Less than an hour after my hubby left for his job in Palo Alto, I found my Daisy in this position.
It’s her favorite spot in the living room when he’s not home. She looks up at me to ask if I feel it: the extra hole in our family, her pack.
Mark said he found Daisy waiting for me in this position when I was in St. Petersburg. I suppose she’s only happy when we’re both at home and her pack is united again.

As pack members, there are certain things everyone agree to:

  • Humans feed the puppy.
  • Puppy loves humans unconditionally
  • Humans shelter the puppy
  • Puppy protects the pack
  • Humans love puppy
  • Oh right, humans, don’t forget to feed the puppy

Daisy won’t let us forget about meal times. My newsroom schedule this week gave me the pleasure of waking up with my puppy, my baby. She leans her head on my shoulder and I can smell her kibble breath. Sometimes, she shudders and wimpers in her sleep. I lean over to stroke her ears, calming her during her bad dreams.

When we wake-up, I check e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, news and make coffee. She wanders into the kitchen, yawns and shows off her version of yoga’s downward facing dog. As soon as I grab her leash to help her “get dressed” for the day, Daisy snorkles. Mark likes to think of her deep-breathed snorts as her way of laughing. She prances around me and zips over to the foot of the stove, looking up at the place where we store her kibble. From her enthusiastic reaction to the sound of her leash jingle, it seems like this is the happiest day of her life. It happens every morning.

As far as Daisy is concerned, happiness is when her humans pour kibble into her bowl and sets it inside her crate. She’s grateful for this gift and in exchange, she offers her love with cuddles, sweet gazes, nuzzles and yes Mark, snorkles.

Growing up, my dad and brother had this game they would play with our first dog, Bernie. He was the world’s nicest cocker spaniel. Ever. Sometimes, we would joke that Bernie would welcome a burglar into our house. But, he wouldn’t stand for anyone hurting a member of his pack. My dad and brother would fake hit each other’s shoulders. Bernie would bark at them, asking them to cut it out.

I’ve seen other dogs protect their humans from door bell ringing, squirrels scampering, cats lurking, other humans hugging and other canines sniffing around.

Daisy takes her guard dog duties seriously. When I’m falling asleep before sunset for my graveyard shifts, she barks her head off in the backyard to make sure other people and animals keep it quite outside. Delivery people, bible-thumping evangelists, telemarkerters-on-wheels, girl scouts, boy scouts and anyone making noise on our front porch will be greeted by Daisy’s booming voice. She figures it’s better to bark and threaten first, ask questions later.

After the all that noise, she’s ready to play fetch with her dirty Dolly. Once again, it’s the happiest day of her life when she’s chasing her Dolly as it flies across the living room. We reward her joy with our love – more cuddles, nuzzles, belly rubs, ear scratching, and yes Mark, with snorkles of our own.

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