Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An almost silent house...

I've spent the majority of the last four years of my life with three labs and a tripod; a rabbit, two to three cats and an ever-growing flock of chickens. The pets have helped me deal with the process of becoming an empty nester; all that maternal stuff that needs to have an outlet went to the animals and the noise of cackling hens, crowing roosters, purring cats, and panting or snoring or tussling dogs can replace the sounds of multiple teenage voices on the phone, tv's or radios blaring from various rooms in the house.

Funny how you get so used to noise that silence is louder to your ears then the noise is. Today, that silence is pretty loud. No Murphy panting. No Indie playing with Callie. And only the occasional chicken or rooster in the background because we thinned the flock last week (giving all our game hens to a friend leaving only Little Roo and his five reds).

Labs are known to their owners as "Velcro Dogs". They have to be as near to you as possible and in a group of several will push and prod and wiggle to achieve that position. This meant that whatever chair I sat in was not always stationary. Today, instead of my wheeled desk chair slowly being pushed to one side or the other because there are four dogs lying at my feet, jockeying for that place where they are actually touching me, there is only Callie lying there (King is upstairs somewhere). When I gathered eggs this morning and watered my veggies, only two dogs went out the door with me and trailed along behind me. This will take some getting used to.

There is a poem for parents about how they should cherish crayon markings on the wall and fingerprints on refrigerators because those who leave behind such evidence quickly grow up and out of your house. I wonder if there is one for pet owners who suddenly find their world filled with less of all that comes with those pets? Things like dog hair and water spills and frequent requests to go outside and the stampedes that sometimes took place while going out the door........

I pretty much gave up on dog hair free floors over the last four years - I learned to live with evidence that remained behind when one or more of the dogs tanked up on water from one of the dishes strategically placed throughout the downstairs. I learned to let the dogs go out the back door before me to avoid getting trampled. I used to get aggravated sometimes at night when one by one the dogs would come and ask to be let out instead of being able to stick to the outing schedule that they all followed when they were young and healthy. Last night, I kept waiting for Murphy or Indie to ask to go out one last time before bed....instead of aggravation there was sadness.

Today, the fact that I haven't vacuumed for two days isn't as obvious as it would have been three weeks ago. I haven't stepped in three puddles of water before I've had my second cup of coffee. I was able to half heartedly go back to the old rule of "I go out the door before you dogs" when I went to gather eggs.

I'll get used to it. Callie and King will stop moping around and I'll hear the sounds of them playing somewhere in the house. I'll get used to floors that won't have water spills all day long every day - that vacuuming twice a week or maybe even once a week will be sufficient. I'll stop bracing myself for the stampede that was always a part of going outside with the dogs. And also to the fact that my wheeled desk chair stays in front of the keyboard instead of slowly but surely being pushed to the left or the right..........

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