Last night as Cash climbed up on the bed, he did something he hasn’t done in a while.
I don’t mean he laid against me– he does that every night, or, for at least part of the night. After he did his little spin around in circles, deciding where to land, he sat against my side and then inched his way down between Michael and I, until he was laying and his head was nuzzled against mine.
At first he lays with his shoulder on my arm and buries his face in my pillow. I wrap my other arm around him, snuggling until he eventually signals (shifting around) that I need to pull my arm out from under him so he can be truly comfortable. Then he takes a deep breath and sighs and falls asleep. I love that so much. He slept by me all night like that. Snoring softly next to my ear.
Cash was never a snuggler. Not much of a licker (kisser) either. That was always his sister Roxie’s job. Roxie would spend five minutes every night licking my face before digging in the blankets, flopping down and snuggling. Cash would just climb up on the bed and lay at my feet. It was the same thing every night.
And then Roxie died.
I’m not sure if it was out of his own grief and feeling of loss or maybe a need for a greater connection– but all of a sudden Cash was snuggling. For the first six weeks after Roxie died, he snuggled every single night.
Then little by little, he did it less often. Or, not for the whole night at least.
I miss it. Every night I hope he’ll snuggle– but now when he does, it’s even more special. It warms my heart and fills me to the brim with contentment.
Just a boy and his dog.
I never really knew Cash before Roxie died. He was always aloof, letting Roxie take all the attention. She never asked for it– she took it. Like Cash does now.
After Roxie was gone, we had a lot of time alone together– Cash and I. He followed me everywhere, never wanting to leave my side. That’s when I started trying to go to the gym or grocery shopping, only early morning, while he and Michael were still sleeping. I couldn’t bear the thought of him being in this house alone.
Whatever room I’m in– Cash is there. He helps me with whatever I’m doing. If I go outside, he wants to go outside. If it’s wet or cold– things he never particularly cared for before; he’d rather be outside with me, than inside by himself.
There’s something about the look in a dogs eyes when you really get to know them. I can tell when he’s happy, sleepy or distressed. He has good days and bad days, as do I; and we seem to be able to comfort each other.
Sometimes Cash will just sit and stare back– talking without words. Other times, he’s laying next to me, head in my lap.
We connected in a way I never expected we would. I couldn’t be more grateful for this time we’ve had to just– be. Co-exist. A boy and his dog.
It took a lot of thought and consideration before we were sure we wanted to try to bring home a furry companion for Cash. We weren’t sure he’d be able to handle the energy of a puppy; and were even less sure he’s be tolerant of a rescue dog’s baggage.
We took the risk with Belle and Dudley– and it’s worked. Cash get his exercise, playing with toys like he hasn’t done in years. He let’s Belle snuggle up against him while he sits as proud protector.
With the puppies, he seems to be pretty content to let them have the bulk of the attention; knowing he’ll have his time.
They have their crates– he gets the bed.
And we always find our moments throughout the day that it’s just he and I. I make sure of it. If for some reason I wait too long, he reminds me.
Maybe because it took so long to get here is what makes our bond so special.
I enjoy it. Love it. Treasure it.
A boy and his dog.