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My Wife's Dog

At 6:10 am he got up and walked the dog. Every morning. The little mutt he never wanted expected to eat promptly at 6:45 but needed to relieve himself and stretch his short legs before inhaling his food like a vacuum cleaner. So 6:10 am became the wake-up hour, for Marshall.

After making breakfast for the dog, Marshall made coffee for his wife and himself. In the past she liked to sleep later. Since the dog arrived, she would get up earlier and sit with the two of them. Sometimes, she would even walk the dog, supposedly her dog, after breakfast, but she usually left it to Marshall as well. “He enjoys the exercise,” she reasoned.

He missed his job as a consultant for Aerospace, but mostly he missed waking up his grandsons, nagging them to eat breakfast and getting them to school on time. At first, he liked retirement. He had worked since he was a boy on one thing or another and never had time to do exactly what he pleased when he wanted. Not working hadn’t bothered him much until the boys went and grew up on him. Now he often felt at a loss. He liked being grandpa and taking care of the kids. He had missed a lot of caretaking when his daughter was young because of his work schedule. He felt grandparenting was his second chance.

But it all went by so fast. Everybody was independent now. Nobody really needed him to do anything anymore. Boys made their own breakfasts or didn’t. They drove themselves to school and sports. His life no longer had to have structure. He was free to do whatever he liked whenever he wanted. Independence. No repetitive schedule anymore. Open-ended. Unstructured. Meaning, he came to realize, bored out of ones’ mind.

Then the dog appeared out of nowhere one day. “I’m tired of waiting for permission from you people to get a dog, “His wife declared to the family.” Here he is! Deal with it.”

No one really liked the dog. They all made snide remarks about him. The boys, as it worked out, would tell their parents, “Look how crazy the Grents are about that damn dog. They treat him like a person. The little beast can do no wrong!”

The parents joked, “That’s exactly how they treated you when you were little. Are you jealous of a dog?” As it turned out, they were. They began talking to their grandfather about the dog. They bought presents for him like poop bags with paw prints on them, toys, even a vest with a patch reading “beware of peeing fur-missile.”

Neighbors enjoyed seeing the little dog walking with the big man. They would stop and talk with Marshall, find out what new adventures the two of them had been having. Before he knew it, Marshall had made several friends.

The dog nobody wanted turned out to be a gift in disguise. “It’s really my wife’s dog, Marshall always stated.” Smart wife.

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