Horizontal For The Holidays

Dear Goddamned Beagle,

This has not been the easiest week. Massive amounts of work, a difficult funeral and multiple social engagements added a lot of pressure to our schedule, leaving you alone far more than you tolerate well. Then, twenty-four hours before the annual party for sixty here, after saying goodbye to Vic, I was felled by a sudden and…compelling bug. For about twenty hours I couldn’t walk without help, the walls and floors were spinning, and then the World’s Worst Cold came down like an Alberta Clipper to finish me off. That arrived about six hours before the party started.

Thing 2 and She Thing did the setting up that I’d normally do. As you know, it’s not our party, but rather the holiday gathering of a good friend’s construction workers, clients, and friends. It gives them a finished, warm house, plumbing and electricity complete, in which to celebrate, a change from their usual work time together.  The Things invite their own friends, of course, and sundry others stop by.

The party’s a good time, but I wonder about your take on it. Last year, your first year here with me, I was in a hospital bed in my office thanks to my brand new bionic knee. We shuffled through the crowd, aided by a walker and the best pharmaceuticals, you on a harness and leash to keep you off the table and the guests’ plates. We hadn’t really discussed your resource guarding at that point, and you challenged a few slow, drunken guests to their food, and won. A lot of Brazilian friends come to the party. Brazilians bring a lot of roast pork, something you won’t normally find here. Irritated by the constraints of a harness and leash, you’d occasionally bite at the pesky gear before launching, or trying to, into a serving platter of roast meat or desserts. I’m sure it was the Oxycodone that made it seem funny when you grabbed a guest’s plate and scurried it under the walker’s basket to stand over and scarf down. Otherwise, that would have been totally inappropriate.

This year the party started just about twenty-four hours after my release from the ER, where they take one, apparently, when one carelessly loses the ability to stay upright and conscious. Rescued, brought home and put to bed by a couple of our Millennials, I woke up Saturday morning with the kind of cold that keeps the Kleenex stockholders happy.

It was all I could do to lift a glass of water, so you only got a very brief walk with the Things, who did all the setting up. This is not ideal for a beagle about to face a house-full of revelers, but it was the best we could do. As the others set up, cooked and decorated, much to your consternation as you dislike being left out of things, you were imprisoned in our bedroom, helpless against a knob a few inches too high and a door that swings the wrong way, while I slept.

Around 7:00pm we took a break from our day-long nap to go downstairs and say hello to the first few guests, our closets friends in the group, you on a harness and leash, me on Dayquil Extra Strength. We spent about fifteen minutes saying our hellos. Then, with a plate of food and a seltzer water, we headed, you reluctantly, back up to our room. Cheese and crackers on the raised table to the left of me, you snuggled against my hip on the right, I dozed. Some time later I awoke for a drink and a snack. The drink was still there. The snack, not. Yet there you were, still asleep against my hip.

We made one more appearance downstairs for a mug of tea and some rice. Back to bed, a few bites of food, a few sips, and I was out again. Again, I woke to plenty to drink, a sleeping dog beside me, and an empty bowl.

The Things came up during the night, once bringing me a bowl of chili replete with Fritos and cheese, once a mix of meats and cheese and chips, once a plate of assorted desserts. That was all way too rich for me in my fevered state, but I noticed your complaining and scratching at the door subsided substantially during the evening. At first upset by the ongoing hubbub and banging door of people arriving  for hours, you soon shifted your attention from the bedroom door to me. Miserable, shivering and barely able to breath, I remember looking up and feeling a flood of love and gratitude for the comforting friendship of a loyal dog watching over me as I suffered.

Well, watching over something.

Two bowls of chili, a bowl of rice, a plate of desserts, toast, assorted cheese and crackers and some chic pea salad must have seemed like a lot for a person in my condition to polish off.

I’m feeling much better today. You have not left my side since I became ill, and as I sit my unfinished plate of scrambled eggs next to me and lean my head back, as I reach my hand out to my faithful companion, I can’t help noticing a curious look in your eye.

I’m sure it’s concern. Yes, that must be it.

No worries, Beagle. I’ll be fine. I’m just going to take one more little nap.


Your Person

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