Ari slept in his old favorite place last night–cuddled up on the loveseat at the end of our bed, the one we use for TV viewing. He managed to get partway up by himself, and only needed a little boost to settle in. It’s the only seat in the house where we are all allowed to sit together, where we can cozy up and cuddle at the end of a long day. Our days have been very long lately, so the chance to cuddel like old times feels downright miraculous. And finding Ari there when the alarm goes off, simply perfect.
7:30 ane Ari has already eaten and gone out. Yes, he resisted a bit at the door, and it took J’s muscles once more to haul him down the single step, but he went out and now we are readying for our own breakfast.
We’ve all had lunch, and Ari says “No way,” to going out again. No coaxing with orange bits or peanuts will lure him near the front door. J is hoping to venture forth on a few errands, but not until Ari is comfortably situated.
“I give up,” he says after several long attempts, “What can I do?”
“Mind if I try?” I ask.
“Go ahead,” he sighs. He brushes past where I sit crosslegged on the floor beside Ari’s nearly-empty food bowl. Despite all our successes, Ari still resists chowing down independently, still prefers being hand fed–“room service” is what I call it.
I stand up slowly, find my shoes by the back door, and grab the leash and container of orange bits left on the table.
“Who’s the sweetest boy? Ari,” I sing to the melody of Irving Berlin’s “Always”, the song J and I claimed as our own during our long-ago courtship. Then I say, “Come on, Ari, let’s go out.” I offer a treat, and he accepts it heartily.
I continue singing, Who’s the sweetest boy? Ari,” and slowly back down the carpet runner toward the front door.
“Who’s the sweetest boy?
Who’s our pride and joy?”
A few paces away, I offer again and Ari moves ahead to accept.
“Loves to find a toy?
I repeat the process a couple more times, verify my own whereabouts a time or two, an dat last stand just inside the door with Ari beside me.
“Good boy, Ari,” the lease goes on and the door opens. I step outside, and wonder of wonders, Ari follows.
Suddenly J is at my right saying, “He’s off the step.”
I hand the leash over, and once inside, close the door behind me.
A few minutes later, we are all hugging and wagging in the living room, laughing, “Good job, good job, all around.”
J is back from his errands, and we have had a bit of fun trying to get Ari to play. His friends just aren’t good company yet, so we wait for the call to go out.
Finally, we are all heading for the front door, handing out peanuts enroute. I attach the leash, and say cheerily, “Let’s go out, Ari. J goes outside, I hand off the leash, and Ari follows, happily wakking on his own, still a bit off-kilter, but somewhat steadied by J and the leash.
What a dance we do as the pair returns, rain-splattered yet triumphant!