Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Buddy Weekend

(Editor's Note: This article was written a few weeks ago and purposely held as a tribute to Couper's Mommy on Mommy's Day. Since then, we unexpectedly got Godiva. Please do not worry that she is not in the article. She is fine, the article is old)

Couper’s Mommy took last Friday off and went jet-setting for the weekend, so for the first time in a long time, it was a Buddy Weekend at Couper’s house. It had been over a year since Couper’s Mommy went on an extended jet-set, so I envisioned she would come home to find us passed out on the floor amid empty beer cans, poker chips, and yummies while three TVs blared basketball, Baywatch, and the Dog Whisperer. In other words, we would be wiped out from having too much buddy fun. I guess I forgot what it is really like when Couper’s Mommy leaves.

Couper’s Mommy jetted-off on Thursday, so Couper and I would have to delay our weekend fun. On Thursday afternoon it was business as usual; I got home, we did our potties outside (well, Couper did), we had yummies, and I got changed. It was right then, that I first noticed the impact of Couper’s Mommy absence. I had to figure out dinner on my own. Three and a half hours later, after Couper and I had both eaten, Couper was starting to realize that his mommy wasn’t home. Couper is very particular and likes things to be just right; and his mommy being gone at this time of night was certainly not right. So he stacked two pillows on the sofa nearest the front door, laid down, and waited for her to come home; almost like a nervous father waiting for his teenage daughter to come home from a date. Barky under normal circumstances, when he is on-guard waiting for his mommy, anything, or nothing, will set him off.

The barking is not limited to his couch vigil. Essentially when Couper’s Mommy goes jet setting there is no sleeping that first night. When we went to bed, I could feel and hear Couper snarling every couple of seconds. When he heard night sounds, he went into all out barking. You can count on being woken up by barking at least twice the first night, and he delivered around midnight and 1:30AM. You can also pretty much count on a very early morning potty call, which is really an excuse to patrol the backyard for the scoundrels who must have taken his mommy (why else would she leave her wonderful puppy???). He executed this move around 3AM.

As the alarm went off early Friday morning, I begrudgingly got up; nothing unusual there. In the past couple of months we have had a pretty consistent weekday morning routine.
  • Couper pops out of bed, finds a toy and starts playing with me as I am laboring out of bed. Couper’s Mommy heads toward the kitchen.
  • Couper and I continue playing as I go potty (indoors). (This is one of Couper’s favorite places to play. I was warned not to let him get away with that. Too late.)
  • I take him through the kitchen to the back door and let him out to go #1.
  • He comes back in and his mommy gives him his breakfast as I go back to the bedroom to get ready for work.
  • Couper’s Mommy takes him out to go #2.
  • Couper comes back to play with me as I am getting out of the shower and getting dressed.
  • Couper plays with me as I eat breakfast prepared by Couper’s Mommy.
  • I leave for work.
  • Couper’s Mommy takes him out to go #1, puts him in his kennel, and leaves for work.
We have this down to a science and essentially time our morning to it. However, last Friday morning, I realized that a crucial element of the plan was missing, Couper’s Mommy. Knowing that having Couper making his and my breakfast would be a disaster, I figured those jobs were mine. I could have let him out to go potty by himself, but that always turns into a bark-fest. Anyhow, he likes for somebody to go out with him, so that he gets the proper credit (a yummie) for having gone. Friday, I was that somebody for all potties. Couper has been very good about going in his kennel when we want him to, but he sure was not going to do that by himself. That task became mine as well.

Arriving home Friday night, I was exhausted. Couper and I played a little, had dinner, and went for a walk. We vegged on the sofa for a while watching TV, but never did get to much Buddy fun. Around 9PM, Couper decided that it was time for bed, which for him means that a human goes to bed with him. When his mommy is home, he often gets his wish and goes to bed at 9. As tired as I was, I had no intention of going to bed at 9PM on a Friday. When we were in the living room watching TV, Couper slept on my leg, and every 20 minutes would look up with tired puppy eyes saying, “Are we going to bed now, Big Buddy?!?” If I was in the computer room, he would nap on the couch (still keeping vigil) and every 20 minutes come in with the same tired-eyed look for me. Finally, the cutely pathetic nagging was too much, I gave in and we went to bed. At least this time he was too tired to bark in the middle of the night.

Saturday was a very lazy day. When Couper’s Mommy is gone, Couper is much less playful. He plays outside for a while, but really wants to be inside just in case his mommy comes to her senses and comes home. If he is not sleeping, he is either on-guard or mopey. He also likes to make sure that I am always in his sights. It is better yet if he can lie or sit on me to make sure that I don’t leave and get lost like his mommy must have. For a little dog who usually triples the energy in the room, he can suck all the energy out when things are not just right.

By the time Sunday morning rolled around, I had not said the word “mommy” in any context for 24 hours. If Couper hears a name and has any sense that person is arriving, he will do nothing but run from door to door barking. It is almost as if he is trying to signal, “This is where you are supposed to be mommy, in here!!! Just follow the ‘woof’!!!” So we were quietly outside going potty (Couper only), when the back door slid open and Couper’s Mommy, fresh from jetting-in, said, “Hi Little Buddy!” As Couper sprinted to greet her, I thought of my expectation of the moment vs. the reality. Instead of Couper and I passed out in a pile of our partying, we were awake, doing normal stuff, with a (relatively) clean house. Couper repeatedly jumped all over his mommy. He really missed her. I did too. The next time Couper’s Mommy goes jet-setting, I hope she takes us too.

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