This time I missed my dogs.
I spent another six days (ugh, never again, I swear) in the hospital. Nothing against the hospital, the folks there were great.
But getting jerked out of a sound sleep at 4:30 a.m. every single morning because someone wanted to take another blood test wasn't fun. Neither were all the tests I had to go through.
But unlike the first time I was in the hospital, this time I missed my dogs. I think I didn't miss them the first time because I had been sick for a while, and my dogs drove me crazy.
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My friend told me it was my fault, the dogs weren't getting out enough, and they were going bonkers.
Bull. I say they were just plain bad. Bad, bad, bad. I was glad to get away from them, and I didn't miss them one single bit. Well, until the last day before I went home, then I started missing them.
Why didn't I miss them? Because Jan spent her time jumping back and forth across me in bed, shaking the bed and waking me up.
Peg found a way outside, and barked like a psycho dog at anything that moved. And Lenny just tried to eat everything that was moving less than five miles an hour.
But the second time I got sick, it hit me quickly, and before I knew it, I was back in the hospital. And I missed my dogs.
I missed Len and his big, dumb-looking face and his ability to find anything edible in the house. I missed Jan and her yapping to get out of her kennel and into the house, where she could torture me.
I even missed Peg. Yep, that little dog that everyone thinks is a mutt finally got to me. I was so homesick that I even missed Peg's freckled face and her ability to jump over the fence in less than two seconds from the time I let her out of the house to the time she was halfway down the pasture.
So when I came home, I told the dogs how much I missed them.
They were ecstatic to see me, Len wouldn't stop howling and whining and barking at me. Peg and Jan jumped so high I thought they were going to go right over the top of me, even though they never touched me. Peg was so glad to see me that she didn't even try to go over the fence. Wow. I was impressed.
For a couple of days, I had three good dogs. Len and Peg came in the house at night, greeted me with their cold noses, wagged their tails and told me how much they missed me, and then headed for their crates. By the time I got in my bedroom, Peg and Len were already in their crates, waiting for their treats and showing me what great dogs I had.
Jan, of course, didn't want to go in the crate at all, but she was very good. She slept on my bed unless I forced her to get in the crate, and she didn't jump around or bark or act like her normal, annoying self.
That lasted for three days. Then the real dogs came back.
Peg started trying to go over the fence at every chance, Len started looking for, and finding, food of any kind and Jan absolutely refused to go in that nasty, dirty crate where dogs slept, for goodness sake.
So when I started feeling better, my dogs started being bad. Again.
Actually, it was kind of nice, because I knew that the dogs were back to normal. Coming home to good dogs just about blew me away. I didn't know what to do, I haven't had a really good dog since Ted and Ty died. Kate was good, but she had her faults. Like trying to bite anyone that came in the yard or made the mistake of looking at her. I miss her like crazy, but she was a little bit, well, a whole lot, weird.
Those three dogs acting like they were Ty or Ted blew me away.
I almost couldn't handle it.
I thought maybe I had scarred their sensitive little psyche or something psychological like that.
But I was wrong. The old, bad dogs are back, and that's OK.
I missed them when I was in the hospital, and I missed them when I came home. I love Jan and Peg and Len because they are Jan and Peg and Len, not because they are some good dogs that I don't recognize.
I hope I never, ever go to a hospital again, and although sometimes my dogs drive me crazy, I hope that Jan and Peg and Len always feel safe to act like themselves, because I love them for what they are.
Three crazy, bad, fast, dirty, loveable, special dogs. I hope they stay like that forever.
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.