Loki and I quickly developed a routine in the empty house. We got up around 8, and I would take him out.
It was winter, so I suited-up by putting on a few pair of flannel pants, a jacket, a wool coat, hat, gloves, and galoshes before walking outside. I opened the door, and we’d head to the backyard where I had a chair to sit in while he did his business. He would head over to me and lie down. That was his cue that he was ready to go back inside. Once in the warm house, I would undress as he sat, waiting for his treat.
The early days kept me busy as Loki supervised while I unpacked. The day became structured around Loki’s visits to the back yard, usually every couple of hours.
Before the move, I was adamant with BG that I would NEVER be called a “dog mom” and that I grossed out at the thought of a dog eating off a human plate. He agreed to my terms, saying, “I’ll bet you change your mind!”
BG kept warning me about how much Loki shed and was staunch in figuring out a solution, so that dog hair wasn’t everywhere. I didn’t want to find “treatments” for shedding. So, I did some research. I found a Roomba that had excellent reviews for dealing with dog hair. It wasn’t the newest model, but I hated vacuuming and knew that this could be the answer.
The Roomba arrived a week later. Laughingly, BG and I named her “Christine” after the car in the Stephen King novel.
At first, Loki didn’t know what to think. When I ran it during the day, Loki would bark when I started her, and then move to a zone outside the thresholds we’d installed to stay away from her. However, when BG was home and began Christine, he tells Loki, “Get her boy!”
Of course, Loki wanted to please him and barked and batted his paws at her. After constant encouragement from BG, Loki learned to press the middle button and make her stop. I learned at that moment never to run Christine when BG was around!
One day when I was preparing a meal, I rinsed dishes at the sink. I turned around and thought that a human had gotten into the house and was standing beside me. I then started to laugh! It was Loki.
He was tall enough that he could put his paws on the counter, and he just looked at me—with eyes that said, “I’m here.
Pay attention to me!”
Then I got sick. I had gone to my doctor and gotten my nails done on Wednesday. By Friday, Valentine’s Day, I was blah. I regaled myself to the sofa, only getting up to take Loki out. I had never been so sick in my life! I had gotten the flu shot in October and figured I just had a strain of the flu that my immunization didn’t cover.
During my time on the sofa, Loki took care of me. He scooched up and spooned with me while I lay there in misery. Weeks went by. The few times I’d had the flu, I was able to function after five days, and at most a week.
Then the Coronavirus hit. After speaking with my doctor, it was the most probable diagnosis. It took me six weeks before I even functioned—I also missed my “date night” birthday dinner with BG. But, through it all, Loki was a constant. He took care of me MORE than I was taking care of him.
I’m not sure how I would have made it through that six weeks without him. My heart melted every day.
Slowly, this 70 lb. beast of a dog was winning my heart over. We had conversations daily, and if you know me, you know that I love to talk!
Loki looked at me as if he understood every single word I said. And his actions made me believe that he truly knew what I was saying. Now when BG is home, I still talk to Loki.
Often BG asks, “What did you say?”
I reply, “I’m talking to the dog.”
Loki had become my partner and confidant. Whatever I say to him, stays with him.
Loki LOVES coming into the bathroom with me. BG always shuts the door when he goes in, but I leave it open. Even in our tiny half-bath, Loki finds a way to squeeze in with me and lays his beautiful head on my knees. Every time. It doesn’t matter what time it is; Loki hears me move, and he’s immediately there with me.
A night in March was the worst! My hot flash was intense, and Loki was beside me, holding down my covers that needed to GO!
As I struggled and probably shouted some profanities, BG awoke. I was on FIRE!! And Loki was making it worse by not moving. BG ultimately got him off the bed, and that night, Loki slept on the floor.
The next morning, as sick as I was, I looked up Instacart on my phone. I’d regularly used it for groceries, especially now that I was almost unconscious. PetSmart was on the delivery list. I browsed the site, looked for large dog beds, and chose one. It was a memory-foam rectangular bed with a baffle that went ¾ of the way around at the top. I immediately ordered it. The delivery guy had it on the front porch within an hour. I placed it at the foot of our cramped bedroom and put a blanket inside. That night, Loki was not allowed on the bed. We gave him treats on the dog-bed and praised him for staying there. He’s not been in our bed since.
BG gets up daily between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m., to be at his job by 7:00 a.m. Because the bedroom is so small, he has to step over Loki.
Usually, Loki looks up and acknowledges him, then returns to his slumber until it’s time for me to awake.
When I start to stir in the morning, Loki hears me and puts his front paws and cute face up on the bed to welcome me to the new day. I rub him and tell him how much I love him, do the morning thing, and take him outside.
After I started feeling better, I looked up a list of people-food that were good for dogs. I found eggs, rice, turkey, and chicken on the list. I wanted to give Loki foods beyond the Pedigree-only diet he currently had.
I started scrambling him an egg for breakfast. I put it on a small people-plate (yep, I had gotten over the dog licking a plate phobia), and Loki would scarf it down. During the day, he followed me. Not in a suffocating sense, but I became his person. BG is the one who plays rough with him and asks him about his day. I was the food provider and kept him on a schedule by taking him to the backyard (the fence at the house isn’t next to the house) several times a day.
Then we started “dog dinner.” I mixed his Pedigree with rice, carrots or green beans, and a form of turkey, chicken, ham, or beef. I added a low sodium broth to soften the chunks of dog food and microwaved it for a minute. Loki LOVED it!! Dog dinner is still a daily routine.
Today, I simply cannot imagine my life without Loki. I have t-shirts proudly proclaiming my status as a “Dog Mom.” My views on everything dog related have changed, at least to an extent.
As I write this, Loki is lying at my feet on the dining room floor. He occasionally looks up at me for some loving. During the day, he is my partner in crime.
What was it that got Loki and me together? Was it a series of happy accidents? Destiny?
At any rate, Loki is now part of the fabric of my life. I am so thankful he’s with me (and BG) now.