My companion is a 14 month old German Shepherd named Shya (after the last named Shine and the one before named Shelby-you see the pattern).

She stands at my bedside at 6:00 a.m. and whines, first soft then with increasing strength and pitch.  I trundle down the stairs to let her out.  It is cold. 15 degrees below zero.  She stands in the hallway looking.  No she doesn’t want to go out.  She wants me awake.

She doesn’t want food.  She wants me awake.  She wants me to be awake as she is, experiencing life consciously, immediately, fully.  She is awake and wants to be awake with all the world that is important to her.  The world doesn’t have to DO anything–just be awake.

Mary Oliver has a wonderful book of poetry called Dog Songs.  This one reminds me of Shya’s desire for me to share the awakeness of the world.


He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough

he turns upside down, his four paws
  in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.

“Tell me you love me,” he says.

“Tell me again.”

Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask.
I get to tell.

of course there is the afternoon nap…when I am awake.  But I find joy in watching her sleep too.


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