I had a bad day yesterday, the result of being overenthusiastic about life in general a couple of days ago. This is how it is with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome–you\’re going along thinking you\’re fine and then forty-eight hours later it hits you–the delayed negative reinforcement known in CFS circles as \”payback.\”
On days like that, when I manage to brush my teeth but not to get out of my pajamas, the dogs are a comfort. They stay close without making demands, almost as if my inertia were contagious. This is the time when Wolfie\’s anaplasmosis turns into an advantage for me, since it keeps him from jumping up and dashing about and wanting to be doing stuff outside. And the three-hundred years of lapdog breeding which Bisou carries in her DNA cause her, on such days, to want nothing more than to lie next to me or, better still, on top of me.
Nevertheless, I know that despite my dogs\’ good nature they do need some exercise, so in the afternoon when my mind cleared a bit and I felt a whiff of energy I put on some clothes and called the dogs and took them for a walk up and down the long driveway.
After two weeks of tropical weather that almost led the people of Vermont to commit mass suicide, the temperatures have turned autumnal, and the land has put on its late-summer look. On the trees, the chartreuse shades of early spring have been replaced by the deep greens of August. This is also the time of yellow flowers, which begins soon after the solstice with the yellow blooms of St.
John\’s wort, followed by the yellow stars of black-eyed susans and now the first plumes of goldenrod, which will eventually transform the fields and hedgerows into a sea of yellow.
The cooler temps always give Wolfie a new lease on life and send his anaplasmosis into temporary remission. He chases Bisou; he dashes through the grass; and he carries sticks. He looks for the biggest stick he can find in the woods and bears it forth triumphantly, head and tail held high, strutting like a drum major.
He holds these sticks in the middle, so that the ends swing around haphazardly and strike whatever is in the way. We have all learned to jump clear of Wolfie when he\’s in stick mode. Yesterday he found an especially good one, as thick as my wrist and almost as long as the width of the driveway. I was watching him and chortling to myself when he suddenly changed directions and wham! hit me a hard blow on the hip.
Time to limp back home. I let him carry the stick all the way up the hill, then asked him to give it to me, which he did. I looked him in the eye, said \”leave it!\” and heaved the stick into the field. He didn\’t go after it, because he\’s a good dog who\’s had a ton of training by a sensible owner, if I say so myself.
I put Wolfie in the house and squatted down to the job of drying off Bisou. Unless we are in the middle of a drought, in which case she comes back from walks covered in burrs, every time she goes outside she ends up drenched from head to foot. That\’s what comes of thinking that the only fun is to be had by tunneling through the five-foot-tall grass. But she too is a good dog, though she\’s had far less training than Wolfie, and lets me dry her off without complaint.
With two good dogs like mine, there\’s no such thing as a really bad day.