Four in the morning, and the night is eerily still, but I am wakened from fitful sleep by the moon shining through the cracks in the vertical blinds that block the view from our bedroom window. Moonlight is magical that way, slipping inside through nooks and crannys far too subtle for the relentless sun.

I was floating on waves of dreams, but they wanted to pull me under the surface, and I kept waking myself, afraid of drowning. I feel both grandparents close to me, but their presence is more troubling than soothing right now. Almost, I think they want me to tell their story, but then I think, no, my grandmother gave that task to my aunt.

I get up, go to the bathroom, and sit, reading, on the toilet for a while. My mind is halfway between sleep and real wakefulness, but my body is reminding me that I truly need rest. I come back to bed, cuddle the dog, pull out the laptop. My temperature moves from flushed to chilled, my skin prickles, the breeze from the ceiling fan is too cold, but I know in a moment it won't be cold enough.

I wish for the ease of sleep that Fuzzy has, the ability to turn off the racing of his mind, and crash hard, whenever he needs to.

I sip water. I write. I go to the window and look at the moon, notice it's hidden behind a nearly invisible cloud, just enough veiling to make it look shimmery and remote.

My dog presses his tiny body against my hip, and his breathing becomes nearly indetectable as he goes back to sleep. I decide I must follow his example.

Four fifty-four.
I have to be up in two hours.

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I got tags hung on my collar, that jing-a-ling-a-ling
I wanna go out walkin', and sniff 'most everything
But every day, it's the same ol' thing
No walkies, no playtime, until you've done the typing thing
Come on, my tail's a waggin, don't leave me in the yard
Snap on my leash, and I won't tug you too hard.

Our dogs, after living here a year, are officially Texas citizens, now, or at least, on their way to being so, since they now sport matching green rabies tags shaped like their new state.

We actually got up at 7:00 AM on a Saturday to take them to the vet at 8:15, where Zorro was the Good Dog, and Cleo tried to eat the doctor. Even with three of us holding her, she refused to allow the muzzle, so we ended up keeping her in a headlock (Fuzzy) while I scratched her chest and talked to her and tried to keep her attention focused, and the nurse held her legs, so the vet could do a blood draw from there – brave vet, and so flexible. Impressively she remained calm and patient even after she was nipped (no blood), understanding that Cleo was afraid, not being mean.

$303 and ninety minutes later, we were home with two tired dogs, each of which had just had all their shots (we waited this long because they'd had normal vaccinations just before we left California, and rabies wasn't due til this month.) We learned that there are now three-year vaccines for DHCP and Parvo, as well as rabies, and while it's a little more expensive ($21 instead of $16) it's totally worth the difference, since, over three years, it's cheaper, and we don't have to make them go through so much at once, again.

Cleo's negative for heartworm, we'll have Zorro's blood results on Monday, but we're not expecting anything different. They both need dentals, and the vet has suggested doing Zorro in October (his teeth are worse, because he's a chihuahua, and small dogs tend to have bad teeth), when they have a discount-dental month, and Cleo in February, when they do another dental discount. Assuming we don't have anything scary come up, this seems to be the plan.

We chose the vet we did because they also board, and we'll need to kennel both dogs in November and then again in December, because we have two vacations planned (Branson MO for thanksgiving, and Mexico for Christmas). All in all, they treated the dogs well, scanned their chips to make sure they're still in place (and gave me the manufacturers and chip numbers so I can update records), and confirmed that both need to lose a little weight, but both are otherwise healthy.

They did try to push pheno for Zorro, 'just in case' but I don't believe in having him on anti-seizure meds that could destroy his liver, when he hasn't had a seizure since April, 2002. And I said as much. They were interested in hearing about his accupuncture experiences – and amazed when I reported the favorable results. IF he ever starts seizing again, we'll be hunting down an alternative vet here in the Metroplex. There must be one. Meanwhile, we're watching what he eats (no msg-laden treats), and making sure he wears a tag that says I AM EPILEPTIC, in case he ever gets lost.

Fuzzy was a little concerned about the bill, but I pointed out that we only have to do this once every three years, and that usually, we don't do both dogs in the same day.

So, yeah, an expensive day.
But worth it.

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