It has been a full week that I have been operating under what I’m calling “camp conditions.” My wife, Lyn, is in Colorado, and I am home alone ... well, not if you count the pets.
Lyn is assisting her brother, Tom, and his family. Tom is having some serious health issues, and some of these problems are the same ones that their mother experienced years ago. Lyn remembers these well and knew that she would be able to help.
Before she could go it took her about a day to find folks who could cover her volunteer work at various agencies. Since Lyn was leaving over the Fourth of July weekend, booking a flight was a challenge; she had to settle for a departure time of 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Alarms went off at our house at 4 a.m., and we were heading to the airport an hour later.
Our therapy dog, Stuart rode with us. On our drive home I explained to him what was going to be different for the next couple of weeks.
There are a couple of things that cause Stuart distress: thunderstorms and fireworks, both the norm lately. We didn’t get much sleep over the Independence weekend. Most of the time I would have been the second choice as a human to console Stuart during these scary times, but he had to settle for me, and he seemed to be pouting as he did so.
The young hens – Alberta, Betty and Jackie – that live in our backyard are also distressed by Lyn’s absence. If my wife is going to be doing some yard or garden work, she will release the chickens from their cage so they can roam. They behave well for her, but I can’t say the same for when I let them out.
Stuart and I have worked things out over the past week. He loves routines, and I struggled with the distribution of his treats for a few days. I generally only give him a treat when I need to leave the house and will be going some places that he wouldn’t be welcomed. Sometimes when he doesn’t want me to leave without him, he will turn his head away and won’t accept the treat. If I tried to give him a dog cookie at the beginning of last week, he assumed that I was going to leave and wouldn’t accept it.
The only other creature that sometimes hangs around our house is the neighborhood cat, Guessie, who enjoys Stuart’s company. I haven’t noticed Guessie recognizing any changes in our routine.
One more week and Lyn will be home. All of us here will be doing the happy dance when she returns.