Domesticity and Dogs
By Kim Aranha
Sep 30, 2011 - 6:11:34 AM
Chief loves to snuggle in our bed
The white nightie hangs on it’s hook in the bathroom rather like the standard flying over Buckingham Palace declaring that the royal landlord is in residence…..The pure domesticity of this image sends a warm glow through my veins….That white nightie hanging there means quite clearly one thing: Mommy’s home! When I am away, nothing hangs on this hook, no nightgown, no dressing gown, as they are no doubt hanging on the hook behind the door in an anonymous hotel room somewhere around the world.
Sitting on the bath-tub step, his big head resting between his paws is Buddy, a contented sigh, his people are home…
The despised suitcases are strewn around the dressing room, clothes hanging over chairs, hangars at the ready to hang up city clothes, not needed in the streets of Nassau….The puppies no longer sniff at the luggage with curiosity, Chief is peaceful lying in his bed , one paw draped over the side…
What a different scenario from two weeks ago when I lugged the bags out to prepare for a trip to London….Tails were rapidly tucked between legs, usually perky, pointed ears were laid back flat against their heads….the symbol of “abandonment” had appeared…They knew, right away, that these dreadful pieces of luggage mean one thing and one thing only…their people were going away… The funny, endearing, and reassuring fact is that when we return these threatening objects loose all their dread and become less interesting than the wastepaper basket that sits beside them. They no longer deserve even a cursory sniff, tails stay in a lazy wag position, and ears remain erect….Tell me that they don’t know the difference.!!! They know perfectly well, that we have just returned and will not be packing again for another trip so soon, so the suitcases are not to be worried about! FOR NOW !
Yes Guys, Mommy is indeed home and with that the bliss of domesticity, and the regular routine of every day life has returned…. Dogs quite assuredly contribute to the bliss of domesticity…the tip tapping of their nails on the tiles, the gentle chime of their tags touching their collars as they walk, that delightful, cozy, reassuring sound of their breathing during the night. steady and regular just as their love for us is.
This morning when I woke up, they were curled up in their beds, on the sofa, in our bed, warm, steady, soft, happy balls of fur, contented that their people had kept their word and come home…I very quietly observe them in the soft morning light coming through the curtains…nobody stirs save for a little twitch here, and a sigh there…What bliss to be home again, and survey my most faithful of friends at rest…
Garmin always looks so dainty when he sleeps
When I finally stir, and allow them to know that I am awake, I am besieged with licks and delighted wagging tails, as if they had forgotten during the night that I had returned and were surprised all over again…but they very quickly realize that it is still too early, in this country anyway, to get up, and with a contented sigh, all five climb on to our bed.
It takes a bit of sorting out legs, paws, noses, ears, soon everybody has a space, including their adoring humans…and we all snuggle down to catch a few more hours of sleep…Their steady breathing a child’s lullaby to my ears!
When the sun finally streams through the crack in the curtains, there is no more excuse to snuggle under the covers, I slowly raise my head and look at the five sleeping forms tightly packed onto our bed…an enormous feeling of well being washes over me…I feel blessed to have such a wonderful batch of canine best friends…The other thing that strikes me every time I see them stretched out, content and peaceful is that had they not been scooped up off the street by a animal loving and caring volunteer they would probably be dead or mangy strays scrounging around for a scrap of food or a gesture of love and friendship for a passing human.
There but by the grace of God go…when I think of the pure chance and luck that they were the ones picked up and not some other pup, or if they hadn’t scampered out of the way of a large truck traveling down the road way too fast…the though of where they could have been without loving hands picking them up and giving them a chance. What always touches me and makes me feel sad at the same time, when I observe them curled up and dreaming their canine dreams is that there are hundreds of poor, hungry, thirsty, lost, and lonely dogs out there on the streets of Nassau, and each and every one of them deserves to be loved and content like my five. There are many households who had taken in as many and more dogs than we have, and each one of us is doing our best to help resolve this terrible problem.
Baby Boss is always the first to fall asleep
What so many people forget is that by reaching out and giving a lonely and hungry (sometimes starving) street dog a home, you enrich your own lives so tremendously…your domestic bliss mushrooms, your family expands by one, two, three (or more)…more to love and to be loved by…more to greet you at the door every day with such unmitigated happiness.
How can people be so blind as to not see that the pinch of salt to the ideal picture of domesticity is to own a pet. For me there is no doubt that it is the dog who puts the final brush stroke to my home, but many will say they prefer to own cats, and that’s fine by me…the important factor to never loose sight of is that we have so many unwanted, unloved, animals on our doorstep that we should surely adopt - not shop whenever possible…If you have always wanted a certain breed, well okay, but match it with a street dog who craves some love and kindness and I assure you that your life will be fuller, your heart will beat in rhythm to the love you get every day by the most faithful of friends ever…and the bliss of domesticity will undoubtedly be yours forever more!
Just make sure that your nightie is on the peg in the bathroom and your forever friend is by your side!
Bella thinks she owns the chaise lounge
Aranha grew up in the Berry Islands with her first dog, a beloved potcake named
“Friendly” (who was anything but!). First educated at home, and then in
boarding school in Switzerland, Kim moved to Rome, Italy in 1974 to pursue a
career in the dramatic arts and ended up working as an interpreter. She moved
back to The Bahamas in 1980, and now lives in Nassau with her husband Paul, and
their two grown sons. Kim has 5 dogs, 2 goldfish, 12 fresh water turtles,
1 Asian box turtle and 3 Budgerigars. Her idea of relaxing is being home to
take care of all her pets. Kim is President of the Bahamas Humane Society, and
serves on the board of BREEF, and is co-chairman of the Bahamas Sea Turtle
Conservation Group. Kim can be contacted at
Buddy flaked out on the sofa
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