Let’s focus on Ralphie, shall we? He won’t mind.
First, imagine a small pig. He’s the same general shape, but a little thinner and a lot hairier. The same beady eyes and the same lovability, minus the hooves. I shift my weight on the bed and notice by the tiny cracking of a beady eye that I have disturbed him. But only momentarily. His legs are so short that he sniffs his own feet when he sleeps. His legs are so short that he gets The Crud on his belly from the wilderness outside. Doc says his undercarriage must be bathed daily with the $special$ shampoo to keep this microbial-inspired sort of manginess at bay. Fat chance of that. I can barely bathe myself some days. So I’m shooting for every other day, which by experience I know slips to every three days, then once a week, then The Crud returns.
Suddenly he cries out, obviously being provoked by turkeys or murdered by thunder. He is paralyzed except for his feet, which twitch and spasm, and his voice box, which alternates between yelping and imitating Curly snoring.
Almost every night while we are eating, Ralphie stubbornly stands splay-footed, staring at us with those beady eyes from across the room. Only copious amounts of yelling or sweet talk will get him to budge. I gave him a piece of salmon from my plate tonight, something I never do. A bit later the staring started and when I told him to stop acting freaky and go lay down, he actually listened to me, likely in return for the bit of salmon. Noted.
Sometimes, when I am feeling self-indulgent, I wake Ralphie from a deep sleep. I do it to see the beady pig eyes swept clear of the fur that usually hides them. To see the fur plastered to the side of his head in some approximation of an up-do. To see the fur that usually hangs on either side of his nose, now on one side straight up, and on the other straight down. He looks ridiculous and endearing, but mostly confused.
Other times, also when I am feeling self-indulgent, as I lay on the couch I wake Ralphie from a deep sleep and, after appreciating his beady eyes and his up-do, I lug him on top of me (like a tiny, weighted, swine blanket) for a hug. This distresses him greatly at first, but then he tolerates it, then he relaxes and, I like to think, enjoys the hugging. He enjoys it until Fletcher comes in and says, “What are you doing to him? Dogs don’t like to be hugged!” Then he struggles to free himself, having just been told he should. Fletcher should just zip it and let me hug my dog.
That’ll do pig.