Who’s Pullin’ My Tail?!

I shouldn’t be amused by this, but I am. I won’t win any Mother of the Year awards for telling this story, either. But we roll with humor in this house, so here goes.

Harley has developed a new habit of standing on his tail while he tries to rise from a reclining position. As he lifts his hips to begin the standing motion, he meets resistance at about six inches off the ground because his tail is under his own back foot.

Harley is a curler when he naps. Remember those folding wooden rulers carpenters kept close at hand? They were yellow and hinged at every six or eight inches. Yeah, that’s Harley with his tail wrapped snugly against his body. As with most naps, the problem starts when he wakes. As he languidly extends those long back legs, his tail usually ends up underneath one of his ankles or paws when they return to the napping surface.

This didn’t use to be a problem. He could rock this way or that to release the furry rope. He’s not the nimble boy he used to be, so subtle weight shifts are a thing of the past. (OK, let’s be honest. He’s never been that nimble. More gawky teenager still trying to figure out what to do with unmanageable arms and legs is closer to the truth.) Now, when his tail gets caught as he’s rising, he just tries to yank it out from under his foot and hopes for the best. It doesn’t always end well.

Let’s add sound to this image. He’s always been clear about the amount of effort it requires to lift his body from his royal sphinx position. It’s not really a groan so much as a prolonged straining sound, like he’s lifting a piano or doing a convincing Sisyphus impersonation. But when he hits that six-inch mark, his breath catches, sort of a “What the…Who’s pullin’ my tail?!” Then light dawns over Marblehead and he thuds back onto the bed or floor.

The look after tonight’s failed attempt was classic Harley. “Huh. Um, don’t laugh, Mom. Got my damn tail caught again.”

“It’s OK, buddy. Need some help lifting that ass-end?”

“Nah, I got it this time. Thanks, though.”

And with another Herculean strain, he begins the lifting process—this time with his tail safely clear of the hefting apparatus. He is up and pads toward the kitchen by way of his food bowl, stopping briefly to see if any nibbles have miraculously appeared while he was napping. Nothing has. He deserves a reward for that amazing effort so we shuffle over to the tin with Kathy’s homemade dog cookies, the ones with the peanut butter and carob icing he loves so much. A just reward for conquering gravity and his tail.


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