Working at home, but never alone

my two dogs, one curled up on the love seat and the other stretched out on an arm

I work at home. But I don’t work alone.

Above is the mellow Lab assistant, Maggie, curled up on the loveseat in about the smallest circle her 85ish pounds can make. Above her is our high-spirited puppy, Abbey, whose parents are a black Lab and a fox-colored golden retriever. (Apparently the whole “fox” thing is controversial in the dog world. We don’t care.)

The occasion for the moment? Watching the mail carrier from his truck a block-plus away, walking the opposite side of the street, past us, down a block and a half, then crossing the street and getting EVER CLOSER, until he’s finally AT OUR HOUSE. MOM! He’s AT OUR HOUSE!

Never mind that the same thing happens six days a week. It remains of great fascination. And while Matt The Mailman likes dogs, he does not like being jumped on, and the dumb white one does precisely that, so she has to stay inside. Plus it’s about 10 degrees right now just off the Saginaw Bay, so it’s not like she can spend very long outdoors anyway, certainly not long enough to watch his whole loop.

Maggie is no less excited about the mail, and when she is outside she wags her whole hind end, sometimes barking deeply in appreciation. Matt has learned that despite how frightening she looks to some people, the only danger is in being licked to death.

At 7 1/2, she is becoming selective about how she spends her energy. When she became the only animal in the house a few months ago, we thought a puppy might perk her up, both emotionally and physically. She did indeed lose weight, and although she never has had a litter of her own, her mothering instincts proved solid.

puppy chewing on older dog's leg while getting face licked clean

Here’s something else that happens pretty much every day.

Abbey has entropion, which means her eyelids turn in and the lashes irritate her eyes, causing a steady tearlike drainage. (It’s better some days than others, but if she doesn’t grow out of it in the next few months she’ll have surgery.)

Being an 8-month-old puppy, she also gnaws a lot. So Abbey chews on Maggie’s front leg while Maggie licks Abbey’s eyes and face clean.

Other notes from the photos: Yes, that is a kennel under a table covered by a cloth. Maggie has not been crated for years, but Abbey is still prone to adopt and chew on inappropriate objects, so she is kenneled while we sleep.

And the Eggo box in the top photo? Abbey was given that. I keep a stash, especially handy when some uninterrupted project time is needed. Because boxes are the BEST. THING. EVER. (Mom, are you done with that?)

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