**This is day 4 of a 30 day writing experiment hosted by Kale & Cigarettes**

It’s coming down hard and blowing sideways and a motorcycle zooms by us and Woody tries to chase it but gets pulled back because he didn’t give me the signal to start running but now we’re running and looking at each other and he has part of the leash in his mouth so it doesn’t drag on the ground or get tangled around his feet and we’re leaping over puddles and owning these sidewalks like a 42-year old American Ninja Warrior. We get home and he does some break dancing moves on the carpet to try to dry himself off but he’s still soaked so I open the door and grab the paw towel and goes in head first. This used to be a point of contention for us when he was a puppy and had shark teeth. The chances of losing a finger were high. Now he welcomes the spa treatment. Now we both smell like wet dog. Sympatico.

Yesterday I yawned and then he yawned when we got into our new queen sized bed. He’s been sleeping with us ever since Christmas. Barely ever in his crate anymore. Well at first we were putting him in his crate then at around 1 or 2 or 3 in the morning he’d whine and Kirk would let him out and he would come barreling into bed and go deep under the covers. Sometimes he sits on our heads, which means he has to poop. Sometimes he sleeps right in between us, which is sweet and makes me feel like this is our little family but Kirk is a far better source of heat so I usually swap Woody and it becomes a spoon chain. But Woody knows now that Kirk’s away. We’ve somehow shifted to the middle right (NOT POLITICALLY, CALM DOWN) so the bed doesn’t feel so empty. He curls up and puts his nose in my neck under my ear.

Sometimes I wonder if this is what having a kid feels like. The cuddling. The looking at them while they sleep. Smiling because it’s peaceful and quiet and no one is pulling your hair — or in our case trying to use your hand as a Kong.

I know that when we got Woody I reallywondered if this was what having a kid felt like. The feeding. The walks. The house training. The training I wanted to do but Kirk wanted to do differently. The constant attention. The lack of attention from your partner. The lack of attention you’re giving your partner. The resentment. The frustration when they’re not behaving. The fear you’re going to somehow hurt them. The fear he’s going to run away or get hit by a car or get taken into the canyon by a coyote and when you chase them it’ll already be too late. The vet bills. The not knowing what the hell you’re doing but feeling like you should absolutely know what the hell you’re doing. The wanting to give him back. The loving him so much you want to squeeze him until his eyeballs pop out.

The ratio of love to anxiety is on a sliding scale.

But when he brings you his favorite toy, it’s mostly love. And when he has been waiting by the door since you left, it’s mostly love. And when you can tell he’s had to pee so bad but holds it until we get outside, it’s mostly love. And when you see him and Kirk cuddling together the night before he’s leaving for 3 weeks and your heart and your tear ducts explode, it’s mostly, only, incredibly, love.