Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sheepdog Season

Sophie (left) & Mike on the back porch

Dear George,
Katja and Donna are touring in France, while I elected to stay home and take care of our respective sheepdogs, Mike and Sophie.  It’s definitely more exciting in France, but being home with the dogs has its own perks.  Because of Mike’s infirmities, I’m leery about leaving him home along for too long, so we’re all together at home most of the day.  Mike and Sophie get along fine, though they do their own thing.  We do go on a lot of individualized dog walks — Sophie usually down Ludlow Ave. to Burnet Woods and Mike on a 6-block walk in our immediate neighborhood.  The dogs are good companions — affectionate, attentive, loyal, patient — and I’ve always felt I have a lot to learn about giving and contentment from them.  Here are a few photos with poetic commentary that depict what life is like these days with Mike and Sophie.

We are spending more time on the patio
The dogs and I go there each morn
Mike enjoys rooting in the dirt
While Sophie chews an acorn

Ever since he was six months old
Mike’s had an extraordinary knack
He’s able to hold four legs in the air
While balancing straight on his back

Sophie and I stroll down Ludlow
We stop at the fountain to rest
Sophie likes to watch the people who are out
She’s thirteen but still has her zest

We three are watching the Bengals game
The dogs bark and cheer for the team
Although they don’t watch every single play
They do when the game picks up steam

The dogs did drift off in the second half
The Bengals were clearly ahead
They gave a big bark for Andy Dalton
But then they were ready for bed

You might say the front porch’s a prison
The sheepdogs peek out through the slats 
The world going by holds their interest
They hope that they’ll see pussycats

Here’s Mikey with his rawhide bone
He carries it everywhere 
He’ll never chew on that rawhide bone
He keeps it under my chair

Burnet Woods is the forest primeval
And it’s only four blocks from our house
It’s Sophie’s favorite place to go hiking
She looks for a squirrel or a mouse

The dogs let me know when it’s time to eat
With meals they’re remarkably shrewd
Mike eats faster with Sophie here
He’s afraid she’ll get into his food

The dogs drink plenty of water
Their bowl’s on the kitchen floor 
But they both prefer the upstairs bowl
I never say “No” any more

I rarely leave the dogs home alone
But if I do — such despair
The dogs stand and wait at the kitchen door
Wondering when I will be there

The stairs have become much more daunting
I lift Mikey up step by step
Sophie still makes it on her own
Though she has lost a little pep

The dogs get in bed at nine o’clock
I beg them to leave me a place
But they cover up the entire bed
I’m lucky to find a small space

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