I Got Your Back

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” –Satchel Paige

“Don’t look back.  Something might be drooling on you.” –Jeff Brown

Our dog, Arlo, sleeps between my wife and me at night.  It goes without saying that I never lie facing in, so I don’t get a lot of variety, sleep position speaking.

My flight to dreamland usually begins with me lying on my left side.  Every night as I try to drift off, Arlo puts his paw on my right shoulder.  Instead of going unconscious, my mind focuses like a laser beam on the weight of his paw.  I imagine Arlo standing behind me, posed like George Washington crossing the Delaware River.

Yeah, I don’t get a lot of sleep either.

I don’t dare turn around to see what he’s up to; otherwise it’s like a scene from Jurassic Park.

Dr. Grant:  Keep absolutely still; his vision’s based on movement.

Jeff:  Don’t be ridiculous.  I’m just going to turn my head to— OH MY GOD!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my pathetic life, it’s never make direct eye contact with Arlo, especially if I’m lying in bed.  Somewhere in his tiny canine brain, he interprets “eye contact” as “unrequited love.”

Interesting Fact:  Arlo has a tongue and he’s not afraid to use it.

The assault on my personal space begins with steamy breathing in my ear.  He moans softly as he licks the back of my neck.  Then, like an awkward teenager, he goes for first base.  I push him back and say sternly, “Arlo!  I’m not in the mood.”

Like a lover scorned, he retreats to somewhere behind me.   Finally, as I start to drift off, he vengefully jabs his paw into the middle of my back.

Arlo:  Freeze!  Hand over all your peanut butter flavored Mini Bones.

Then my backside endures a barrage of bumps, kicks, and jabs and I imagine him as a masseuse.

Customer #1:  I feel so relaxed.

Customer #2:  His paws are magic, but I wish I brought my lint roller.

The dog often uses my back as a manicure table when I’m in bed.  It’s annoying when he chews his toes, tugging and licking them until my t-shirt feels damp.

Jeff:  Arlo, your nails look amazing.  What’s your secret?

Arlo:  Spit.  It softens claws as you chew on them.

Jeff:  That’s disgusting.

Arlo:  You’re soaking in it.

Finally, I can’t stand it anymore and I get out of bed.  I head to the kitchen pantry and throw open the door.  There, on the bottom shelf is my secret weapon…

A genuine basted beef hide wraps a savory middle that sends your dog to his own little busy world.

At least that’s what the manufacturer claims on the package.  I grab one and head back to the bedroom.  Guess who’s in my spot?  I toss the smelly baton-shaped turd to the foot of the bed.  Arlo gleefully lunges for it and I climb back in.

“What’s going on?” asks my wife, rubbing her eyes.  “You woke me up.”

“Nothing,” I grunt.  “Go back to sleep.”

A minute later I feel the dog crawl up behind me and put his paw on my shoulder.  It’s almost like he’s saying, “I know you’re having a tough time, Jeff, but I want you to know I’m here for you.

I got your back.”

4 thoughts on “I Got Your Back

  1. I really like your story! All of us with dogs can relate. I like your portrayal of Arlington as a spurned lover. I also like the way you interject conversation. The ending ties the story together as a good ending should.

    (By the way, lie, not lay, right at the beginning.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *