Respect the poodle.

The pack had been shacking up at Mr. Wonderful’s house for two weeks. Foxie Doxie loves the wall-to-wall carpeting, and Geriatric Poodle has a visible sense of accomplishment anytime he goes up or down the stairs. We were in a routine.

Except for the Super Bowl incident when Geriatric Poodle knocked over the dog food and the humans didn’t figure it out until halftime, after Foxie Doxie had eaten approximately seven times his weight in kibble. That wasn’t exactly routine.

We migrated back to my house this past weekend, and Geriatric Poodle has had a hard time adjusting.

It seems that in our absence, he forgot the layout of the house.

He’ll stand in the middle of the hallway and be confused about where everybody went. Or he’ll stare at a wall, wondering when the door will open.

One morning, he didn’t follow Foxie Doxie out of the bedroom after I freed them from their kennels. I found my 11-pound ball of black fluff leaning against the side of the bed, unsure of where to venture next.

He hears clapping, but it reverberates off the wood floors, so he can’t always figure out where it’s coming from. He also hears the doorbell, and, as I learned while watching a show about Scotland on the Travel Channel, he also hears bagpipes.

Maybe I should start playing the bagpipes and lead him around the house with them. Hmm.

So, we’ve been readjusting and figuring things out. Sometimes Foxie Doxie helps his brother out, but the dachshund? Sort of a me-centric being.

Last night, I was puttering about the house in my pajamas. Considering that it’s freezing and I’m tired and stressed, this was the ultimate in luxury. Fleece pjs on a Monday night? Don’t mind if I do.

I went down into the basement. The dogs have never been allowed in the basement. They stand at the top of the steps and peer out into the great unknown. Seeing as how it’s dark and creepy and I found a brown recluse spider down there a few days ago, I don’t like it myself. And yet, I venture out sans canine protection.

Until last night.

I was three steps from the bottom when I heard a sick thud-thud-thud behind me. I watched Geriatric Poodle’s body bowling past me. And then I saw it splay out on the cement floor.

My first thought? I have to change my clothes.

I have to change my clothes. I’ll call Mr. Wonderful from the car. I’ll call him and he will meet us at the emergency vet. He’ll meet us and I’ll be wearing a bra and everything will be fine. It will be fine because I will it to be so.

Geriatric Poodle gathered himself up. He’d just fallen down a flight of 12 open, wooden stairs and fallen hard on a cement floor.

He gathered himself up, took a slow inventory of his body parts, and then … started to explore the basement.

I gave him a thorough pat-down. No yelping. No protruding bones.

One rather sore but just fine Geriatric Poodle.

One adrenaline-riddled mama in need of a stiff drink and a baby gate.

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