We always have the same routine. Witness and I wake around 6:30am, and he saunters to the bathroom to get ready for work. Cashew starts whining in his crate, and I slowly get up to release him from his nighttime ground cradle. Every morning I walk over, his tail wags energetically from one end of his house to the other. His yearning, black eyes meet mine, and he stretches to say good morning. I open the door to let him out, and he does three swift laps around my legs, all the while his tiny tail beats me with rabid joy. How such a small creature can have such energy is beyond me.
Every day it’s the same. We walk out the bedroom door. He wouldn’t dare go anywhere where I’m not. He makes sure I’m in his sight. He continues to wag his tail as he brings over the little tennis ball and rolls it toward my feet.
“Can we play?” he eagerly asks as his tail continues to swing in bliss.
“Let’s go outside,” I say in response, and he happily concedes, creating an invisible maze around my feet.
We put his harness on, and I ask him to sit properly in front of the door.
“Sit, Cashew,” I open the door, and he jolts toward the morning light.
“No,” I respond sternly, “Sit, Cashew. Have a little patience.”
He reluctantly sits.
“Okay, let’s go!” as the little puppy runs out into the morning dew.
I take him for about five 10 minute walks a day. He romps and plays in our little living room, creating dust storms of tennis ball fur. He climbs everything, goes over and under; there isn’t a space he hasn’t explored. He’s thorough and authentic, honest and curious, shy and loud, and a big sucker for treats. He refuses to eat his kibble, unless it is spread randomly across his paw-print mat. He hides every bone I give him in the most peculiarly conspicuous places.
I’m lucky to have such a joyful little creature in my life. Despite his inability to speak English, we communicate in intimate and kind ways to one another. My duty as master is to be the hands that feed, clean, groom, and keep him safe. His duty as pet is to give consistent companionship, joy, and stories of incredible messes to clean in his lifetime.
Every day, Cashew is the same, and every day, I need that consistency to keep me sane.