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It rained yesterday.  Hallelujah!  Praise be to the rain gods.

Even in the normal scheme of things, this is a big deal to us desert dwellers.  When looking at the big picture, New Mexico needs every drop of water we can get.  Based on what I saw in the rain gauge, I’m guessing we probably had just under two inches of rain.   Rain is good.

Yesterday’s rain was one of those rains we call a “good rain.”  A steady fall of moisture, spread out over several hours, allowing the parched soil the ability to soak it all up.  This storm also brought a good-sized dump of snow up in the higher elevations.  It’s always to good have an early snow pack.  Snow is good.

What is not so good is mud.  Yesterday’s rain also brought muddy roads, muddy shoes, muddy pants, and muddy towels.  It brought muddy couches, muddy bed spreads, muddy rugs and muddy towels. But what it really brought was muddy dogs, muddy paws, muddy floors and muddy towels.  Shoes, towels, pants, towels, couches, towels, bed spreads, towels, rugs, towels, dogs, towels, paws, towels, floors and towels being the optimum words.

So, let me set the scene….

Yesterday was Wednesday and Wednesday is cleaning day. The one day of the week my house is actually clean.  Not just picked up or straightened up, but mop n’ glowed clean.  Walk in the door after work and smell Pine Sol clean. Tables are pledged, dressers are dusted, tubs are scrubbed. With a house full of dogs, having a clean abode is a novelty, cuz it doesn’t happen but once a week.  For only a few hours.  Max.  Come Thursday morning, we’re back to status quo.

Our house cleaner, who is my designated house-cleaning goddess, I mean, I worship that girl, is busy doing her magic.  Malcolm is charged with keeping the dogs out of her way while she is whipping the house in shape. As the storm is sending it’s drops of water, she is mopping the brick floors. The dogs, whom had been out in the pen loving the brisk weather, decided to come in from out of the rain.  Smart dogs, but obviously not smart enough. Dolce and Amore came inside wet, muddy, happy.  My wonderful house-cleaner, not so much – happy that is.

wet dog

wet dog

The girls didn’t have sense enough to come inside before the rain started, before they wallowed in the mud and before they were nothing but wet dog.  A wet, muddy dog does not a happy house cleaner make.  My house-cleaning goddess was not happy.  At all.

Dolce and Amore had trooped in ooey, gooey mud from one end of the house to the other as they searched for Malcolm. On the what was once a Pine Sol cleaned floor.  That had been just mopped.  By my now upset house-cleaner.  Muddy paw prints now  dotted the brick floor from the master bedroom to the office in the back of the house.  Muddy paw prints now decorated the cream colored couch.  Muddy paw prints were now everywhere.

I came home to three huge piles of wet, muddy towels. There were towels still spread out on the bricks to absorb the uck and muck brought in by Dolce and Amore. Towels used to clean up after our wet canine heathens. Towels used to wipe muddy paws.  Towels used to fluff dry the dogs.  Towels used to mop up the floors and clean off the couches.  Towels were stacked up in the laundry room waiting their turn in the wash. Towels everywhere.  All dirty.  All wet.

Malcolm is on his fourth load of laundry.  I’m hoping my house-cleaning hero returns next week.

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crouch n’ scrunch

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It doesn’t take much for Dolce and Amore to realize there is a car trip on the agenda.  Just the simple act of putting on socks and shoes will start the dancing chorus of excited barking.  The grabbing of the car keys, the purse in hand, are more visuals for them to be on the alert.  Two steps taken in the direction of the garage door has the girls pawing at the door knob to be the first one out.  Nothing excites the dogs more than the thought of a trip in the car.

A disgruntled Dolce sitting in the backFor Dolce, her excitement starts at the first right out of our driveway. And then the crouch n’ scrunch starts.  What’s that you say?  Oh, let me tell ya….

The crouch n’ scrunch is the side effect of frenzied scouting for the first available opportunity to bark. Loudly.  It’s the first phase of searching for movement on the hike and bike trail that runs along side the road. It begins with Dolce planting herself in the middle of the back between the two front seats.  Then she crouches.  Scrooching down, she scrunches her shoulders and head to have the perfect view out the front window.  Posture be damned, she is on the look out for fellow canines, humans, cyclists, birds, pesky flies, anything, just give her something to objectify. Okay, nothing works just as well.

Because nothing, is just as good if not better, than barking away at the possible threat a dog on a leash might pose as we drive by at warp speed.  A walking human will incite her vocal chords with or without the slightest possibility a dog might be trotting next to them as we pass.  A cyclist in the bike lane will receive a barking to just because.  It is, therefore she will bark.  There is nothing, therefore she will bark some more.

“Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.”
Dave Barry

The crouch n’ scrunch is Dolce’s latest trademark in car-riding alignment.  She compliments the position with a ping-pong head bobble.  Right, left, right, left.  Her eyes darting up and down the trail as she swings her head back and forth.  Wishing.  Hoping.  For anything.

During the summer months, Dolce’s frustration escalates when her vision is impaired by the tall grass and weeds that sprout up along side the trail. Her brown-haired brows pull down in annoyance when she can’t lay her eyes on the short-legged canines.  Those little dogs that fall below the weed line, hidden from sight. You want to really piss Dolce off? Block her view.  Pull down the sun visor or lean too far over the center console where she’s on the look out and you’ll get a quick retaliation, doggy style.  A strong paw and/or snout will inform you to move back to your own territory.  A small yip will instruct you to put up the visor.  Don’t obstruct her vista.

We are fortunate this crouch n’ scrunch is a short-lived phase.  Ten miles later, Dolce has forgotten all about barking at nothing.

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my side

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As creatures of comfort, we all have special rituals and/or habits that brings us small pleasures.  From sneaking a piece of sinful dark chocolate to a cherished cup of coffee, it’s the little things that bring us bliss. Simple joys that give us that drawn out “ahhhhh” moment.  It’s a cold beer after a hot day.  It’s grabbing a warm blanket and settling into your favorite chair in the evening to watch some TV. It’s fresh sheets as you climb into bed, curling up to sleep.

We all know there’s nothing better than nature fresh, clean sheets.  Crisp, cool, clean sheets – how many of us stretch and sigh as we slide between the covers?  Rolling into the perfect position as we lay on our side of the bed and close our eyes. How many of you fluff your pillows and arrange them just so?  Who among us rolls first to the left and then on to their stomach?  Or do you sleep on you back, arms above your head, knee bent?  Are you a left sider or a right sider?

We humans get pretty territorial when it comes to which side of the bed we sleep on.  Some want the side closest to the bathroom.  Some want the right side just because that is what they are used to. And some want next to the side closest to an electrical outlet for their alarm clocks and landline.  In our household, either one of us is lucky enough to have a side.

When you have dogs, dogs who consider the middle, bottom and your down pillow as their side of the bed, we’re lucky to have a corner of the blanket and three square inches of mattress. There are two sides to each bed and Dolce and Amore have ownership of both.  There is no left or right side, only a Dolce or Amore’s side.

the dog sideBoth girls like to climb on the bed for a little night-time loving as I prepare to go to sleep.  Dolce especially loves to curl up against my legs as I absently scratch her ears, her head draped across my thighs.  Amore will troop cover the covers and pillows as she heads to the top of the bed to get her share of rubs.  Ten minutes later they are off to other parts of the house, only to return in the wee hours of the night to take over the bed, staking their claim on the mattress.

There are times when I ask Malcolm to call the dogs so I can have some leg space.  I beg him to give me ten minutes to enjoy the bed to myself before he lets the girls in.

“Let me get settled and then they can hop up,”  I plead.  Without his help, I’d be curled up into a cramped ball, while the dogs sleep diagonally across the bed, paws in the air, taking up all the space.

But still, we let them up on the bed.  It’s a special time for me to give love and comfort to our girls.  My special ritual.  My special pleasure.

The other day on facebook, I ran across a video of James Stewart and Johnny Carson. In it, James Stewart reads a poem about his dog.

And, now you know why Dolce and Amore have their side of the bed.

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