Rio rests on the wood floor by the door with his head on Dr. K’s slipper. His eyes are partly closed and his breathing is even and slow. He finally ignores the muffled voices and sounds of maintenance being done in the adjacent townhome – for the time being the creaks the house makes don’t rouse him anymore. If anything is too fast or too loud he will go from peacefully sleeping dog to fully awake – up on his toes, hackles raised, barking like he can’t catch his breath – in seconds. It still gets me. Even after three years with this creature, my blood pressure goes up just hearing him bark like that. It doesn’t help; the more worked up I get, the more he feels his anxious barking is justified.
We regard each other peacefully for the moment. I have a pouch full of treats and any time I hear a noise rise slightly above the background I say “yes” and calmly reach over to deposit a treat between his paws. It takes me back to his puppy days. I was constantly rewarding him for just lying there peacefully. It helped. The world needs more rewards for peace.