I have become attuned to the patter of little feet in the dark. The sneeze and tiny whine that signals it’s time for bed. I have learnt that he likes to be rocked and hear the sound of me breathing against him. I have learned that to hold him, I must mold myself to his body, to feed him I must make tiny bites and coax him to taste, to walk him I must take the first step onto the lawn. I have learned what it’s like to love another so completely that the thought of any ill health is enough to cause sleepless nights. I have found love in my dear doggo Zuzu.
In five days, our West Highland Terrier turns two. Since each dog year is supposed to be equal to 7 human years, you could call him a teen; he’s certainly petulant enough. If he doesn’t like you, he’ll bark, charge or ignore you depending on how much you matter in the larger scheme of things (read: how much time you are spending near him). If he likes you and is sulking, he’ll give you the third-degree. [It’s terrible being on the receiving end of this, it’s best to apologise quickly and get on his good side.]
He’s a bit of a drama queen too. For attention he’ll feign choking, destroy pillows and - sometimes – look at you funny. As he did upon our return two days ago from holiday.
Zu sleeps on our bed – on our pillows, with the occasional stroll across the mattress. He’s quite possessive about these spots and will often refuse to get up, even for food. Imagine then his plight when we – my husband and I - took off for holiday leaving him with Mother, or as we like to call her the lady with the treats.
The emotional hit was two-way. We begged for photos. He refused to eat. We cooed over international lines; he barked at the door. And so it went for about three days. Late into the night he would wait by the doors – the main frame and our bedroom, scowling. Through the trip we looked for echoes of him in other furry friends, much to the bemusement of their humans.
From the airport, we called once again, to hear him when we got back. “Hello,” I squealed. He looked up and turned away, said mom. I tried again, this time there was no indication of acknowledgement.
As I turned the lock on the door I wondering what was coming – would he recognize me, love me, hate me, bite me? Would he let me hug him? “Hi,” I called out, this time with trepidation. He ran down the stairs, using my knee to bolster him, he reached out to give my hand a quick lick before running wildly around the house.
The gentle patter of little feet have been following me since.
That night he almost jumped onto the bed and onto his favourite pillows. He wrapped himself around me. We sighed. My baby and I were together again.
P.S. He’s my Zuzu. Mine. To you, he's Mr. Zeus.