One frigid morning a few years back, I pulled myself out of our warm cocoon bed, grabbed Jim's grey pull-over hoodie sweatshirt, and went to make coffee. From that day on, the hoodie has been mine. I had it, I liked it, it was mine.
In very much the same fashion, Willa has laid claim to Arlo.
Our upstairs consists of Willa's bedroom, attic space, and the room at the top of the stairs that I call our media room. It is the permanent home of our combined CD and book collection. Right now it also holds many bags and totes of clothes that are now too small for our rapidly growing children (sigh). In a month, the piano bench under the window will harbor hopes for Spring in the form of seedlings (grow, grow, grow).
Willa has been lonely up there. "I'm all alone," she states with sad eyes. I know it's a ploy to put off bedtime another 10 minutes, but those eyes... The fish tank was downsized and moved up into her room. "I'm still alone."
Two weeks ago, she started showing more interest in Arlo. I wrote about him a year and a day ago here. He's not my dog anymore, pals. In Baltimore, I would eagerly pat my bed, hoping my new dog would make a good cuddle and reading companion. He would give me a moment of his time, before hopping off and lying on the ground at the foot of my bed.
He sleeps in Willa's bed.
Right this very second, he is lying on the couch with Willa. His head is pressed against her shin and she is rubbing his longer, softer mane through her palms.
She talks to him constantly, and demands that he follows her through the house. When this all started, he was still very much the prematurely grumpy old dog who preferred to get attention on his own time, and spend the rest of his day napping under the kitchen table.
But now he wants to be with her. He's learned that little hands, that - two years ago - used to tug at his ears and poke his eyes, are now able to scratch and rub and pat him. He is recruited to wear tiaras and tutus and in exchange, she offers constant affection. He is her patient sidekick.
Tomorrow Arlo and I celebrate 7 years together. I suspect he'll be otherwise occupied.