I knew I didn’t have much time left when I spotted it on her sparkling clean desk. A pen was lying on top of it. I’d seen her use it many times crossing off things she thought she needed to do.
As soon as she left, I’d inspected the place. I had to search more than usual after all those hours she spent cleaning, but there were still a few things I could chew.
There were some shoes, one of which smelled pretty good and a tennis ball that I had hidden under the sofa months earlier.
It had to be something different this time. Something that would definitely make her stop and think.
She had worked and worked and worked. I had waited and waited and waited!
I put my front legs on the chair and swept the list off the table with my muzzle. Perfect!
I thought for a second, maybe two, was it going to be a good chew? How would I know if I didn’t try?
More importantly than a good chew, I had to save my human mistress from a time warp of never-ending indoor chores!
I would have to choose my chew wisely. I can get away with just about anything. She loves me a whole bunch!
As far as things to chew, it was rather tasteless and boring, but that didn’t stop me.
I chewed the paper into as many pieces as possible. I spit out the remains, which created a tidy, but easily visible thick pile on the floor.
I didn’t have time to jump up in my chair when I heard the car pulling into the driveway. I lied down, pretending to be asleep.
She opened the door carrying as many groceries as she could. She was always doing more than she should. She put the bags on the counter and shut the door.
“Hi Free! I’m finally home,” she said.
I didn’t move. I waited.
“What are you doing lying there like that?” she asked. She put away the groceries. Normally, I would have greeted her at the door.
She walked over to check on me. She looked around to see if I had damaged anything. I’ve had to in the past to get her attention, but not in a long time and only as a last resort.
Finally, she spotted my work. She picked up a few pieces of the paper. What had been words were now little blotches of ink.
She looked perplexed. She glanced at her tidy little desk and then back to the floor. Leaning over, she inspected the small pieces of paper again.
She’s a little slow, but she soon realized that it was true.
Of all the things to chew, it was her list if things to do!
I saw a glitter in her eyes. She gave me a great hug and started laughing.
Right away she grabbed my collar and even though I’m Free, she put me on a leash.
She says this protects me from the Momma bear who recently became our neighbor. I’m not afraid of bears like she is, but I admit my powerlessness over my highly sensitive olfaction, as well as my penchant for stealing neighbor-dog toys.
“You’re a funny dog Free,” she said as we set out for our walk to the grassy meadow where I graze and she relaxes on the wide flat rock with a view of the sunset. “I sure do love you,” she tells me in a way that makes me know I did the right thing.
I am Free. I’m teaching my human mistress to be a little more like me.
In Memory of Free. “A happy dog” she was always called.
She Lived and Loved from 1993—2006, Forever in my heart and memories.
Taken from my journal, Lessons from Free, May 8, 2006.
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