Morning Ritual

From the time the alarm clock sounds.... No scratch that; I haven't needed an alarm in years thanks to the dogs. From the time the first senior German Shepherd sticks his wet, cold, intrusive nose in my face during the predawn hours, my day starts.

The only souls up before me and the dogs are my roosters, whom I sometimes think wake the dogs with their crowing. Fortunately, I'm a morning person, and I love those old fuzzy faces (the roosters not so much), so rarely do I ever get up on the wrong side of the bed.

In fact, my husband has said, "How do you just get up and go like that?" Well,I can give him a bunch of reasons, and they all have gray muzzles on their fuzzy faces.

Now, I always let the dogs out to go to the bathroom before going to bed, which is usually between 11:30 pm and midnight, but old dogs can't really "hold it" that long, so about 6 hours later, we're at it again. So out we go regardless if it's sunny and shorts weather, or if it's, "bundle up and go shovel a path through the snow that's two feet deep so the dogs can pee" kind of weather. I have to drag myself out of the comfort of my bed, trip over a bunch of swirling, twirling, sometimes even falling, smiling fuzzy faces, all of whom act as if they haven't seen me in months, even though we all sleep in the same room and spend about 22 out of 24 hours a day together. The morning ritual is always the same 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and it always makes me smile regularly. It's like they're all running around gleefully cheering, "She's awake! She's awake!"

Once I get dressed, which is usually in seconds flat (seriously, I could put a pit crew to shame) because....they gotta go right now right this second, so we all filter out the bedroom door, down a short hallway, make a right turn, and head to the dog door (and this is where the true excitement comes in) then they all huddle anxiously in a tangled mass of fur around the dog door, to the point where I can't even get close enough to open it, but eventually I manage, and once it's open, they're off! Nope, not quite... there's religiously a full on "traffic jam...complete gridlock... at the dog door, because they cannot comprehend that it's one dog at a time going through the dog door, and lord knows, none of them want to be last.

Finally outside, their all quick to do their business, so they can rush back inside and hurry me along with breakfast. I use to allow this, but now I close the dog door and they remain outside (in a fenced in yard of course, and only if the nice weather) until breakfast is prepared. They crack me up, really they do, because all day long they're after me to go outside, and the short 15 minutes that I make them stay outside they're plastered to the other side of the dog door like I keep them out there come hell or high water. Such drama queens. ;)

Once their breakfast, which consists of half high quality kibble and half high quality homemade food is ready, I let them in to eat. While they're doing that I try to use the bathroom, but breakfast happens so fast that I haven't even had time to the toilet when one of the dog use their handy dandy pointy nose to push the pocket door open, and then they all squeeze into the bathroom with me and wait for me to finish. No, this is not an exaggeration. I am actually on the toilet trying to pee with a bunch of old furry German Shepherd faces smiling and breathing old German Shepherd breath all over me. Ugh... You know that's unconditional love right there.

Leaving the bathroom is fun too, because there's not enough room for all the dogs to turn around and walk back out the door, and sometimes some grumbling ensues because someone doesn't want to back out. Just what I need. A dog fight in bathroom before I've even had my coffee. (Insert eye roll here)

Now that the dogs have been let out and fed, it's time to tend to kitty. We were unexpectedly bless with an absolutely lovey little disabled kitty (we found her in our driveway), and of course she is now part of the family. However, not all the dogs love her and think she's a kitty snack, so she pretty much lives in the master bedroom and sleeps in a crate in another part of the house.

As I carry Miss Kitty from point A to point B, I have a pack of dogs hot on my heels, two of which are hoping I trip, kitty goes flying, and they score a kitty snack, but that's not going to happen. Nothing is going to get kitty out of my Kong Foo grip. I carry Miss Kitty to the bathroom, and clean her up (she's incontinent), put a fresh diaper on her, feed her, and put her down behind a securely closed door (no pocket door), so she can play.

Once I exit the room I run smack dab into the dogs whom I swear all had their ears pressed to the door to hear what was going on inside the room. I shush them back, shut the door and make them all go back outside, because at least one, possibly two did not actually go to the bathroom fully the first time, and then while they're out I turn on the coffee maker....YES, FINALLY!

When the dogs come back inside (again) I shut the dog door, put on my boots, and head out to open the chicken coop. Then it's time to feed and give water to four ducks, 12 hens and three roosters. I also collect eggs (which the dogs benefit from). I straighten up the coop while the flock free ranges...pretty much right outside the dog door. We have a little over three acres and this is where the flock chooses to hang out. (Insert another eye roll here)

Still sporting bed head (thank god the animals don't judge) I head back inside the house (eagerly greeted by the dogs right on the other side of back door of course) and finally pour myself some coffee. I sit down for about 20 minutes (with the dogs all around me) and savor in the caffeinated goodness that I long for from the second I get up, but have to wait to partake in until everyone else is taken care of.