IMG_20170318_090714The routine is we get up early for a walk. Normally Bear comes to our room before we are even up. Sometimes I hear him downstairs at Dec’s door asking to get out of his room. One or two quick barks, one more, the click of claws on the wood stairs, the swing of the door after he noses the door open, and then the steam from open-mouth breathing. Good morning to you to.

On this particular morning Bear was a bit more of a voracious breather. After the usual routine I grabbed the poop bags and a handful of kibble for our morning walk to the park. On opening the door this morning, Bear aggressively nudged me from the threshold, squeezing himself past me through the door. How rude. He trotted quick-like to the grass strip in front, proceeding to heavy breath and bobbing his head until puking a giant pile. My moment of relief in realizing that I didn’t have to scoop up bile from the rug just inside the door disappeared as I began scooping the pile of mostly granola bar wrappers into a bag meant for solid number twos.

IMG_20161116_205623998My throat constricted, my eyes watered, and whatever remained in my stomach before my breakfast turned, preparing for evacuation. Quickly I looked away from the pile, held my breath, and completed two quick hard swallows, in hopes that sensory deprivation from the object that brought this automatic bodily response on would also deprive my body from completing the evacuation process. Something beyond the smell, feel, and image of the pile forced this response. I think it was the wrappers that I saw that touched something deeper in me. For some reason identifying so vividly what caused this purge in Bear, knowing that I’d picked that box of granola bars off the shelf just the previous week, doubled down my bodily response.


Declan and Maggie’s “Sibling” picture in the yearbook.

Through vision blurred from watery eyes, on wobbly legs, I caught a glimpse of Bear in the next yard over squatting for a number two. And somehow through my blurred vision, as though hyper focused on the cause, the silver on the inside of the granola bar wrappers gleamed and twinkled at me. Not to disappoint, but I was able to maintain control of my body, barely. I completed the pick up with multiple slamming shut of my eyes and holding my breath.

Limping along the sidewalk after, I couldn’t help but think how much better Bear must feel after getting rid of that load from both ends.

The view of Mt. Hood always helps the day.IMG_20170214_072017502