The dogs keep staring at me. Why? What is the matter with you, dogs?
They are pacing my office, stopping to watch me with hopeful, expectant, crazed eyes, and I have no idea what they want from me. Is it a tornado? Impending inland tsunami? Are they hungry, bored, thirsty, in need of a pet?
In tandem they place their little paws on my leg and raise themselves up and grin, staring manically.
I pet them, briefly, while they grin and stare, but it only makes them jealous of each other. "Go on, get down."
They retreat, but only to my feet.
It's unnerving. It's like trying to read the newspaper while someone reads over your shoulder. You know they're there, reading over your shoulder, even if they're doing it quietly. I can see you, dogs! Good grief. What the hell?
Twice, recently, Suzi has had brief episodes of behaving like a regular dog: she's played fetch with a ball. She performs this dog-like trick just long enough to make us think it's repeatable, and then, less than a minute into the game, she stops cold and ignores the ball, which thunks sadly to the floor, instantly forgotten.
"But Suzi," we say hopefully, momentarily believing in her dog-like potential, "look, it's the ball, don't you want to chase it?"
Suzi gazes off into the distance, pretending never to have been involved in such indignities. Was it an hallucinatory episode? "No, but really, she was chasing the ball and bringing it back to me! You saw her, didn't you? Didn't you?"
Suzi is the smaller one, a neurotic ball of nerves and need, and DJ is slightly larger, and essentially untrainable, although she can perform spontaneous backflips when her dinner is being served; and the dogs seem to be getting old, suddenly, and that worries me. We don't know how old they are, as they came to us having been rescued from an over-crowded pound in Ohio. I have pangs, thinking about them being old, perhaps older than we've guessed. I look for new grey hairs around their muzzles.
I check the Weather Network. No signs of tornado or tsumani. I open the back door. They show no interest in going out. Apparently they just want watch me, anxiously.
Um, okay, dogs. (I'm fine, I think. But you're making me wonder …)