In preparations for the second release of my suspense novel Dead Witness, I've spent a lot of time at the computer this month, and away from my friends. There's no end to the things I have to do to promote my book. My friends and I managed an impromptu tea one afternoon, but I haven't seen as much of them as I'd like. Writing is a solitary act, there's no doubt about it. Maybe that's why I've become so attached to our dog, Bandit. He's my constant companion these days.
Bandit would much rather be running through the bush and down the road, stopping long enough to sniff out friends, or leave his special "Hi. I was here." When he goes up to Tchentlo Lodge on the Nation Lakes, there are two foxes he plays with. Though they continually try to coax him into the forest. He knows.
Bandit's a dog. He enjoys living outdoors more than indoors. Generally.
All summer long, we had to bribe Bandit in at night. We can't chance a bobcat or bear going after him. That was this summer. The last few weeks, though, apart from his walk/run with his dad in the morning, he stays outside only long enough to relieve himself. Then it's back indoors.
The first few days I thought maybe he wasn't feeling well. But it's not that cold out. He's eating. Drinking normally. There's nothing that exciting on TV. Bandit has a special spot on the end of the chesterfield where he curls up and watches HGTV during the day. At night he likes football or hockey. He loves Dog Whisperer.
One day, I asked him what was wrong, why did he suddenly want to stay indoors. His reply was simple. He nudged his cold nose under my hand and looked up at me with those sad icy blue eyes. He wanted pats?
After a few rubdowns, he laid down on the floor beside me and closed his eyes. It was only when I got up to find a particular reference book that he followed me. I sat down. He laid down. A little while later, I threw a load of laundry in the dryer. I turned and almost tripped over him. Once I was back at the computer, I looked over and he was curled up on the couch. Maybe he was feeling insecure? Do dogs even feel that?
This has been going on for weeks. Bandit runs in the morning. He plays with his bone on the floor beside my desk. He lies on the couch. Or he stretches out on the throw rug in the middle of the floor. But when he goes outside, it's only to pee, do some quick sniffs, then he scratches to get back in the house. Unless I go out with him.
Gads, have I turned my pooch into an old man before his time? Maybe I should hire one of the neighbourhood kids to take Bandit for a run after school? I would except there aren't any kids big enough. Bandit doesn't walk, he pulls. Great sled dog.
As I type this he's stretched out under the dining room table a few feet away. Maybe I'll have to settle for my best friend simply wanting to spend time with me.