When I come home from work I know I’ll be greeted by the tap of my dog’s tail. I’ll often find Little One lounging in a chair, but if I worked late or had nighttime meetings she’ll be sitting by the door. It isn’t long before she rolls over for a tummy rub–they’re her favorite, after all.
We quickly move to the couch where we begin our conversation. She sits close and looks up while I talk and pet her.
I tell her that she put a smile on my face when I came home. And sometimes, that smile is exactly the thing I needed.
I ask her about her day. She looks up at me with her big eyes and I know exactly what she did. She basked in the sun. She looked out the window. She spent quite a bit of time snoozing. She may have even gone on a walk, if someone in my family took her on one.
And then I tell her about my day. Yes, I tend to focus on the stressors of my day, but when she’s looking at me with those big, beautiful eyes I know that she’ll sit there. And she’ll listen. What I say won’t bother her and she’ll just soak up the attention she’s getting.
As I finish up the story of my day, she starts to lean back so that she can get a tummy rub. This is when I grow silent and I just give her a tummy rub. She turns one way and then another, making sure that exactly what she wants out of that tummy rub.
In 2016 I’ve thought a lot about routines–specifically, my lack of routines. I’ve thought about cultivating a night routine, although I still don’t have a consistent one, and I’ve been waiting for summer to work on creating a morning routine. But one day, as Little One and I sat down for our after work chat, I realized that I do have an afternoon routine. One of the things I really love about this routine, it’s that a way for me to start to unwind after the day and, most importantly, it gives the two of us a chance to connect each day and keeps the human/dog bond strong. And it’s the best!