The past two weeks have been inhumanly difficult. Not a dog’s life. Impossible, really. And Izzy has known it. Every night, he crawls up on my lap and lays his head on my hand. If I try to work at night, he insists of being beside me, paw pulling my hand away from my laptop. He stares at me with his dark, round eyes as if begging me to pay attention to him. He knows that I don’t normally stay in anxiety mode when I get home. I know yoga. I know how to breathe. I know how to relax. But this past two weeks have required working non-stop and anxiety is my middle name.
It’s the perfect time for a stay-cation.
And Izzy knows that, too.
This morning, he crawled up on my lap while I was still in bed (doing my checkbook — yup, I know. Enough with the nonstop work.) and insisted I pay attention to him. You’ve been in another place for weeks, his gaze seemed to say. You owe me.
Last night, his eyes drooped as I stayed up until 1 AM reading. This morning, he pulled me determinedly as we walked up Main Street, and he understood when we had to make a u-turn because I heard the old guy’s cane tapping as he walked his pittie mix a block ahead of us. I didn’t want to deal with the dog’s growling and barking and pulling at the leash to get at Izzy. I think Izzy understands when we have to make detours. He knows who his friends are and who aren’t. The black pug and the girlie boxer and the raggedy Shihtzu and the little Maltese are his friends. He understands their names when I speak them, and he loves being able to say hello to them when we’re on walks, but he doesn’t mind at all when we don’t say hello to the pittie mix that hates us. Izzy’s smart that way. He realizes that not everyone has to be your friend. I need to learn that lesson.
This morning, Izzy kept close until I finished eating a late breakfast and took out the laptop again. Then he looked at me, gave a little nod and moved into the other room to wait for the mail delivery. This is our weekend routine, even though it’s not the weekend. He knows our weekend pattern: breakfast in bed, catching up on TV, some reading, then I go out for a while: visit my grandson, see friends, come back every four hours or so to check up on Izzy, more relaxed, not stressed like during the week.
By the end of this little stay-cation we’re about to start, I will have let loose of the anxiety. I will write and read. I will see friends and family. Izzy and I will have walked long walks at least twice a day. He will have visited the groomer and will have shed at least five pounds of fur. He will have cuddled with me on the couch for hours. He will have greeted some of my friends who will visit. He will have taught me the meaning of vacationing. He will have simply enjoyed being with me. Living.