“We feel sorry that anyone in the dog community who could live with dogs and not experience a warm, mutual connection.” My Smart Puppy pg 5
The electric fence drastically improved my mental health. Now instead of having Jimmer in the kitchen with me all day, I could just leave him outside. It was like someone had just released a vice that had been squeezing my brain like an orange juicer. Ahhh….there is nothing like a good fence.
Jimmer seemed happier and more content, too (if you don’t count the first couple zaps). Now I could put his food outside the door and he’d come and eat up and then go off and play in the back yard. He’d tackle his toys and dig in the sandbox and splash in the baby pool…and we could see all of his movements from our back windows. It was actually kind of fun. Like owning my own zoo.
Little did I know that Jimmer was just working out a new strategy to terrorize me.
One busy morning as the kids were getting ready for school, I opened the back door and set Jimmer’s food bowl outside. The back door is right by our breakfast nook where we eat most of our meals, and Jimmer usually likes to sit out there, making sad faces while we eat. But today he busily gobbled up his food and left. After I served breakfast to my family I noticed Jimmer was gone, so I went out to retrieve his dish. I was surprised to see bits of kibble scattered around the bottom of the bowl. That’s funny, I thought. Jimmer usually cleans his plate. I wonder why he didn’t eat it all? Then I noticed something odd. The little bits of puppy chow looked as if they were in lines. No, not lines. Letters. I could feel the orange juicer clamp onto my head again. Jimmer had spelled something.
I slowly walked back in the house, examining the contents of the bowl while my family finished their breakfast. I carefully tilted the bowl this way and that, trying make out the letters. There was an I and an A and an M. I AM… I am what? What was Jimmer trying to tell me? I was looking at the next few letters when suddenly one of my kids stood up and knocked into me, bumping the bowl just enough to obliterate the words.
“Ahk!” I exclaimed, looking desperately at the scattered dog food in Jimmer’s dish. “The message! It’s gone!”
Everyone at the table looked at me.
“What message, Chelsea?” Scott said slowly.
“Here! In the bowl! There were letters! Jimmer was trying to tell me something!” I said. Scott’s gaze went back and forth from my face to Jimmer’s bowl. I knew I must have looked crazy, but at that moment I didn’t care. It was vital to me that someone else believe me.
“There was a message…” I said, the pitch of my voice getting higher and more desperate, “in the bowl…”
Scott pushed out his chair and stood up. He took his plate and fork with him and set them in the sink. Then he put his arm around me.
“Are you stressed out?” he said in the kind, quiet voice people use when they are speaking to someone who is about to jump off a bridge.
“I have no future.” I murmured, still staring into the bowl.
“You know what you need?” He said. His voice was confident, self-assured, optimistic. He gently took the bowl from my hands.
“What?” I asked.
“You need to take a nice long walk.”
“And after that you need to take a nice long bath.”
“Yes.” I said, nodding slowly.
“And after that you need to take a nice long nap.”
I nodded. “Yes.” I blinked and looked up at him, slowly coming out of my trance. That was it. He was so right. I just needed to take a break from life. I was just too stressed. I needed to relax. Oh, what a wonderful husband I have!
I started putting away breakfast. Scott rounded up the kids and herded them out the door for school. I was feeling better, but in my mind I could still see the wobbly dog-food letters; brown against the white ceramic dish. I AM… I AM….I AM HIS B…. What was it? I AM HIS BFF. Yes, that was it. That was what it said! Now what did that mean? I am his beef?
The car keys jingled as Scott snagged them from the hook. He came over to give me another hug.
“Thanks for breakfast.” he said. “I love you, Jimmer.”
I looked at him.
“Oh, sorry.” He chuckled, “I meant Chelsea." He swung his coat over his shoulder. "See ya!”
The door closed.
The house was quiet.
But somewhere in the backyard I could hear a dog laughing.
Scott + Jimmer = BFF