Somewhere in the distance, I hear a faint whimper. My sleepy eyes flutter and mind comes to consciousness.
It is her. The one we call Emma.
I slowly sit up and look in the direction of the sound. Her stately bulldog frame silhouetted against the moonlit window is an intimidating site. She sits and waits.
For a moment I consider lying back down but I know it will be in vain. What is it that she wants? Did she hear something outside that beckons her? Does she really need to go to the bathroom? Did I forget to fill the water bowl? Did her ball roll under the couch again?
I half-heartedly fling the covers back and dangle my feet off the bed. In the darkness I know the old one is there. She, a heartbeat at my feet for 12 years now, is never really far away. And, at night, she keeps vigil on my side of the bed where I've tossed pillows to the floor. My bare feet feel her soft fur and I step carefully to one side of her resting place.
I stand to my feet and turn to where she stands.
The shadow by the window, that intensely sinister looking profile, lures me towards her.
She makes her move.
Through listless eyes and faint mind, I watch her approach. While body is still half sleeping, heart is awakened. For, as my outstretched hand reaches to greet her, that menacing shadow melts into a puddle of wiggles and delight that I've come to her aid. We share a moment of greeting and then make our way to the door.
I open the door and send her out into the moonlight.
Making my way back to the bed, I wonder how long it will be before I am entreated to rise again and allow her back into the house. The sleeping lumberjack in my bed never moves. I quietly admire his brawny bare shoulder in the soft light and doze back off.
The call from the window is clear. She learned when she was a puppy that her claws on the screen make the loudest noise in which to arouse us humans. Again, I carefully place my feet on the carpet as not to step on Sophie and make my way to the door.
Another joyous salutation takes place as if we'd not seen each other for weeks. She makes her way past me to her resting place on the couch and I head back to my bed and my burly sleeping farmer.
While Emma sleeps soundly after her outside adventure, I lay awake wondering if I paid the home owners policy.