There is someone I know who has had the time of his life during this Pandemic-driven shutdown of life. His name is Noble. And he is our dog.
Noble has always been one for deep, unblinking stares that burn your eyes. We have given him two nicknames over the 10 years we’ve had him: Mr. Intensity and Personality Plus. Age, despite the old adage, has not mellowed him. Now with both my wife and I home 24/7, he has turned into Mr. Intensi-TY and Personality Plus Plus.
Lately he stares at me so long, he is probably wondering why I am still at home and not at work. He can’t believe his great fortune!
He’s my shadow following me from room to room; even when I move from one part of a room to another, he must get up and be close to me. To an outsider, this may seem loving and adorable, but after a while he becomes a nudge.
When I sit at the dining room table, he lays on my left foot so the rest of his body can rest on the warm area rug not the cold wood floor.
When I sit in a club chair and swivels outside of his sight, Noble moves to find my face. If I cover my face, he makes anxious noises and swerves either to the right or left in order to find the piece of my face that is not covered. I swivel, he swivels. It’s like a one-on-one basketball game: I’m playing offense and he’s playing defense.
Noble has his own schedule. He waits for me to wake up so he can get his first of two feedings.
If on the off chance I sleep in past 6:30 a.m., Noble bangs open the slightly closed bedroom door, going to my side of the bed to poke his wet nose into the my body, usually my face.
When he goes outside, he will either bark to be let back in, or his favorite way of communication, an ear-splitting body SLAM against the screen door.
Once my wife wakes and eats her toast, Noble sits motionless like a Sphinx on the area rug in the living room about 10 feet away from the dining room table. Often he resembles the old RCA Victor dog statue. If my wife blurts out to him with a stern “leave it,” he comically swerves his head away, but the body remains cement-like.
When my wife gets up, that’s the signal for him to stand ready in the laundry room in case a corner of a crust inadvertently falls from my wife’s hand into his open jaws.
Next on the agenda is the morning walk between 10-11. He always looks at my wife to make sure she’s joining us.
His afternoon feeding time used to be 3:00 p.m. Since I’ve been working from home it has receded to 2:30 p.m. due to the elongated stares, and bellowing moans. I refuse to buckle under the pressure to feed him any earlier than 2:20.
Soon thereafter, the last item on Noble’s to-do list is a ride in the car. This is his E-ticket.
In fact, this is when he is at his loudest. The wildest combination bark and howl I have ever heard bursts out of his body in immense exhilaration for what is about to unfold, so much so that he keeps bouncing from backseat to front seat and back again.
Funny how he reserves his loudest barks over the most enjoyable moments of his day: his feeding, his walk and his ride in a car.
Finally, after sundown and three and a half revolutions on his oval-shaped dog pillow, Noble settles in for the night.
What a beautiful day in the neighborhood for Noble.