before I need to get up. Argh!

Right now I'm taking a lunch break. Darwin was lying on the sofa sound asleep until I opened the refrigerator door. Now he is sitting at my feet watching the food move from the plate to my mouth. Maybe he's not a beagle! He's a new breed called a chow hound!

But we love him no matter what. Human DNA is supposed to overlap chimp DNA by 98%, but I think canine DNA is wrapped around humanity in a way that is unique in the natural world.

Now if only I could spend the day asleep on the sofa.

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