Looking at the stars

Waxing Gibbous Moon from Helsinki, Photo by Kahvilokki, Wikimedia Commons

My dogs won’t sleep in my bed. How I wish they would. Leo will jump up on the bed on his own time, especially if the heatie blanket is turned on, but if I lie down next to him and bug him too much, he gets up and leaves.

A few nights recently, he has hopped up on the bed, and stayed there as I fell asleep. The trick is, I don’t touch him at all. He is not the snuggle puppy I ordered.

The other night, I slept fitfully. Mia wakes us up every night. It’s hard to tell what she wants. Sometimes she quiets after we give her water, or move her from the couch to one of her other beds. Sometimes she just seems to need to know we’re close by. Sometimes she doesn’t stop and she squeaks and squawks for what seems like all night.

It had taken me a long time to fall asleep the first time, but when Mia woke me, it was only two, so I should have been able to get plenty more sleep. But I lay awake worrying about my dogs, and then made the mistake of looking at Twitter (breaking a very sensible rule I set for myself), so then I was lying awake worrying about America, and feeling angry at people who don’t get angry at the same things I get angry about.

I heard Leo on the other side of the closed bedroom door. He does this thing where he scratches the door just once to get me to either let him in the room or out into the backyard. I had just started listening to a guided meditation and felt my body relaxing. It was working. I waited for his scratch. Instead I heard him sit down and felt him settle against the door. It was enormously comforting. If I couldn’t snuggle against his big wolfy body, at least I knew his big wolfy body was out there bracing between me and the world.

My guided meditation was asking me to imagine a white light. I was just about to drift off now. It was happening. I heard movement outside my door. Still no scratch, but I knew if I opened the door I would find him standing there looking at me. I did, and indeed he was.

I walked to the sliding glass door and let him out to do his middle-of-the-night business. But then he didn’t want to come in. Sometimes if you reach to grab him, he’ll do a crazy play bow, then race up the hill into the yard. He didn’t do that this time. He just calmly turned and walked back up the hill.

I stepped barefoot onto the cold concrete outside and looked up. The stars were brilliant in a clear black sky.

I stood there, appreciating the moment, thanking Leo for showing me the stars. Nothing is guaranteed and there’s so much to be anxious about. But right now Leo, and Mia, and Rob are safe in our home, and for that I am very very lucky. Little else matters.

I stepped back inside and shook a bag of treats quietly, because I didn’t want to wake Mia.

Leo walked almost to the door, but wouldn’t come in. I reached for him, and again he calmly turned and walked up the hill.

“Fine.” I slipped my feet into my Salmon Sisters rubber deck boots and followed him up the hill. When I turned, I saw a glowing moon above our house. The white light from my guided meditation was real.

Leo stood beside me. “Thank you for showing me the moon.” He let me hug him, pressing my forehead against his to kiss his nose. He walked back inside with me, followed me into the bedroom and lay down on his bed on the floor beside mine.

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

4 thoughts on “Looking at the stars

  1. I also had gsd dogs that would not be able to settle down at night as they got older. I was always so tired. Now I would give anything to be tired again just to be able to hear them in the night (they passed in 2017). It sounds like you appreciate all the moments you have with your dogs. Hugs.

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