Heathcliff and Freya barked and whined in excitement. “As soon as you sit down, we’ll let the dogs out of our bedroom to greet you,” Keith and I said to our family houseguests.

My daughter sat on the sofa, holding her thirteen-month-old daughter in her lap. Heathcliff raced to Jessica, happy to see her again. Our granddaughter Abigail cooed in delight as Heathcliff’s big muzzle sniffed her, recording the scent of a new pack member. Freya followed with pink tongue slurped kisses. When Abigail squealed and giggled, Freya bellied up.

“Their muzzles are grey,” Jessica said.

“Yes, and so are ours,” I replied.


KeithAbigailHeathcliffondeckJuly2018Throughout the visit, Heathcliff followed our granddaughter like a mother hen. Freya kissed, and Abigail cooed. Dogs on duty.

Keith and I mother-henned, kissed, and chatted, too. Grandparents on duty.

We shopped for food and toys, ate at bistros and at home, and played, played, played. Wearing plastic bead necklaces, placing toy blocks in their “proper places” around the house, and climbing up and down stairs were Abigail’s favorite activities. And rolling in the dogs’ nest bed like a puppy. Perhaps that was how our dogs perceived her, as a human puppy to be loved and protected.


WildFlowersonDeckJuly2018Over the weekend, Jessica and Abigail departed for New York City on their way home half-way around the world. A gift of wild flowers adorned the deck table where we had dined on Friday, a Thanksgiving feast of turkey with all the fixings. The chairs were now empty.

I washed up towels and sheets, put away toys, reordered furniture and items placed out of a little one’s reach. The scent of Abigail’s shampoo/soap lingered in the bathroom where Jessica had bathed her daughter in our tub. Heathcliff and Freya wandered the house, missing the human puppy and her mother.


Today, the dogs are back to their routines, a little tired as are we. And oh, so thankful for the grace of returning and new pack members. Safe travels, dear ones.



    I know Jessica and Abigail live a long way away from you. Our grandkids don’t live quite that far but still a good distance. Although they don’t visit often we always remark when they leave that the silence is deafening. No more, “Grandma, Grandma, play with me”, etc. Bet you and Keith feel the same way.

    • Carole Duff

      Yes, it’s quiet here. No toddler footsteps, babble, giggles, or kisses. But they are safely home now, and for that I am grateful. Thank you for your comment.


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