Cassie has a rug about 10 feet from the front door. It’s her place to go to when the doorbell rings and she has to wait until we tell her she can get off it and say hello. The idea, of course, is to keep her from hurling her giant self at the person coming through the door. In the kitchen she has a rug too. It’s her kitchen place and if she is in the way in the kitchen we can tell her to go to her place and that’s where she waits. In the library, which is where we spend the evenings with our laptops and the TV, she has another place. When she’s done playing for the night she crashes there, getting up to rotate every so often but most of the time staying there as though it were a giant doggy playpen. She has another “place” in my office and yet another up in our bedroom. And of course she always has her crate when she wants to retreat to her cave.

I think she likes knowing that when life gets too overwhelming and she needs a break she has a place she can go to rest and restore her spirits. When she’s feeling rejuvenated (or when we release her from a stay) she bounds forth ready to be here, be now, and be real.

What a smart dog.

I have a place too. I have a beautiful big office with a view of my new garden. There are still things to be done there, tweaking and some more shelves and I probably ought to throw a few things away, but it’s a beautiful room with a big antique oak teacher’s desk for my computer and an antique library table facing it, covered with my latest research books. I have a comfy reading chair facing the garden with a view of the bubbling rock and the bird bath.

But I don’t write in my office.

Instead I sit on the couch in the library with a lapdesk on a pillow across my knees. I shove a couple of pillows behind my back and type in a position that is far from ergonomic. I know this because my shoulder is getting worse and my wrists are complaining and basically I hurt all the time.

What a silly human.

Right now it’s late evening. Cassie is curled up in her bed in front of the fireplace, grunting or groaning every so often, reminding us in her doggy voice that she is still here, still watching over us. Her tail goes thump, thump, thump, and I have to smile, wondering what she’s dreaming of.

What a smart, happy dog.

Me? I’m sitting on the couch, hunched over the laptop, trying to remember if I have any Motrin left to take later.

I don’t know what keeps me from writing in my special place but I think I need to figure it out.