Barley and Soth would probably say that our most special moments are the ones that involve food. You know, the moments like busy mornings when I'm rushing to throw together a turkey sandwich for lunch, but still find time to give them a nibble of lunch meat. Or, the moments when I turn my back and Barley nibbles the banana bread I had cooling on the stove top.
|At least I got to have the end piece before Barley got to it.|
|They both love to sit by their dishes and lick their lips.|
- Snuggling on snowy days. There's nothing like curling up with my darlings, a book, and a mug of hot chocolate. In my personal favorite holiday movie, I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown, one of the characters says, "Happiness is a warm puppy." Add "and kitty" to the end of that and you've got my perfect recipe for a winter day.
Soth thinks snuggling is a close second to food-related moments. Barley likes to snuggle, too, but it doesn't make the top of her list.
- Unplanned breaks from grading papers/planning for classes. Both of my pets are great at getting me to take breaks from hours of prepping for classes. Soth's preferred method is to plop down on top of whatever papers I need to work. If I don't want to wrinkle my student's essays, I can't pull them out from underneath him, so I'm forced to spend time giving him some love. Barley has a similar method. She'll come and put her chin on whatever work I have in my lap, then sit beside the couch and lean against my leg, so I have no choice but to give her some love, too. If she's more interested in playing than loving, she'll start tormenting her brother so I have to get up and redirect her attention with a squeaky toy or some agility practice.
These papers look great, but I'm a lot more fun. Emily Dickinson is really complicated. Hanging out with me is not.
- Just being together. It took a long time to get my pets to be comfortable being together. For months, if Soth was sleeping on the love seat and Barley hopped up, Soth would get up and leave. Barley wasn't allowed on the bed for her first six months in the family because I wanted Soth to have a place that was his (he still only has to share the couch with me). Now, Barley and Soth willingly, voluntarily spend time together. When Barley and I do mat work, she saves room on her mat for Soth. When I am too swamped with work to take a break, they curl up in the spare room or on the love seat together. I wasn't sure they'd ever learn to like each other, but slowly the embraced each other. On the few occasions one or the other has had to spend extended time at the vet, whichever pet is home alone is ready and waiting to greet the other one with lots of sniffing and rubs at the end of the day.
Kisses! Soth used to refuse to share the love seat at all; now he prefers to be touching his sister. It still counts as being on my mat if I give Soth some room, right? More kisses!
So my recipe for moments is simple. There are three ingredients: one crazy pup, one cranky cat, and me. Toss them into a two-bedroom duplex, add a little snow if desired (and at this point, I'd say we've had enough snow for a while--adding a little sunshine might be a better choice), and watch what happens. As long as we're together, the moments are special--even if we don't remember each individual moment, any chance we have for warm toes on snowy nights or an extra scritch behind the ears is a perfect moment.