The scent of an excellent Italian red sauce wanders through the house. Meatballs are simmering in the sauce. Water for linguine is trying to boil. And I am about to listen to The PBS News Hour.
I love when the scent of a good meal permeates the atmosphere of the house. When people walk in & are either immediately hungry or ask what I am cooking.
It is the Wednesday after another weekend of hosting my sister Janet’s dog Zoe.
Zoe is a rescue dog, a female Cairn terrier. She has proven herself a stress free & welcome guest.
We go on walks together & she always finds her way into a space next to me to sleep.
Zoe is not a talker like my beloved wire haired dachshund mix Eli. She does not bark when she needs to go outside.
In her defense, Zoe is accustomed to a doggie door. Accustomed to wandering in her territory at will. As are most of us.
On her first visit with us, I let Zoe have free reign in our back yard because Eli never got out. I was convinced there were no exits from which Zoe could escape.
I was wrong. She found an exit – I was in a panic. Zoe was a guest for less than two hours & I lost her.
I was an irresponsible dog sitter. I failed my sister’s trust.
Fifteen minutes later, Zoe returned – traipsing up my neighbor Juta’s sidewalk as I asked if Juta had seen her.
Looking as if she had just been out for a stroll, Zoe came to me when I called her name. And I explained to her she no longer had free reign.
The very first time I knew I was missing Zoe’s signals on when she wanted to go outside to take care of business, she left a very small turd by the back door. Not the mother lode, just a wee bit.
I knew I was still missing the signals when Zoe gave up subtle hints & left all her lode by the back door.
So I observed & finally understood that Zoe staring at the back door meant she needed to go outside.
I have been reminded by Zoe, a quiet little being, how essential it is to listen & observe.
Sometimes it is not enough or efficient to wait for verbal requests.
Unless you are willing to clean up the shitty aftermath.
Meanwhile, I have created the moistest, most tender meatballs of my forty years of cooking. Thank you, Mario Batali.