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These days Luci is my alarm clock. She wakes me up exactly at 5 a.m. Time to wake up, she whines in my ear, and licks me for good measure. When she sees I have opened my eyes, she walks out of the bedroom, flops down just outside the door and promptly starts snoring. I have done my duty. Now it is up to you whether you want to get up or not.

If I turn over and go back to sleep, she wouldn’t disturb me. But if I do get up, she perks up. Attagirl. There you are! I open the door for her to go out, but she will not go. Instead, she follows me and parks her butt outside the bathroom door to wait for me. What if mom flushed herself down the drain? A dog’s gotta be vigilant of stuff like that happening. Her pee and poo could wait.

The only thing that makes her abandon her post outside the bathroom and go rushing down is hearing her dad getting ready to water the plants. I’m coming, I’m coming, dad. Don’t start without me. Open the door, let me out! Open the door, open the door. OPEN THE DOOR!!!! Meanwhile what about mom? Oh she can take care of herself. She’s a big girl and knows not to disappear down the drain. I have to keep an eye on dad. What if someone or something got to him out in the garden?

Today was meet-the-doctor-for-routine-check-up day. So the plants had to be left to fend for themselves till evening. When I started changing into my going-out clothes, Luci was disappointed. Dad goes out most mornings. But you? Do you have to go too? Her chew-stick was left untouched while she did her eyebrow-wiggle-thing, following my every move while I gathered the papers and stuffed them in my handbag. I know what you are up to. You are going to leave me and go away for a long, long time, like a week, a month, or a year, or *gulp* a century even!

I don’t know whether she knows it, but I hate to leave her and go out (and yet I do a lot of that!) even for a short while. I kept her food, water and toys handy and waved her a cheerful goodbye.

When I returned a couple of hours later, everything was exactly how I had left them. Untouched. I doubt she even drank water, the crazy dog. But when she saw me, Luci quickly pounced on the chewstick and did her I-am-so-happy-you-are-back dance. Wiggly butt and all. I knew you’d be back, I knew you’d be back! Having conveyed that with head-butts and tail wags, and wet slobbering kisses, she quickly got down to chewing the hell out of the chewstick. All was well in Luci’s world.

Β© Shail Mohan 2020