Watchful Eyes

Watchful Eyes


Bella a.k.a. Stinkerbelle

It has been over half a year since I wrote about the loss of Gracie, our eleven-year-old Golden. It's been nearly as long since Bella joined our family.

Logic had said, "Not another dog so soon." Besides, the end of summer was quickly approaching and I would be back teaching. But, the absence of jingling tags and mud-globbed paw prints across the kitchen floor left an eerie void in our home. The house was too clean--words I never thought I'd mutter. It's amazing how a rolling tuft of shed fur, like a tumbleweed on the prairie, takes on a beauty of its own.

Now, Bella's too-large paw prints decorate the flooring. Slaughtered stuffed toys litter the carpet--white fluff "guts" are evidence of a gruesome scene. Plus, I've been reminded by my husband that our budget doesn't contain a line item for expensive "indestructible" dog toys. Even favorite tennis shoes and socks have met their fate. And, due to a healthy appetite, scattered across the lawn are remnants of what only large dogs can gift in generous amounts.

And, if New Year's resolutions contain the intention to get in shape and exercise more, a lively pup is the ticket. Between her sprawled across the floor power naps, energy emanates from her body that can only be calmed with ball-throwing, dog versus human (usually one of my teenage boys) wrestling matches on my bedroom Oriental rug that has become a tournament mat, or the more mutually beneficial dog-walking adventure.

So, I reminisce of days with babies when I could steal away to my office or studio during nap time to accomplish something, if only a little. Now, as the New Year digs in its heels, I find myself finally seated in my favorite chair in the house--in front of my writing desk. Report cards are done and Christmas decorations are put away (well, almost). I hope to make substantial strides with my new manuscripts. Time and energy (lots!) for the continued marketing and promotion for my debut novel, Chasing the Butterfly, have added an additional demand that has taken up permanent residence since the book's October 14th release.

Settling in, I revamp my writing to-do lists, rid last year's reminder sticky notes and purge long-forgotten emails. I'm ready to dive in. Then, the dog door flaps...she appears, a lick follows, and big brown eyes (and I'm positive she smiles), beg for me to play. With a sigh, I relinquish my writing throne to go play, until she eventually tires and perches above my desk, just as Gracie once did.

I know better. Bella won't be still for long, as Gracie did, keeping watch as I wrote for hours on end. However, as little as Bella's puppy-energized body will allow, I find it amazing that she somehow knows to take on the same duty, in the exact same spot, as her predecessor--to keep me company and accountable to do an author's work, if only for awhile. But, I'll take the minutes instead of the hours--because time goes too quickly, and before I know, Bella too, will show signs of gray around those beautiful, watchful eyes.

The "time to play, not write" look