My bed, early morning: sleeping with the enemy.
It began slowly, so slowly that we remained unaware for several days that they had already established a beach head. They pretended to be adorable creatures, uncomplicated beings who lived for simple pleasures. They fooled us with their cuteness, their large eyes that drew us in and made us want to pet them, feed them, take them for walks.
2 out of 5 dog nests: colonization has begun.
Before we knew it, our house was cluttered with their food and water bowls, their leashes, harnesses, medicine. Pillows and sheets lay strewn on the floor in cool spots where they could lounge. Our house began to seem more like their house as they competed with us for seats on the sofas, as they attempted to control entry and exit by barking at anyone approaching the door.
Our daily schedule shifted until we adopted their Circadian cycles. I found myself taking them for walks at eleven o’clock at night, the time of day when I normally flip between reruns and the local news while dozing in my recliner. I learned to look over my shoulder and step carefully while cooking, as the canines tended to hover near my feet waiting for morsels to drop. Without quite knowing why, I began to give them slivers of cheese as they gazed hypnotically up from the kitchen tiles. I felt pleasure as I watched them gobble up my offerings…I admit that my will is mostly compromised.
My wife is so far gone that she smiles when they attempt to muscle her out of her spot on the sofa. One climbs in her lap, stands on its hind legs on her thighs, places its forepaws on her chest, and stares into her eyes. Judy responds to his aggressive, I-won’t-take-no-for-an-answer approach by hugging and petting him.
With Judy under their control, they turn their attention to me.
It will all be over in about a week. The canines have arranged for our daughter to take them back to Miami, their base of operations. But will their influence leave with them? Late evening walks are cool and peaceful in our neighborhood. I may continue them. Sharing food, attention and living space with “innocent” creatures has begun to seem normal. Dogs in my bed, burrowing under my blankets give me a sense of security as I fall asleep.
Where will it end? Will I start to haunt pet stores and shelters? Will I stare with envy as dogs parade their owners up and down my street? Will I even feel a bit of affection for the pit bulls next door who look at me as if I’m a large slab of meat?
I’m like Donald Sutherland in The Invasion of the Body Snatchers: another species is trying to take over my life.