It’s a bit late for a “best of 2018” story, but this one’s worth it, though I’ve busted deadline — because it involves sparks from a dog. And it’s my fondest memory of that horrible year.
Somewhere in his eighth month out of the womb, my large, well-behaved puppy Titus — a Shepherd-greyhound mix, I think — got into the habit of jumping onto the bed at wake-up time (3 a.m.), standing over me on all four paws, and licking my face, with vigor.
I encourage this. I can think of no better way to greet the day. Well, maybe another way, sure …
How Titus knows it is 3 a.m., I do not know. But that is my waking hour, and Titus seems to feel it in his bones, or his blood, or in his ears. He will never perform this waking ritual unless the time is 3 a.m. That’s how I know it’s time to get up.
Many years ago, when I worked at a daily newspaper, I had a parrot who awoke me every morning at 5:59 a.m. He would leave his cage through its open door, fly toward the bathroom, take a sharp right into my bedroom, then a sharp left and land on my head. I would lift him off it and put him on the pillow, and he would groom my thinning hair until I deigned to get up.
What surprised me most about those wake-up flights of Hemingway (this parrot spoke in short sentences) was not the right-angle turns, but that he did it every day at 5:59 a.m., no matter the changing time of sunrise, and — believe it or not, but it’s true — no matter whether we were on Daylight Saving or Standard Time.
At one minute to six, Hemingway would fly into the bedroom and stand on my head.
Just so, time change or not, Titus wakes me up at 3 a.m. by standing over me and licking my face.
Now, Titus is a good dog, and I am a conscientious dog guy. By which I mean, I train Titus. He sits down before crossing intersections on our walks. He knows how to sit and stay. He would rather not, but he does it. Titus would rather play. All the time.
OK. So, the other morning at 3 o’clock, Titus did his trick: He stood over me on all four paws and licked my face.
Titus was saying: “Hey, boss! It’s time to get up! I love you! Do you love me?”
Lick lick lick.
And what could I say but, of course I love you, you big, stupid, semi-bright animal. And I rubbed my hands along both sides of Titus’ broad chest and flanks.
That’s when it happened.
Sparks of static electricity flew out from Titus’s fur. Blue and white sparks flew in the thin, dry Denver air all up and down Titus, from his ears and neck down the thick fur on his flanks to his wagging tail, while he licked my face.
It was like being in a science fiction movie.
Electric Dog Brings Love to Mankind!
Humans Saved From Despair! One Gets Up and Goes to Work!
Why Do They Do It? Dog Knows!
Dogs Proved Better Than Humans Again!
OK, maybe I’m overdoing this. But I don’t think so.
Really. I don’t think so.