The next day was Sunday, so Kathy and Brian looked forward to a bit of a sleep in. At five in the morning, Aleksandra was wide awake. She didn’t care how tired anyone was; she had to pee! She tried to get Brian to wake up. Nothing. She tried Kathy.

“What’s up Baby Girl,” Kathy asked, eyes closed and wishing mightily that they didn’t have to open. Then she fell back to sleep.

Aleksandra looked at the two humans, sighed, humphed and sat down to think. She had to pee, but this was where she was sleeping, so she wasn’t going to pee there. She had to get down off the thing she was on and find a place.

Walking to the foot of the bed, Aleks looked down. She was up so high! She wasn’t actually; it was only 18 inches, but her legs were only half that in length, if that, and that was pretty far! Still, she had to go, so, she reached down with her paws. Then she straightened her back legs, so that she could reach a little further, and slid off the sheets into a heap on the floor.

Aleks sat for a moment, one ear flopped up over her head, then stood up, shook herself and went off to find somewhere to pee.  Finally, she just couldn’t wait any longer and just picked a spot. Then, she trotted back up the hall, sniffing things as she went, and curled up on the floor at the foot of Kathy and Brian’s bed.

Kathy woke up first a few hours later and rolling out of bed, tried to wake up enough to go to the bathroom. Her whole body objected. As she rounded the corner of the bed, she saw Aleksandra, looking up at her. Kathy crouched down and scritched her left ear.

“Good morning, Little One,” Kathy said softly. “Did you sleep well? Did you have sweet dreams?”

Aleks leaned her head into Kathy’s fingers. That felt good!

“Right,” Kathy said, “Gotta go, Pup Pup. I’ll be back. And then I’ll take you out.”

A few moments later, Aleks heard, “Oh for crying out loud!” from the bathroom. Kathy sounded upset. Aleksandra ran down the hall to see what was going on.

“Is everything OK?” Brian called sleepily from the bed.

“Yes,” Kathy said resignedly. “The dog peed on the bathroom floor, and I stepped in it.”

“Do you need a hand?” Brian asked, blearily.

Kathy pulled out some cleaning supplies and began cleaning the floor. “No. It’s a one-person job.” Kathy looked at the puppy. “Honestly, Aleksandra. Really?”

Aleksandra sat down and watched as Kathy moved around, cleaning. Finally, the floor and Kathy’s foot were both satisfactorily cleaned. Kathy looked down at the puppy and sighed.

“I guess we’re going to have to learn to wake up in the night so you can pee, eh, Pup Pup?”

Kathy opened the baby gate, then picked up the puppy and carried her downstairs. “Come on, Baby Girl. Let’s get you into the yard.”

Out in the yard, the early morning air smelled damp, and Aleksandra ran, happily, across the grass. There had been so many creatures out there during the night and she had to smell them all!!!

Kathy laughed as she watched the puppy scamper about. It was like Aleksandra was trying sniff everything at once, the way she twisted and turned at a mile a minute! Hopefully, soon she would realise she had to pee.

“How do I train her on this one?” Kathy said to herself a few minutes later. She’d never had a puppy before. “Go pee, Pup Pup!” she said for the umpteenth time.

Aleksandra turned toward Kathy. She recognised that name. What was ‘pee’? OOOHHH!!! That smelled like … Aleksandra gave an extra deep sniff. There was a lot of information in that sniff. It made her want to share some info, too. And she peed.

“Thank goodness,” Kathy said, gratefully. “Good girl! Time to go in the house, Aleksandra. Come!”

Aleksandra was deeply absorbed in something near the Sweet Pea. Kathy looked at her watch. 8:30. Thankfully, it was Sunday.

“Good thing I don’t have to go to work today, Little One,” Kathy said. She’d taken a couple of days off work for the trip and didn’t have to be back in until Tuesday. “In two days, somehow, you’re going to have to go on my schedule.” Kathy chuckled, “As if that’s going to happen.”

Suddenly, Aleksandra let loose with a full-blown bark-fest in what was already a surprisingly deeply resonant voice. She barrelled out of the Sweet Pea patch toward the back of the garden.

“What the …?” Kathy said. Then, one of the neighbourhood cats jumped up on the frost fencing at the end of the yard. Aleksandra tore back there, barking as if the world were about to end. “Oh man, that’s going to wake the neighbourhood. All right, Little One. Time to come in the house. C’mon, Aleksandra!”

But Aleksandra was much more interested in that cat!! She could see it sitting on the other side of the fence, grooming itself, elaborately unconcerned with the bellowing puppy. Kathy looked around helplessly for a bit, unsure how to call the pup off without just picking her up and carrying her in. 

Finally, she ran into the house and grabbed a bag of treats and the leash. She marched to the now howling puppy, muttering to herself, “Oh my god, her howl is adorable!!!!” as she went. Snapping the leash onto Aleksandra’s collar, she then reached into the treat bag. “Here, let’s see if I can get your attention with this.”

Aleksandra was just about to start off again when she smelled it. Food!!!! She turned to Kathy and greedily gobbled the treat. Just as Kathy started to walk to the house, holding the leash with the happy puppy on the end of it, the cat moved. Aleksandra saw it out the corner of her eye and she was off! She hurled herself against the leash, jerking Kathy’s shoulder uncomfortably, as she did. Kathy was afraid she’d throttle herself!

“Or dislocate my shoulder. That would so suck. Goodness you’re strong!”

Kathy bent over, picked up the puppy and carried her into the house. Coffee beckoned!

Inside, the coffee machine had started on its timer and was just finishing its brew. Kathy poured herself a cup of coffee and put all the food bowls on the counter. From her spot at Kathy’s feet, Aleksandra watched intently, nose twitching, as she measured out cat food and refreshed the cats’ water. Stopping for a sip of coffee, she put puppy food in Aleksandra’s bowl and with Aleksandra practically walking on her heels, crossed to the corner under the window and put it down with fresh water. While the puppy was distracted by food, she put down the cats’ bowls and their water in the galley area, picked up her coffee and closing the baby gate behind her, stepped through to the kitchen. The cats could get to their food through the slats in the gate. The puppy could not.

Putting her coffee down on the coffee table in the living room, Kathy turned on the TV to her favourite Sunday morning show, then went to the front door for the newspaper that was already sitting on the porch.  Back in the living room, Kathy could hear the puppy eating, as she curled up on the couch with her pen, ready to tackle the crossword. She had just found it and folded the paper, when Aleksandra joined her.

“That was quick, Little One,” Kathy said, giving the pup’s head a scrub. Aleksandra yipped at her, as she took a sip of coffee.

Aleksandra watched Kathy put the mug back down on the table. She was just tall enough to see over the top and was curious about what that thing was that Kathy had. She moved over and smelled at the cup.

“Want to know what I have?” Kathy said. “Here. Have a sniff.” The puppy tentatively put her nose near the hot mug and sniffed. Her nose wrinkled in disgust, and she jumped back. She looked up at Kathy, then back at the mug, then back up to Kathy, clearly wondering why anyone would drink that stuff. Kathy laughed in delight. “I didn’t get it either, when I was little.”

She went back to her crossword, while Aleksandra went exploring back in the kitchen. It was important to make sure that humans didn’t drop any food that needed eating. Following her nose along the bottom of the cupboards to the baseboards, she stopped suddenly as something caught her attention.

“What the …,” Kathy said to herself in the living room a moment later. “Have the cats done a protest poop?”

But no. There by the island was little Aleksandra, happily finishing a very large, post-breakfast poop.

“How does something your size create something so big?! On my new floor!!!” Kathy cried out. Picking the puppy up, she took her down the stairs to the back door and put her in the yard. “This is where you poop, Little One,” she said firmly, “not in the kitchen!”

Kathy whirled around, closing the door behind her. For a moment the bewildered puppy stared at the door. Then she heard a bee buzzing around a rose bush and went to investigate.

Inside the house Kathy grabbed a poop bag and picked up the offending poop, putting it on a piece of yesterday’s newspaper. She picked up the paper towel and cleanser and cleaned up the mess. She put it all into an old grocery bag and carried it out the back door to the big black garbage bin.

Still feeling a bit irritated, she scanned the garden for the puppy and felt all her irritation fade into mush as she saw Aleksandra with her nose in a Day Lily. Her hand went to her heart and she melted with the adorableness of it. “Aaaaaaah,” was all she could say. She crouched down near the puppy and reached out her hand.

“Hello, Sweetness,” she said softly as the puppy came over to sniff her fingers. Kathy gently stroked Aleksandra’s face, down her nose and around her eyes to her ears, where she gave a special scritch before running them down her ears and starting the whole process again. Puppy eyes and human locked for a moment and Aleksandra wriggled with delight. She slipped between Kathy’s bent knees and put her head on the thigh, as arms wrapped around her and cradled her gently. Slowly, her neck relaxed and she nuggled in closer.

This was Aleksandra’s world, now. And that was just fine with her.  

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