Last week I was away for six days, sans dogs, visiting family in the South. Sue Facetimed a few calls with the dogs, but they looked bored or worried, depending on who sat on her lap.
When I got home, the canine influenza outbreak in Chicago had reached WI, and none of my dogs were vaccinated. Virologists did not know if the vaccine would cover this new strain that came from Asia, but were recommending it nonetheless.
Tiny Dog, therefore, is staying home from work for a few weeks, so that the entire pack can get their vaccine series, and so that she can avoid nose to nose contact with dogs at work.
All of this—my travel, her staying home—confuses Tiny Dog. Her schedule is unmoored, and I also feel a little lost, like I forgot something, while at work. Where is that small shadow with clicking toenails on the linoleum? Others at work miss her too. I was severely scolded by one tech for keeping her home.
In trying to leave germs at work since the flu appeared, I now change out of my scrubs before coming home, and remove my shoes at the front door. I wash my hands before I leave to go home like always, but again first thing, before I pet my dogs.
Then I sit on the couch and Tiny Dog mobs me, sitting on my chest, licking and licking my face. If I move, she moves too, gets as close as she can to my mouth, even if she has to sit on my shoulder and come at me from an angle. She’s downright clingy and it’s a tad hard to do anything else but be overtaken by her exuberance. It’s sheer adoration and I need to just suck it up and be loved.