I’m sitting in front of the sink, back against a cabinet, on the floor of my kitchen. Over the top of my computer screen I see Ralph, a nine week old doodle, fast asleep. He yawns, stretches out, sits up, takes two steps, and squats.
“NO!!!” screams my sleep-deprived brain.
I launch myself into action, singing out in what can only be described as a puppy voice.
I scoop him up, with the deftness of a pastry chef, and tilt his hind legs just above horizontal. I don’t want to brag, but when I show up, I bring gravity to the party.
The angle keeps the worms peeking out of the can, the horses nudging out of the barn, the well, you-know, mostly in the dog.
I maintain Ralph’s delicate balance with my only two hands, lift my right foot, point it like a ballet dancer, and pierce the shaft of my Blundstone. My ankle doesn’t break, so I repeat the maneuver with my left foot.
I grab Ralph’s ribbon-like puppy leash between my teeth, not thinking too hard about what I’d seen it graze on one this morning’s trips outside.
With Ralph balanced firmly in one hand, I reach down, twist the door knob, and bust us out into the night. Down the steps we go, past the flowerpots he tries to drink out of, across the frozen landscape of mulch he tries to dig up, and towards the patch of disintegrating litter box pellets (that are working like a charm).
Ralph reaches for solid ground and I tilt his axis to optimal-horizontal. Four paws touch down, hind legs lower like pistons, and we exhale, steam rising in the night.