Every evening as I am picking up, winding down and preparing for the next day, there is one thing I can always count on.
“Go-go-go-go-go!” I'll hear my daughter or husband shout out, their signal for the dog to take off like a racing horse from the starting gate. Well, maybe not quite as magnificently.
But off he will run, tearing around the dining room table, blasting into the front hallway (kicking the rug into a pile), circling around the living room and returning to the hallway, where he will stop abruptly before being coached to do it all again.
If I ever find myself in the middle of this mess, which I often do, I brace myself against the nearest wall. I watch as his fur flies and his paws leave behind a track in the carpeting.
Mind you, this is after he has been fed, watered and walked an enjoyable distance around the neighborhood. Call it his last hurrah of the day.
About this time, the cat also swings into action. He will poke his nose deep into his basket of toys – the very toys I have just gathered and deposited there. Often, he will tip over the entire basket, which excites him even more. Basket! It must be attacked.
Try sitting on the sofa in the evening at our house to read or watch a few minutes of television. The cat will crawl on the back of the sofa directly behind you, stretch out as if he is very, very sleepy and then, without warning, begin pulling at your hair with his paws. “Stop it!” I'll hiss, which makes him pull even harder. Hair! It must be attacked.
Some evenings, our daughter brings out the hermit crabs, Laverne and Shirley, to give them a change of scenery and some exercise in a different, yet confined, environment. They appear to love this, using the opportunity to show off their quirky personalities. They don't move nearly as quickly as the dog, but they don't make as big of a mess, either.
As someone who prefers their pets covered in fur, not shells, I am once again reminded that pets outnumber people in our family. And that does not even include the small spider that took up residence in my closet this week.
Before long, however, the hermit crabs are returned to their fancy “crabitat,” complete with a little hideaway and sign that reads “I'm crabby.”
Soon after that, as I again look forward to calling it a day, I might hear the glunk, glunk, glunk of someone pouring a final glass of milk or cider and a thud as our daughter drops her loaded backpack on the kitchen chair for the next morning.
There will be a final round of good nights. The cat will curl up for a snooze, looking all sweet and innocent with his squeezed-shut eyes.
And the dog will stretch out, sigh and drift off into a deep, doggie sleep where he will undoubtedly dream about running ahead of the pack.