Gary's been in Texas for five days - visiting his grandpa in the hospital, fixing his mom's roof, and playing Time Crisis on my parents' giant tv - while I've been at home missing him and sneezing until I throw up.
I've heard that dogs can tell when their owners are upset, but I really never expected that to apply to Brutus. He's just never been super affectionate towards us. (Although this has improved since the little episode with Kiya. I guess he saw how happy we were that she actually seemed to enjoy being near us and decided he better start kissing some butt if he didn't wanna get traded in for a cuddlier model.)
But I gotta say, he has really stepped it up in Gary's absence. He stays at the foot of my bed all night, even though I know he prefers spending his evenings depositing as much hair as is caninely possible on our couches; he fiercely protected me when some strangers came to the door and had the nerve to try to give me a free newspaper of some sort; and this morning he took out the trash.
Okay he didn't really take out the trash. But he did exhibit some spectacular self-restraint, the likes of which have never been seen from him and probably never will be again. I could see in his eyes that he would have loved nothing more than to drag the full bag of trash that was sitting in my kitchen halfway across the yard and make me chase him down, but even though I left him inside as I made the long trek out to roll the trash bin away from the curb, up the driveway, and into the backyard, I returned to find that the garbage bag was miraculously still intact. I had to wipe away a single, glistening tear, because that was the moment I knew he loved me. He really loved me.
P.S. Gary thought he was going home to say goodbye to his grandpa for the last time, but I'm happy to report that Paw is doing much better than we expected. Failing kidneys, schmailing schmidneys. You don't survive two wars and seven marriages by bein' a sissy; that dude is a fighter.