Yep, there they are. Balto and Amber. See those big brown eyes? They are the best listeners in the world. Both dogs are bred to be "therapy" dogs, anyway, with Balto being half-King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and half-standard poodle and Amber, a female half-King Charles and half-Bichon. They are officially called Cavipoo and Cavichon, but I call them my best friends.
A few weeks ago when my wife was in the hospital and almost died on New Year's Eve (you can read about her near-death experience here), the dogs were left alone most of the day because Dale was in the hospital and I was at her side all day. The dogs seemed traumatized (like the rest of us) and every morning before I headed up to the hospital I took their soft little faces in my hands and looked them right in the eyes.
"You'll be okay today, Balto. Your mom'll come home soon. And I'll be back tonight, I promise. Everything will be okay and we'll get back to normal before you know it."
The anxiety in their faces was just so hard to take. So I tried each morning to calm them down, taking special care with both. Their usual routine is to lay on Dale's bed all day long - comforting her with their constant presence.
Was I really just calming myself down? It's possible. Self-comforting is a learned skill and I think I've mastered it over all the years and trials we've endured. Then again, I do believe dogs have souls and that they are the best example of how to behave on this planet. You've all seen the doggie emails that go 'round the web - the examples of how they love unconditionally, how they're always happy to see us, no matter what, how they are always at our side, etc. etc. Dogs are the best, aren't they?
Anyway, I find myself talking out loud to them more and more. Especially since my wife is now in a safe, downstairs bedroom (too tiny for two) and I'm upstairs all alone now, at least for a while. Well, I'm not really alone, because the dogs sleep with me and the three cats sleep with Dale. ;o)
So, each evening, I talk to them about which Midsomer Murder we'll watch, or when we're going to bed, or tell them about my dreams in the morning. Yeah. Really.
Am I nuts?
Maybe. I mentioned this to Dale this morning and she laughed. "You always talk to yourself, anyway, honey. And you know what they say about that!"
Uh-huh. You either have money in the bank, or you're nuts. Well, there's not much money in the bank, so...
I guess changing from talking to myself to talking to my dogs makes me seem a little saner? Who knows. ;o)
I'm just glad to have my buddies.