I wake up with a jolt from a soft rumbling sound. In a split second, my “fright and flight” system kicks in full gear. I jump over my husband, who is sleeping peacefully. Next, is a two-foot high baby gate, in place to prevent “MB 1, MB 2, MB 3, and MB 4” from jumping on the bed in the middle of the night. In the pitch dark, it’s a tricky obstacle. My agility, even at age fifty, comes in handy. I grab his collar in passing while taking the few crucial steps to the stairs, sprint up the 12 steps, and dodge for the back door. Moments later, recovered from the initial adrenaline shock, I find myself under the bright starry sky in the cold, early spring air, and realize that I am wearing nothing but my new Ugg slippers. I tell my yellow lab, also known as Mamma Boy 1, that “it’s ok.” He looks at me mournfully, clearly confused why we were in such a rush to get out here. But I delight in the knowledge that I don’t have to clean up any dog barf, “Cause I caught him on time”.
When I return to the bedroom a few minutes later, I am reminded of the children’s book; the “the napping house, where everyone was sleeping.” I climb back in bed as if nothing happened. The peaceful sounds of my husband breathing and the soft snoring of the other dogs are reassuring. The warmth of the blankets allowed me to fall back asleep.
The next morning, I recite what happened and challenge my husband on the fact that he is completely oblivious to the warning signs of a dog who is about to get sick. I am secretly jealous. I am so conditioned as a mom, stepmom, and dog mom, that just a gurgle is enough to arouse me out of a deep sleep at 2 AM and run an obstacle course simply to attend to their needs or “catch them in the act.”
Imagine the instinct I have developed to train my brain and body to such an incredible response to tend to something that is often completely insignificant. If I could just “bottle” that ability to jump into gear, that “fright and flight”, that jolt of energy… well….”that”…. and a quarter would get me around the world. No doubt!