“I have my rooh-tine,” Malcolm tells me as I ask him about his day. He’s a southern boy and some words he drag-asses out. Just as he likes to drag out the morning. Me? I’m usually up and out first thing so I mostly miss the his ‘morning rooh-tine’.
“Fur-rst,” Malcolm informs me, “I mosey on out to the kitchen while the dawgs are clamoring for attention. Their tails are furiously whaagging, but they keep their distance until I’m able to pour some coffee and nud-ke it in the mic, warming it up. Once they hear the beep of the microwave starting its radiation, they know I have 1 1/2 minutes to give them their morning L.O.O.O.V.E. and they zero in for the kell.”
“Ahhhh,” I coo. The girls are so cute trying to edge out the other when it comes to getting attention. The competition between them can be fierce. Two hands, two dogs. Each hand goes out to pet the girls. But Amore is only interested in keeping the other hand off of Dolce. And Dolce is only concerned with pushing Amore further away than an arms stretch. The most you can hope for is for Dolce to stay on the right and Amore keeps to the left.
“Yeah, it’s phunny how Dolce and Amore know when it’s their time,” He continues. Okay, now, I’m making fun of Malc’s southern drawl, which I love by the way.
“And then what?” I question.
“Well, then it’s S & M time,” he grins proudly. S & M time? Is there something I need to know? Something he hasn’t told me yet. Thirteen years of marriage and the things you learn about your spouse. I wait him out.
“Yeeep!” Malcolm chuckles. Sofa and Malcolm time. That’s when they know I’ll let them up on the couch, while I’m reading the paper. Dolce waits along side of me while I position the pillows and get sit-u-ated.” Again, Malcolm draws out his words and his story. Once I’m prone with a blanket and my coffee, Dolce leaps over my legs to the back of the couch and settles in for a nap. Amore takes the spare space by my feet.”
Malcolm loves his dogs and loves having them next to him. The coffee tastes sweeter when the dogs are up close. The paper reads better when surrounded by Amore and Dolce. The sofa softer. And his day perfect, when all the elements of his ‘rooh-tine’ come together.
“Once the NY TImes is read, we all take a lit’ nap,” he finishes.
“A nap? You just got up!”
“Yeah, but its rooh-tine!”
Fast forward to a few days ago, when a special uncle of Amore and Dolce’s sent an email to Malcolm and I. Uncle Dan is from D.C. and is especially fond of the girls. He understands how our world revolves around the dogs and he most definitely understands Malcolm and his ‘rooh-tines’. The email included a short poem his brother-in-law had written. It is spot on.
Until I had a dog
I never knew how sweet a routine could be.
I hear her stir, subtly, and I think she hears me.
She eagerly waits for my door to open in the morning.
We both stretch when I emerge and her tail gently wags as I rub her head.
She paces while I fix my coffee, passing in
front of me as I discard yesterday’s filter.
She walks up and down the hall, and circles the island.
I can hear paws on the hardwoods.
When I spin the metal lid onto the glass coffee canister
she comes back like a cat to a can opener.
She knows I have a piece of a banana for her before she goes outside.
I change her water and fill a bowl with a scoop of food,
leaving it on the washstand.
If I take too long she occasionally paws at the door.
When I let her in she goes directly to the washstand and
rears up like a stallion until I put it down.
Her tail wags wildly as she digs in, then slows to a stop as she
gets serious about eating, like she hasn’t been fed for days.
I take my coffee to the living room, plug my phone in to charge,
and grab a meditation book from the coffee table.
She patiently waits by my spot on the couch.
Then the sweetest part of every day happens.
As I sit to read she lays her adorable face on my leg.
I rub her head as I read and when I look at her she is watching me.
These are moments I can never take for granted.
Every day it is as sweet as the day before.
I never knew how sweet a routine could be
Until I had a dog.
Written by Joe Thomas