When I start to prepare for bed – a lengthy process, as I have certain medical conditions that must be catered to – my oldest dog, Harry, comes into the bedroom and lies on the blue-and-gold rug, eyes closed, quietly aware in that way dogs are as I move in and out of the bathroom. There is another canine in the house, but she is already dozing in her bed in the hall. She does not care for these moments of quiet profundity. When I am finally finished, I climb into bed and read.
When he is quite ready, he rises and walks out to his own bed in the hall. His bed, like his sister’s, is a warm, cloth-covered envelope. Often I follow him there and hold it open for him, and he walks in and curls up. Sometimes the soft roof of the bed makes an ear flop back as he settles. I, after all, am the one with hands; so I fix the ear straight again and stroke him good wishes for the evening. A peaceful look comes over him and he arranges himself in comfort, sometimes sighing his contentment. I return to my own bed thinking: these small domestic moments. They are not meant to be special. They are like salt. They lose none of their joy through repetition.