Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Brotherly Love

I am just about to get in the shower when Pig barks at the door.

I open it and ask him if he needs to go outside. He just sits and looks at me.

I ask him if he wants to come in the bathroom. Sometimes he likes to lay on the floor while we are in the shower, especially if it is cold outside. But he just sits and looks at me.

I ask him if it’s Daisy who wants to go outside. He gets up and walks to the back door.

I follow him and as soon as Daisy sees me, she jumps up , wags her tail, and runs for the door.

When we first brought Pig home, ten years ago, I told Shawn that I do not like dogs that bark. Barking will only be allowed when they need to go outside or if someone is at the door.

Pig has his occasional random barking spell but Daisy took my no barking rule very literally and in her entire 9 years has barked at the door about 4 times.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My dogs do bark. They bark when the dog that lives behind us calls them to the fence. They bark when a dog, mailman, or kid is in our front yard. They even bark at the cats.

But Pig has always had to be the one to bark at the door if either of them wants to go outside.

This has led to Pig using his power to be mean to Daisy.

Back when Daisy was healthy, she would be lying on the couch and Pig would go to the back door and bark. She would figure this was her chance to get let outside, get up, and head to the back door.

When I would open the door, Daisy would go outside and Pig would run to her spot on the couch and lay down. He can be such a jerk!

That trick does not work so well any more. Daisy is much more thoughtful when it comes to getting off the couch. It is such an effort to get comfortable, she is only getting up if she needs to. Or if someone offers her food.

And, my rule is if someone barks at the door and I go open it someone better go outside. This has gotten Pig kicked out in the cold a few times when his little trick has backfired on him.

I have always loved the way Pig cares for Daisy. I have paid even more attention to this since she has been sick. Little things like how he barks for her make me sad for when she is gone and he is alone. They have been brother and sister for 9 years. Neither of them know life without each other.

But they are getting older. Daisy still has more good days than bad. She thrives when it is nice enough to be outside sniffing the air and chasing the cats. Then she crashes on the cold days.

She certainly still has more good days than bad but I can see her aging. And it still breaks my heart to see her struggle with the things that used to be so easy, like climbing the stairs or holding a peanut butter jar. I thought by now, over 6 months since her surgery, I would be used to seeing her with one arm, but I am not.

We don’t know how much longer she will be a part of our family but while she is with us all we can do is give her all the love and the best care possible. And Pig continues to do his part.

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