Ruby starts a nervous rhythmic licking in her bed, which is right next to the couch where I read. Lick lick lick lick lick, her tongue shoots out like a snake. Air licks. Very loud. She’s a mostly deaf twelve-year-old Golden Retriever and she can’t help starting these tics. But she can stop. I just have to catch her eye.
It’s early and she’s nowhere near ready to get up. She usually stays in bed until the tens, and then when I’m cooking and the Bearded One is reading the newspaper, she peeks out from her bed under the stairs and rises. It’s the same most every day — a ritual. Front paws extended, she stretches, then the back legs. Then she shakes. “It’s Miss Ruby!” sings out the Bearded One.
But that’s still hours away. Now she’s in a sleepy trance that I hope I can break without getting up, dang it. …
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