A month ago, her status changed from, "our other dog" to simply, "the dog". She seemed quiet and sad for the first couple of days, but now she seems fine. We believe that she knew Boomer was dying, and that she said goodbye to him.
Boomie's last day. She knew.
I realized that I was left with a dog that I barely knew. My whole doggie attention had been focused on Boomer. Partly because I loved him so, and partly because he demanded it, and those two dynamics fed off each other. Marley was, and is, much more easygoing. And in the days after Boomie died, I found myself feeling rather let down by the lack of attention that Marley required. Compared to Boomie, she seemed …dull.
But I have made an effort to be attentive to her. We all have been. She is getting enough loving for two dogs now, which she accepts with bewildered grace. She continues to enjoy carrying dirty socks that she finds around the house, and bringing us her tennis balls, but not letting us actually have them. She no longer runs, barking, to the door when someone rings the doorbell. I guess she was just following Boomer’s lead on that one, and now she doesn’t see the point.
She also doesn’t sleep in our bedroom anymore. For years, the two dogs would always sleep in our room, Boomer at the foot of the bed, and Marley next to my side of the bed. When Jerry woke up at 4:30am to get ready for work, Marley would follow him into the living room, and Boomie would come to lay next to me. After Jerry left for work, Marley would get up again and shake herself. Her jingling collar would get Boomer up, and he would go to the living room, and Marley would come to my side of the bed and demand that I let them outside. If I was quiet, Boomer would lay and wait in the living room. If I talked to Marley, he would hear me and come running back to the bedroom, and then I’d have 2 dogs trying to get me out of bed.
In the weeks before Boomie died, Marley stopped sleeping in our bedroom. She would just spend the whole night on the couch in the living room. Only once since he died has she slept in our room, although she does follow me sometimes when I go in there during the day with laundry to fold or whatever. In fact, she’s starting to follows us around the house more than she used to. She mostly never used to do that. That was Boomer’s job.
Yesterday, I brushed her for the first time in a month. She doesn’t love brushing like Boomer used to, but she needed it. Her coat is so much thicker than his was. Her hair dominates the floor now. The sweepings are all black. They were salt and pepper before. Another thing to get used to.
As we accustom ourselves to the new normal of having just one dog, we have no plans to get another one right away. When the time is right, I’ll know.