Old dogs like Merlin provide great company, even while snoring. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Old dogs like Merlin provide great company, even while snoring. (Jennifer Bardsley)

This old dog of mine: A tribute to my fluffy couch potato

Sleeping has become this poodle’s full-time job. He’ll take five naps a day, in between turns around the yard.

You sleep next to me on the couch, snoring loudly enough to be heard in the next room, a tiny ball of fluff against the leather. I’d curl up next to you and take a nap, too, if I didn’t have so much work to do.

Later this evening, we’ll walk halfway around the block. But only if it stops raining. You don’t like the cold, even when I bundle you up in your raincoat and sweater.

Your eyes, which used to be brown like mine, are clouded with cataracts. You’d be horrible at night driving, so it’s a good thing you never had your driver’s license. Perhaps the cataracts are why you only see one out of every 10 squirrels that race by the window. That could be why you ignore them all and then bark like a maniac when the 10th squirrel rushes past.

But right now the squirrels are free to terrorize the neighborhood unchecked because you, sweet pup, are napping.

Sleeping has become your full-time job. You wake up around 10 a.m., once the kids have already left for school. After lapping up water, you take a turn around the yard and return to see if there’s anything in your bowl besides kibble. Your appetite was always picky, but now it’s notorious. I splurge on wet dog food to tempt it with juicy morsels.

Pretty soon, it’s time for your first nap, and then your second, third, fourth and fifth. Your slumbering presence keeps my husband company while he attends one Zoom meeting after another. Then, in the late afternoon, it’s my turn to be comforted. You hop up on the couch while I type away furiously, shooting for my word count.

The big event of your week is Saturday night when my daughter bathes you. She adjusts the bathtub faucet so it pours the perfect temperature — not too hot, and not too cold, but just right for arthritic poodles. She suds up your curls with sensitive shampoo, and keeps the soap out of your eyes.

After she towels you off, you tear through the house with the energy of a thousand puppies. But only for a minute. Exhausted, you hop up into the recliner and leave a wet spot on the fabric.

Sometimes, I think back to the day six years ago when we got you from the rescue. They told us you were two years old, but the vet said you were five, no, make that possibly 10, given the condition of your aching teeth. Now we don’t know how old you are or how many years we have left.

Sleep well, good friend, I’m grateful to hear you snoring. This spot on the couch is so much cozier with you dozing next to me.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

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