This morning, I committed a grievous offense.
Waking well before dawn, as seems to be habit, my feet touched the floor, or as close to the floor as I could. I tried quietly to grab my socks from their spot on my shoes next to the bed but then she was on me.
Dark in the predawn hour, she was a flash of black and grey, a wet nose on my knee as I slipped the one sock onto my foot. Yes, my faithful sidekick had slept with one eye open awaiting the time where I'd be ready to be here to entertain her.
Just turned 12, as best we know, she moves stiffly when she wakes but still spry enough to be excited when she sees me move from one spot in the house to another. What's Next Dad! is what she seems to be saying, ready for all comers.
We moved into the bathroom, as soon as she got her invitation, and I closed the door.
I went about my morning ablutions, half awake, thinking of nothing but the morning haze as the phone went about its business of turning itself on and gathering up the information I needed to decide how to dress for the day.
Absentmindedly I looked down at my mostly black companion and thought that she needed some loose fur groomed. There were, shudder, little clumps of grey undercoat that were loose and needed tending to!
So half awake, I reached down and began to remove them. Pluck is too strong a word, more like coax them out of her thatch.
This was when she turned from the friendly sweet dog we all know and love to ... Cujo.
Too well mannered to act on her extreme displeasure of the indignity of the act, she started by breathing heavily. That escalated quickly.
Breathing became a low rumble.
The lips curled away to show still sharp teeth.
The low rumble turned into a throttled breath and a growl to bring fear in the heart of a lesser man.
Through all of this I was busily removing some of the unneeded disconnected undercoat and gathering it up to be placed into the little painted bamboo trash can kept for just such emergencies.
She was, decidedly, unhappy with the action.
Finishing up, I left the little room, the little trashcan with a chihuahua sized pile of fur in the bottom, and the little door was opened. Out like a shadow in the dark escaped the herding dog to the open prairies of the living room.
Signing to her that she needed to go out and water the grass, she sheepishly looked at me and ambled outside to do her business.
Later during her official walk, she kept well out to the end of the leash, wary of another evil grooming session. You see that was only one of the haunches that was cleared of loose fur.
Groom all you want, we can make more!
By the time we got back all was forgotten. She was back to begging for scraps of Bagel with Lemon Curd and Cream Cheese, Fruit from the Oatmeal, and wondering why I was perfuming the backyard with roasting coffee. We're back to being best friends again.
If you can't groom your best friends, who can you groom?