Short Stories by Mustang Patty

Howie and Bernie Comfort their Mistress

 The alarm went off and the Mistress reached out a hand from under the covers.  She tapped for the black box she always had with her and silenced the noise.  Bernie jumped up.  It was time for his early morning treat!  Nuzzling the Mistress's face, he was surprised when she pushed him away.  "No, Bernie.  I'm not ready to get up."

Bernie sat down on the bed in confusion.  He finally laid on his belly and inched forward so that his nose was next to her hand.  It was way past the time they usually got the day started.  The bright light in the sky was streaming through the windows.  With a deep sigh and a sad heart, he laid his head down between his paws.

Howie was stretched out on the other side of the Mistress.  He lay on his back with his paws hanging limply above his body.  His head was turned to the side, and Bernie could see he was awake from the blinking of his eyes.  Both dogs were confused by this strange morning.

Bernie wondered if they would ever get their morning treats.  Howie gave a big sigh as if he were commiserating with Bernie.  Howie did understand why the Mistress was in bed so long.  She was having one of her bad days.

These kinds of days had been further and further apart lately, but Howie knew all the signs.  The Mistress would become short tempered and refuse to play.  There were fewer treats, and while the TV was on, she didn't really look at it.  Instead, she laid on her side, on either the couch or in bed, looking at nothing.  She didn't talk to the dogs or go into the kitchen to feed herself.

Howie rolled over on his stomach and inched closer to the Mistress.  He extended his paw to touch her shoulder. In his own way, he wanted to let her know he was there for her.  He shot Bernie a meaningful glance to quietly lay on his side of the bed.

It had been a difficult week for all of them.  First, the suitcases came out of the closet and the Mistress had put some of her clothes in the zippered parts.  She went about her chores in a hurried manner and the dogs watched her restless motions throughout the house.  Howie knew something was up.  He knew that the suitcase meant the Mistress was going somewhere and the kennel was probably waiting Bernie and him.

The kennel hadn't been too bad.  The people there were kind and brought them food and treats.  They made sure there were blankets and toys, and they talked to them on a regular basis.  Howie and Bernie both missed the Mistress and the Master, but they knew they would come back.  They always did.

Both dogs lay on the bed and did their best to be quiet and not disturb the Mistress.  She was making a steady noise and they knew she was sleeping.  Bernie was wondering if they would ever get their treats and then the Mistress stirred.

Pulling his paws tightly to his chest, Bernie stretched out his little body.  Arching his back and extending his neck, his back feet splayed behind him, he tried to calm himself down.  Keeping his eyes on the Mistress, he tried to decide whether to make himself more comfortable or stand up to greet her.  She finally pulled the covers down, and raised her head.

Bernie waited, and then she smiled.  "How are you this morning, Bernie?  Thank you for letting me sleep in.  I needed that."  At the sound of her voice, his tail began to wag furiously and he jumped to his feet.  He began to 'talk,' and paw at her.  It was way past time.

With agonizing slowness, she finally swung her legs down to the floor.  Sitting up, she wiped the sleep from her eyes and brushed her hair from her face.  "Come on boys, let's try to get this day started."

Flipping on the light switch in the kitchen, she headed for the coffee pot.  Both boys were sitting at the entrance of the kitchen with their tails waving like flags.  After getting the coffee started, the Mistress took one look at them and remembered about the morning ritual.  The boys didn't know the 'treats' were really medicine for their eyes, and she was glad they were so eager to take them.  Reaching for the container, she shook it slightly.  "Who's ready for their tasty morsel?"

Bernie was beside himself with joy.  He turned in circles and raised his front paws with each round.  Finally!

Howie was more sedate, but he was happy, too.  Maybe the Mistress was back to herself, but he couldn't help but notice the time of day, and the fact she was still in her pajamas.  What would be in store for today?

When the coffee was done, the Mistress surprised both the boys.  Instead of heading for the 'screen' in the living room, she poured herself a cup and headed back to the bedroom.  Both boys sat and waited.  When they heard the squeak of the mattress, they joined her in the bedroom.

Turning on the TV in the bedroom, she plumped up the pillows in the bed and sat propped up with her coffee cup in hand.  It was one of her bad days.

Howie and Bernie jumped up on the bed and each took a spot on either side of her.  Howie propped his head on her leg, and Bernie snuggled close to her side.  If she was having a tough time, they would be right there for her.

Bernie and Howie - my guard dogs

Bernie and Howie - my guard dogs

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