Mornings at Jazz & Spunky’s House

Spunky o-u-t-s-i-d-e

“Good morning!” – Spunky

It happens every day.

“Dad” wakes up first. Very early. When it’s still dark. The dogs know that he’s typically the first one up. They’re usually waiting for him. At the top of the stairs. Because they know that – before he wakes up Mr. Coffee who then helps wake him up – he’ll walk to the top of the stairway that leads to the lower level, which leads to the rec room, which leads to the sliding glass door, which leads to The Great Outdoors.

Once he starts this doggy-Domino effect in motion, the dogs race down the stairs, around the bend, through both rooms and on to the door. Then they stand side by side and wait impatiently for Dad, who – for some reason – isn’t running, too.

Once the doggies are o-u-t-s-i-d-e, Dad brews some coffee and pours the pups some breakfast “cereal.” Meanwhile, in The Great Outdoors, the dogs take in the sheer joy of running around, occasionally stopping to smell the roses … or the petunias, a trash bin or a spot where another dog might have been.

Then they run around some more. Then they’ll leave a little something behind for the household’s designated pooper-scooper (whoever draws the short straw). Then, they run around some more.

Then, they scare away geese, squirrels or the occasional stray cat.

Then, they run around some more.

Then – like clockwork – they come back to the sliding glass door where they wait patiently facing the door because they know that Dad unfailingly remembers to return and open the door to let them back in. (They never leave their post because they apparently think if they don’t … he won’t. Forget, that is.)

He never forgets.

Once back inside, they head to the kitchen because they know that breakfast is served. They head straight for their respective dog dishes. Spunky eats quickly. Jasmine eats slowly. Spunky may or may not be finished with his breakfast before he takes a keen interest in Jasmine’s food. He may even eat hers and his if the Alpha-Parents aren’t paying attention. He will, at the very least, annoy Jasmine. Maybe even elicit a growl and some seriously bared teeth.

This is why their owners sometimes issue a temporary restraining order. They put one pup in solitary confinement (the screened porch) while the other stays in the kitchen until chow time’s up.

Once breakfast is done, they might play some more with Dad or chase each other in circles around the dining table. (They are Shelties, after all, and the herding instinct is strong.) Before long, Dad is ready to make a quiet early-morning departure into the working-dog world. The dogs may just hang out for a while or take a nap. Spunky likes to sleep on the air conditioning vent. Jasmine may jump up on Mom’s bed and take a nap there.

First, she’ll see if the pillow is free. (Jasmine is an opportunist who quickly claims territorial rights to a pillow with the slightest shift of movement from a sleepy and unsuspecting human.) One of Jasmine’s favorite places to sleep on the bed is … on Mom’s feet. Not terribly comfortable for Mom. It may be enough to jostle Mom – just a little – until she goes back to sleep and inexplicably dreams about fur slippers. But it’s a secure enough place to feel safe. Jasmine likely knows that – with these real-life dog slippers on – the odds of Mom sneaking off somewhere without saying “Good Morning!” to the pack and playing awhile – or worse yet abandoning them altogether – are slim.

Comforted by this … and comfortable … Jasmine falls into a sound sleep.

Before sunrise, Mom will wake up or be nudged awake by a restless pup and the other is never far behind.  Once properly greeted and entertained, the dogs will then wait patiently outside for the post-shower shower of attention from Mom and others in the pack. Before long, Mom will be the last one out the door and the last to abandon them. But not before frantic barking and a full-fledged five-alarm canine meltdown.

It involves a lot of begging, barking, whining, jumping up and down, and running around in circles.

Eventually, Jasmine will assume her couch-top window post to watch the garage door descend, the car back out of the driveway and its progress down the street. Resigned to feeling abandoned, Spunky and Jazz will soon resume their play-snack-snoop-chew-drink-rest-play-snack-snoop-chew-drink-rest-repeat routine until all the pack-members return to the den. In the evening, they’ll go for a good long w-a-l-k. They may play a game of fetch or chase a ball.

Once inside, they may run, play, put a few dents in a rawhide bone, rediscover an abandoned squeaky toy, or snatch and chew stray ice cubes from the icemaker. They may chew up the better part of a house plant. (Dinner salad.) They’ll fight over doggie-dinner, beg the humans for leftovers as if it’s their last meal, watch vigilantly for falling scraps of food, and guard the dishwasher for more stray food scraps. They might “sit-up,” “shake” or “roll over” in exchange for a treat. They might chase each other around the table some more. Later, they’ll rejoin the pack to enjoy the rest of the evening together.

And tomorrow – the pups are pretty sure – they’ll do it all over again.


  1. halfpass said

    gotta love these shelties….they have THEIR agenda!!!

    • mikemrc said

      They really do. They’re smart, fun, lots of attitude and all heart! (Yours are just beautiful – love the photo of Sabrina on the garden path.)

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