Dogs love routine, I'm told, and Nick is no exception. The day starts when he hears me stir and finally convinces me to roll out of bed and get his bowl of kibble. If I'm not quite ready to roll, I tell him "5 more minutes" and damn, if that dog doesn't know exactly what that means, because about 5 minutes later, guess who's back at the side of the bed, whimpering ever so softly?
After his breakfast comes his walkabout the property. If it's sunny, he will then curl up on the back porch and wait till he hears Mason get up. Then comes Breakfast No. 2, when he gets a few bites of Mason's cereal, then bacon or sausage, depending on the day, and then licks the egg yolk off the plate. And then for Breakfast No. 3, he licks my yogurt container. One, two, three -- every day.
On the couch or out in the sun, he then waits for us to brush our teeth. And when he sees us head back upstairs to make the bed, he knows he's tail-waggin' close to his favorite time of day: The Walk. Every day.
But as soon as that walk is done, Nick has a new favorite time of day: Waiting for Doug. That's him, waiting on the porch, above. If he thinks maybe it's getting real close to Doug Time, he goes out in the yard to wait, staring down toward the cattle gate to the property.
Doug owns the cabin behind ours; we share the same gate. He lives in town and the cabin is a work in progress, but if the weather is decent, Doug comes up almost daily to work on it. He also brings up a dog treat for Nick.
And if you saw Nick's reaction when he hears the tires of Doug's rattly old diesel pickup on our gravel drive, it's the Best Damn Treat Ever Known to Dog. His little legs quiver with anticipation, and he whimpers as he waits for Doug to come up the driveway. Oh my! Some days Nick scores a second treat from Doug on his way back out.
If Doug arrives while we're out on our morning walk, Nick will pick up the scent of his tires on the road, and a quarter-mile from home, he takes off in a sprint to catch up with Doug. And sometimes he'll run another quarter-mile to Doug's cabin just to make sure he isn't missing out.
This routine? It's the new highlight of Nick's day.
But Mason and I also score something out of Doug's visits: He brings us the Chattanooga newspaper! Sometimes it's a couple of days old, but we don't mind. In return, we give him homebrews. That's him below talking with Mason, back when there were still leaves on the trees.
But as the days get colder, Nick's routine is about to take a hit. See ya in the spring, Doug.