I became more aware of the peculiarities of a relationship with my companion animal, as the more sensitive among us would have it, after retirement. The rhythm of one's day becomes slack -- it loses the snap that a work schedule and commuting to the office brings to the weekday. A dog then brings its own rhythm to your day.
Trixie the Tibetan quickly sensed the rhythm vacuum, and supplied her own, one that is tailored to her more focused needs and wishes: morning and afternoon walks, accompanied by cheese treats freely given for not running away or lagging too far behind on garbage day, replete with delicious smells that we human companions do not perceive; prompt notification if the opportunity for participation in an afternoon nap arises; belly rubs after dinner (or any other time an occasion for a rub presents itself); placement of dinner plates on the floor for licking before they are put in the dishwasher; notification when there is availability of peanut sharing (one for me, one for you...) when it is time for a glass of wine, a good book, and music (and thee, she would add, meaning her); predictable making of the bed so she can lie right in the middle, making it nearly impossible to move the bedspread. It goes on, of course, as any Tibetan companion can tell you, but what is notable is the regularity of the rhythm. The schedule is precise, and when deviated from, the deviation is brought to the human companion's attention after a suitable interval of waiting. The insistent nudge in the knee or thigh is a signal that time for walk, treat, play with a toy, or belly rub is overdue.
I first noticed that she had an impeccable sense of clock (human) time when the firm nudge first came at 3 PM, then at 15 minute intervals thereafter, until I stopped whatever less-important task I was occupied with and took her for the afternoon walk. I know none of this is news, but it is by way of recommending my birthday book to anyone in search of an utterly delightful and sophisticated compendium of dog stories, poetry, and cartoons. The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs is best consumed in 20-30 minute doses, after peanuts and red wine...on schedule.at 6:15 PM...after a 4 PM walk...and before a 9 PM belly rub.
Pictoral proof is supplied in the family album.