We joke around our house that Molly has become my shadow. When she’s awake, she’s at my feet following behind me as I walk between rooms. Beside me as I unload the dishwasher. Just outside the bathroom door while I’m in the shower. (She’s very scared of running water.) When there are noises she doesn’t like she hides behind my legs.
And sometimes it’s comical. The kids are sometimes transformed into Molly’s shadows. And so we form this kind of train, Mama, Dog, Toddler, Toddler that covers the length of the house or circles the yard.
Sometimes it’s not perfect. The other day I was on the phone with my mother. The kitchen was loud with lunchtime noises, so I stepped into the living room. Molly followed me. She settled at my feet. Julia followed Molly and I couldn’t hear Mom over the “Oh, Molly! I love you. You’re so sweet, Molly. You’re the best dog.” And Max’s foot steps were closing in. I went to sit on the front steps so my kiddos could love the dog as loudly as they wanted.
But in the moments when I’m putting away laundry or just passing through from one room to another and my dog is at my heels, I smile. When I’m still and she rests her head against my leg, I smile again. And I love to look from my computer screen to my pup on the floor next to me. Her snoring is the awkward white noise to my otherwise quiet moment.
This, my friends, is what having a dog is all about. It’s the time together, a shadow compliment, perfect companionship. Edith Wharton got it exactly right because I love this “heart-beat at my feet.”