“Who wants to take off their CLOTHES?” husband-head yelled as he walked into the kitchen where I was doing the dinner dishes.
I didn’t answer, but our two big yellow Labs ” Weber and Wyatt ” began furiously wagging their tails.
Husband-head bent down and removed each of their collars.
“There!” he cried to the dogs. “Now doesn’t that feel better with your clothes off? You’re FREE!”
The waggly tails indicated their approval as husband-head launched into a slow-motion dance.
“Born free, as free as the wind blows,” he sang in a falsetto voice as he slowly lifted his arms up and down. “As free as the grass grows, you’re free to follow your heart …”
Weber and Wyatt, sensing this was a Kodak moment, began turning in circles with excitement.
“Now who wants a COOKIE?” husband-head asked as he stopped dancing and clinked open the lid of the treat jar.
The boys stopped twirling and began drooling.
It’s good to be a dog in our house.
Not only do they watch TV on the couch with us ” taking up all the room ” but they also get first dibs on the best spots in the bed, while we position ourselves around them.
“This is not normal,” I told husband-head with my body contorted in an unnatural position. “I think I’m going to sleep on the floor.”
“Good,” husband-head agreed. “That means more room for us. I’ll throw you a pillow.”
Along with taking up the whole bed at night, our canine companions also decide what time everyone will wake up in the morning.
I don’t understand HOW they know exactly what time it is, but they do. At precisely 5 a.m., weekends and holidays included, their little inner alarms clocks go off and they begin the ritual of rousing me from a dead sleep. This is done by inserting wet noses on my neck, in my ears and into my armpits as well as laying big paws on my legs and torso.
“How come I’M the one that always has to get up with them at this hour,” I complained to husband-head as I struggled to push the 100-pound animals off me and sit up.
“Because mama is for food and papa is for fun,” husband-head mumbled and rolled over.
And feeding time is the highlight of the day.
The guys watch my every movement as I get the coffee going and try to wake up, sometimes letting out a “hurry UP” bark if I’m not moving fast enough.
I carefully mix the dry food with the wet food and stir it until it’s just the right consistency, also making sure the wet food is a different flavor every day.
“I think I spend more time and effort making your meals than I do husband-head’s,” I muttered under my breath.
The rest of the day is spent playing the “we-want-to-go-out-now-we-want-to-come-in” game. I am the doorman.
At 4:30 p.m., their little alarms go off once again as they sense it is almost time for “papa” to come home. It is necessary at this time to stand at the back gate and bark at everything that walks by while they wait.
But when papa comes home, the fun begins.
“Who wants to go on the TRAIL?” he asks, as the dogs nearly wriggle out of their skins in anticipation.
He piles them into the truck and off they go.
When they return, husband-head gives me a full report on their behavior.
“They were very good today,” he said, reaching for the cookie jar to reward them. “Nobody got a spanking and everybody did what they were supposed to do.”
I silently wondered if real parents reported to each other each time little Johnny did his “business.”
At dinner, the guys took their usual spots sitting watchfully as we ate, hoping against hope that something would fall to the floor.
As I began to clear the plates, I noticed both dogs were munching away.
“What did you give them?” I asked husband-head accusingly.
Husband-head had a guilty grin on his face.
“It was just a taste,” he said defensively.
Later that evening, I was once again standing at the sink doing the dishes when husband-head came up from behind and put his arms around me.
“Who wants to take off their CLOTHES?” he whispered.
I handed him the dish towel I had draped over my shoulder.
Heidi Rice is the Rifle correspondent for the Post Independent. Her column appears every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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That sideline parent is me, parading to the field with a foldable chair, carrying an iced-coffee, armed with a bag of band-aids and a salty vocabulary ready to slay the referee or opponent that meddles…