In quite literally every sense of the term, like clockwork, my alarm went off at 5:15 this morning. It does so every weekday morning.
Bentley, our Cavalier Spaniel who sleeps on my wife’s side of the bed, was waiting for me at our bedroom door with his head cocked ever-slightly to the left. This is body language that I’ve learned roughly translates to, “Top o’ the morning t’ya gov’ner! Blimey, but don’t you look knackered!? I do say, if it’s quite alright, I really do need to ‘water the flowers’, wink wink nod nod.” (in my imagination Bentley is a proper Brit).
However, sometimes he wakes up and just follows me around because he knows eventually I’ll give him a treat. In that case the above translation is often confused for the very similar, “Well corking crackers! If it isn’t time for a proper biscuit!”
This morning it was the former. I knew this because, after taking him outside, Bentley spent all of 30 seconds before finding that special spot somewhere off in the dark. Through the dark and quiet of pre-dawn suburbia I could hear something not unlike the sound of a cow peeing on a flat rock.
He trotted proudly back and sat at my feet. After munching his well-earned treat and offering a quick hello to the neighbor’s Golden Retriever, Camy (also outside taking care of business) we went back inside. Then I was on my way to work.
Flash forward. I obviously wasn’t home but this is apparently how it went:
My wife wakes up to find the dog sitting on her side of the bed; staring at her like some sort of creeper who enjoys watching women sleep. Bentley smacked his lips a few times (generally translating to, “…annnnd I’ll have an English muffin, lightly toasted, with marmalade.”). My bride’s eyes begin to clear and she reaches out to pet him. He nudges his face forward. Suddenly she is face-to-face with the abomination that took the place of our little dog overnight.
Now she sits up with a start; very awake but trying to figure out if she’s still dreaming. “Oh Bentley, what’s happened?!”, she asks.
Bentley cannot answer her… because he’s a dog. Bentley only talks in my imagination and, as we’ve already established, I’m at work unaware of all of this. At this point, Bentley’s just thrilled she’s awake and has taken notice of him.
My wife reached me at my desk and begins our conversation with what some might consider a questionable opener: “Hi, honey. What did the dog’s face look like this morning?”
“Normal”, I say. “Why?”
Last night the dog was perfectly fine – this morning he was physically changed. The only people who’d any connection with the dog between 11PM and 6AM this morning had been questioned. It’s possible that at this point my wife might have felt like she was running out of options. I could not provide a reasonable explanation and neither could the dog.
However, if Bentley could provide an explanation, he might have told her that he had eaten a bee. That this bee stung his lips and gums and that he’d then had an allergic reaction. He’d tell us he tried rubbing his face on the carpeting but that this only intensified the swelling. Eventually, we’d find out that he drank some water and came back to sit near the bed to wait for her to help him.
Of course, since Bentley couldn’t tell us that, we had to pay a vet $54 to translate most of it for us (the rest was pure conjecture based on some basic evidence we found). A quick check-up and anti-histamine pills later and he’s doing just fine.
It’s all part of the joys of owning an animal.