SINGLE DIGITS

Over the past few weeks, I have begun to notice that Jade is growing up. It’s a sad thing when you recognize that the inevitable is, in fact, occurring. At the same time, there are wonderful developments that coincide with the process. There is an elegance in behavior that develops, replacing some of the puppy boisterousness, although retaining the corresponding joy and sense of humor. And there is that marvelous coat that replaces the wild and wooly stuff that had to be tamed for showing. At two years old, the topcoat wasn’t dense enough to tame the underlying thick undercoat. Now, at three and a half years of age, the topcoat is finally getting long enough and heavy enough to give her side profile a top line that doesn’t pop up just past her shoulders. So, some things improve with age, in the process of building a masterpiece. These masterpieces have relatively short term limits, though, so you learn to appreciate each day as it happens.

One difference in the past few weeks is that Jade isn’t hanging back or resisting when I ask her to come inside. It has been a mild winter so far, which may contribute to her usual lack of exuberance for being outside. There have been a few days where the temperature has dropped a little, getting her hopes up. “Her” kittens are still eagerly waiting to see her, but they are beginning to grow up too.

This morning was different. Jade had wanted to go outside. Greg usually lets the dogs out when he gets up, always well before sunrise, but as soon as she received her morning greetings, she asked to go back outside. I let her out, then began making my morning coffee, heaping the spoonfuls of coffee into the coffee maker. As the coffee brewed, I kept an eye on Jade. She was lying on the sidewalk at the foot of the back steps, with her head to the North, surveying her landscape. This and the top of the steps are the Newfie throne areas, where they lie in a regal posture, taking in the view of their surroundings and monitoring the activities.

The coffee finished brewing, and I had a mug ready with cream. I poured the coffee in slowly, watching as the perfect tawny hue developed, signaling the optimal ratio of coffee to cream. Then I added the turbinado sugar. Once coffee perfection was achieved, I walked to the back door to check on Jade, who was still fulfilling her role. There was a significant chill in the air, and it has been in the 20s for the past couple of nights, but I decided to check the thermometer Р9.7 degrees F!

Good or bad? This is a matter of perspective, of course, and when viewed from the perspective of a Newfoundland, this is fantastic! The next best thing to snow!

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