Tin Ear

My husband was away last night and despite my best intentions of getting into bed, adopting a star position and snoring loudly until 6 am, it was not to be.

Lucy hates it when he is away and comes to bed reluctantly, an ear permanently cocked to hear a hand on the front door. At some point, she will always hear something, mistake it for the sound of an approaching dad and race off to wait for him to appear while keeping vigil at the front window. Sometimes this will also set Archie off, but to be honest, it takes more than a hint to move Archie. He loves his bed and often takes himself off there before we do. While Lucy snuggles up on the bed, he is happy on his mat on the floor, but sometimes makes his way up during the night.

With Lucy lying about as relaxed as a coiled spring on the bed, I had trouble nodding off. Eventually, I turned on the light and typed out a post that I had meant to do during the day until time got away from me. It was just gone midnight when I hit ‘post’, turned out the light and fell asleep almost immediately.

Just under six hours later, my alarm went off and decided that I needed a cup of tea before I could face the day. Lucy was nowhere to be seen, Archie was at the foot of the bed, snoring softly.

I got up and went into the kitchen passing Lucy on the living room couch on the way. As I did so, she looked up as if guilty for leaving me to station herself in between the owner she had and the one she was hoping would come home, her tail beating nervously on the couch as she did so. I gave her a tickle behind the ears and went into the kitchen.

I put the kettle on and decided to make my omlette while I was making my tea, so started to collect the ingredients as the kettle boiled. Just as I added water to the pot and was about to begin frying eggs, I heard a sound from the bedroom. It was my alarm going off again – I must have hit snooze instead of stop.

I walked back in and in spite of the din, Archie was still lying motionless, refusing to have his lie-in interrupted. I walked past him, turned the racket coming out of my phone off and when back to the kitchen. Archie did not so much as twitch.

It did not take much time to cook the omlette and I decided to treat myself to ten minutes in bed with my mug of tea. As I went to go back, I saw the biscuit tin and thought I might take in a treat for the dogs. Slowly, carefully and I thought silently, I lifted the lid off the tin to get a couple of the biscuits inside.

There was a sound of paws hitting the floor, followed by a rattle of tags as a dog shook itself and then a brisk trot down the corridor until the face of Archie appeared in the doorway.

That dog is amazing. He can hear a biscuit tin lid being silently prized open from around 20 feet away and he has also been known to appear inside from the garden because I have opened the freezer door and he thinks there is an outside chance of a bite of ice cream (which I use to wrap around pills when I have to give them to him).

Archie’s loving face gazed up at my biscuits from the kitchen floor. Behold, he had been sleeping and was now awake. Such is the power of the scotch finger biscuit – and his hearing when it comes to the important matter of food.

The worse thing was, he was right. I had got a biscuit out for him and Lucy, not for me  – and so there we were two minutes later back in the bedroom, me with my mug and the dogs waiting for me to break one of the sturdy shortbread fingers off and dunk it in the tea for them (they do not like the biscuits dry).

It is a dog’s life, alright.

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