Some mornings I don’t feel like getting out from under the covers. Wait! That’s a lie. Most mornings I don’t feel like getting out from under the covers. It’s all just become so draining. The news of the day is an inexhaustible loop of man’s inhumanity against his fellow man. Television is nothing but contests and confrontation. Prices continue to rise, our political system is a joke and my house is doing an Oscar-caliber impression of the Titanic. Yes, please, I’ll take the dark, cocoon-like folds of my comforter to the harsh realities of the world any day. Of course, that behavior is nothing new to Molly.
As many of you already know, Dachshunds were bred to aid hunters when hunting small game, primarily badgers (Dachshund, in German, means “Badger Dog”), which spend a great deal of time underground. Given their unique physiology it’s easy to see how Dachshunds would be quite helpful in hunting them down. Well, while you might be able to take the Dachshund out of the Badger hole, you can’t necessarily take the Badger hole out of the Dachshund. Molly’s a burrower. Using nothing but a cheap, tattered throw blanket and her genetically engineered predisposition for digging, she will ensconce herself in, what can only be described, as a fleece igloo. She’s not just content to be under the blanket; she wants to be housed by the blanket.
Neither Baxter, nor Maya exhibit this behavior. Sure, during the winter all of the dogs will gladly accept the extra warmth of a blanket, but Molly’s relationship with a blanket borders on the unhealthy. The subterranean. While a razor thin blanket purchased for $2.00 doesn’t exactly scream protective domicile, there’s no convincing Molly of that. Molly sees her blanket as an impenetrable border between herself and that which she wants to keep at bay, be it the chill of January or some unseen threat known only to her. Superman has his fortress of solitude; Molly has her blanky. Occasionally I’ll see her little, black dot of a nose barely sticking out from under the folds, but that’s about it. She’s in for the duration (or, until the doorbell rings).
The morning of May 14th I lingered under my blanket longer than usual. Not for fear of yet another depressing news story (although I’m sure there were plenty) or because I couldn’t endure an ominous sky. I stayed under the covers because Hounded — my first book — was being released to the world. My thoughts, feelings and memories were being unleashed, so to speak, upon a world that could be as brutally unkind in its opinions as it could be reassuringly positive in its comments. Quite a coin flip. For two years it was mine alone. On this morning, Hounded ceased being that. I found that a frightening thought. Remaining fetal in the muffled confines of the covers seemed like a much more amenable way to face publication day.
Unfortunately, the covers on my bed do little to dampen the barking of a Dachshund. It was Molly. “Might as well,” I thought to myself. I threw back the covers, pulled on a pair of sweats and made my way downstairs, where I found my wife, Melissa drinking her first coffee of the day.
“Happy publication day,” she says, all smiles.
I look at Molly standing at my feet, her tail a frenetic metronome. She’s next to the big, blue pillow, which is her favorite place to set-up house and there, smack in the middle of said pillow, stands her recently vacated, perfectly coiffed blanket. Her home-within-a-home.
“When did she come out” I ask Melissa?
“A minute before you came down. You know her, she likes to linger in there.”
“Can’t blame her, it’s nice in there,” I respond.
“It is,” Melissa says, “but, it’s nice out here too. Look outside, it’s beautiful!”
It was. Bright sun, a little breeze and clouds that looked like they were drawn courtesy of a 1st grader.
As I made my way to the front door to let Molly outside, I realized that, as nice and comforting and protected as it feels under the covers, it can sometimes feel equally good to be out from under them.
I hold the screen door open for Molly. “Let’s go monkey, big day.”
As she begins her journey around the yard I begin mine as a published author.
In the light.