Waking Up

Puppy Tupelo is not a morning dog. This is delightful on days when I want to sleep in. On days (like today) when I need to launch from bed like a rocket while it’s still dark out and do 4Belly-rubs in the sunshine7 things before I leave the house 30 minutes later, it’s not quite as charming.

You see, Tupelo has raised the act of waking up to an art form. The outside of his belly wakes up first, because a half-asleep belly rub in the sunshine is hard to beat. This means that waking up in the dark is off. the. table. Waking up in a hurry is also a non-starter. So on the best mornings, I wake up and make my way over to his dog bed and rub his belly for a good long time while I murmur about what a good boy he is.

After that, the inside of his belly starts to wake up. It’s not that he’s not hungry first thing in the morning (he’s a growing pup— the word for his constant state is “ravenous”), it’s just that a pup’s got to have his priorities. Belly rub, then particularly tasty treat. Normal kibble won’t do, first thing in the morning, but I can entice him from bed with these sweet potato/chicken treats I picked up at Costco.

We’re out the door by then. For the first quarter-mile or so, the inside of his belly does all the talking, and he tries to stop every few feet for more treats. Soon enough, though, his nose wakes up, and he’s scenting footprints, exploring the world.

He’s almost fully awake when his bad leg kicks in. He was injured as a pup, and he limps and favors the good legs until he’s fully engaged. When he’s got all four legs engaged, he’s almost all the way awake.

Let's play!

Let’s play!

The last thing that wakes up on him is his puppy playfulness. He’s normally not ready to chase the stick or play ball until we get home. Which is, I think, why I keep finding things shredded when I get home. I wake up his desire to play, and then I leave him to take a nap. Here’s hoping my current working strategy brings my perfectly behaved angel back!


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