Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

In Charge

Tigger, one of Cindy’s Basset Hounds, couldn’t get up on the bed on his own. Or wouldn’t. Probably wouldn’t.
Half asleep, I tried to ignore his whining, but he persisted. I briefly debated whether I should attempt to sink into oblivion despite his repeated entreaties. But I knew he was stubborn and there was a decent chance he’d increase the volume and possibly start barking. I reluctantly set aside the oh-so-soft comforter, swung my legs down and cringed as my feet met the cold floor.
I struggled to lift him up–he was heavy, really heavy, and long in body, unwieldy. And he did his best to be a dead weight, as Bassets are known to do on a whim.
Before making my second attempt to pick him up, it briefly crossed my mind that my chances to hang on to my sleepiness were rapidly decreasing. I grabbed him lower, around his middle and heaved.
Wagging his tail, he lumbered over to the head of the bed plopped down on top of my pillow, took a few seconds to settle down, laid his head on the pillow, raised it briefly to smile at me then lowered it back down and closed his eyes. Was he laughing at me?
I settled back in to bed in a diagonal, my knees slightly bent to accommodate Tigger. Still groggy enough to easily fall back asleep, I closed my eyes.
Just as I was about to doze off, I heard the approaching sound of nails clicking on the wooden floor accompanied by the jingle of dog tags. Ginger, the other Basset, jumped up onto the bed, licked my face, cleaning it thoroughly, then burrowed under the blanket, nestling right up against me.
Firmly hemmed in between Tigger and Ginger, I closed my eyes and relaxed. I was almost asleep when Mitzi, Cindy’s cat, and Ginger’s surrogate mother, joined us. She jumped onto my chest, and rubbed herself against me, encouraging me to pet her. A beautiful silvery tabby with a sweet face, I couldn’t resist her. She purred loudly as she turned this way and that for a scratch here and a stroke there.
At the sound of here purring, Ginger poked her head out from under the blanket and looked at me accusingly. I reassured ginger by briefly running my hand along her coat, eliciting an insistent mew from Mitzi. As long as Mitzi kept a purring to a barely audible vibration, Ginger stayed under the covers, but if the purring was too loud, there she was, wanting her turn.
Finally, everyone fell asleep. Except me—I needed to pee. Badly.