Last night, I stayed up watching dog videos. In one, a Border collie swam out to the middle of a lake and rescued a drowning fawn. In another, a German shepherd detected a bomb inside an airport. In another, a Great Dane pulled his owner from a burning building.
My dog isn’t heroic.
She’s just a normal dog, an Irish terrier named Mabel.
Light peeks out from under the blinds. It’s morning. Maybe it’s early afternoon. I shift onto my side and pull my blanket over my head. I bring my knees to my chest. Mabel sniffs my perimeter. I lift the blanket, and she steps inside. She spins in a circle before plopping down next to me. I whine. Mabel whines in solidarity.
Minutes or hours pass. Mable crawls toward the edge of the bed. The blanket folds around her quadrupedal body until only her nose and eyes stick out, and she resembles a nun. She shoves her face into my face. She licks my cheeks. She’s unrelenting.
With the blanket draped over my shoulders, I shuffle to the kitchen. I fill her food and water bowls. Then I go lie on the couch.
Crunch, crunch. Lap, lap.
Mabel skips into the living room. She bites her leash and drags it off the coffee table. She drops the six-foot rope on a cushion. She nuzzles it toward me.
“No, not now.”
I turn so I’m facing the back of the couch. Mabel barks. She barks again.
I get dressed. I slip on my sneakers. I hook the leash to Mabel’s collar. I open the front door. The sunlight’s harsh. I shield my eyes, waiting for my pupils to adjust. Mabel tugs me forward, and I take my next steps of the day.
Will Musgrove is a writer and journalist from Northwest Iowa. He received an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ghost Parachute, Inklette, Flora Fiction, 5×5 Literary Magazine, Rabid Oak, Tuna Fish Journal, The Daily Drunk, Barstow & Grand, Flash Frontier, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter at @Will_Musgrove.