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Guardian of the Hallway

by Adrien Blake 6 days ago in dog



To be honest, I don’t really remember much. The first section of the memory that I want to talk about of my first dog was from when I was younger, probably a little over ten years ago. That is why you’ll notice me slipping into past tense a lot or mentioning some things in vague terms because some things I remember, but others are just vague notions. I don’t remember much, but when I do think back on the memory, I can’t help but smile. Even as I write now, I have a stupid smile upon my face. My parents used to record videos of it, and I watch those videos way too many times to be healthy.

To start off with, I was the kind of kid that just couldn’t keep in place. I had a very specific bedtime and would often try to sneak out of my room past said bedtime to either play with my toys or maybe grab a drink from the kitchen; surprisingly, it was the latter option most of the time. My first dog knew well that I shouldn’t be outside my room after a specific point. To be fair, I don’t really know how he picked up on this in the first place, but somehow my pug did and tasked himself with enforcing the law.

Cosmo is a chubby pug with light fur on almost all of his body. Cosmo had a really dark face though, smushed as is expected of a pug. He also had big black eyes and a tiny little nose. Cosmo was big for a pug too, roughly around thirty pounds and had so many wrinkles that it was borderline shocking. Cosmo wasn’t overweight, he just had a really big dad and Cosmo had been one of the biggest pups in his litter. Cosmo also had the cutest little face! His paws were all tiny and cute and I remember how one of my favorite things to do was to hold his paws. Cosmo didn’t really like when people touched his paws but he never minded me. It even confused my parents. Although he got sick often and, as he grew older, he started to go blind. Eventually, Cosmo was almost entirely blind. Cosmo had to take a lot of medications, which he hated to take, and often we had to clean the wrinkles on his face because food got smushed up in them. Cosmo loved food! Loves it! Some other cute facts about my little pug is that he loved to snuggle in the blankets, was more clever than people gave him credit, and didn’t take to being an older brother to another pup very much but, well, they snuggled together too many times for Cosmo to really be against the pup.

It happened by accident a few times. I would sneak out of my room, and, to my surprise and utter delight, there would be Cosmo sitting at the end of the hallway, eyeing me. Whenever I stepped out of my room, he would let out this little burst of a choppy bark and suddenly charge at me. I remember giggling and ducking back into my room, noting that my pug would stop and shuffle his way back to the end of the hallway again. So, I would pop my head out and stare down my little pug. Or large pug. Cosmo was not little; he was cubby and adorable and loved to plop himself in my dad or I’s laps. Cosmo used to trip my mum a lot. She used to say all the time that he would wait around corners just so that he could trip her! Considering that I have quite a few pictures of Cosmo peeking his head around corners and eyeing my mother, I wouldn’t be surprised.

After testing this little thing that I accidentally discovered, I noticed my pug doing it quite often. I tested it for multiple days, which probably wasn’t smart, but Cosmo was used to these kinds of shenanigans. I used to chase the dog around with a Nerf gun (I never hurt him, and everything was foam! Cosmo usually got back at me by tripping me and sitting on my chest, so it was fair.) I told my parents about it after trying it a few more times and getting the same results. Cue the question of my parents asking me why I was leaving my room in the first place but, regardless, they grew curious as to why Cosmo would just wait at the end of the hall at night. They said that they noticed that he wouldn’t sleep in the master bedroom with them but didn’t think much of it. Cosmo knew not to get into stuff and was pretty much harmless and preferred to sleep instead of chewing or messing with things that he shouldn’t be.

My parents didn’t say anything more on the topic for a few nights; but eventually, my mum told me to go in my room and, when I saw the light flash under my door, time for five minutes afterwards and walk out. I have to admit, I was worried that Cosmo wouldn’t act the same way now that my parents were clearly going to see everything, so we wanted to just make sure that he didn’t see a connection or something and think that I was allowed to leave my room. In the morning, my parents told me that, after I was “sent” to bed, Cosmo immediately moved from where he had been tucked underneath the coffee table we had in the living room and laid down at the end of the hall instead. Cosmo laid down and plopped his head upon his paws, but he wasn’t snoring and, trust me, everyone knew when that dog was sleeping because he snored loudly! When Dad walked over to Cosmo, asking our pug what he was doing, Dad also flashed the light, which I noticed from the crack at the bottom of my door.

I remember tiptoeing across my room and slowly cracking my door open once the five minutes were over with. The hallway was dark, but I could see the way Cosmo immediately lifted his head when he noticed that my door was opening. I peeked my head out and Cosmo lurched to his feet, his cute barks echoing down the hallway. I remember staring down my dog. I was also at the angle where I could kind of see my parents on the couch but my vision kind of sucks, so they were a blur more than anything. But I could see well enough to tell that Cosmo’s bark got their attention. I snuck out into the hall, and Cosmo barked, but he didn’t move yet. At this point, I could hear Mum begin to laugh. I remember walking forward slowly, kind of in that way you do when you want to make your dog act all crazy. I’ve seen videos on it, although I didn’t know that kind of walk was actually a thing way back when. I probably got maybe two-thirds down the hall before Cosmo suddenly ran after me, barking the whole while, and only stopped when I was “safely” back inside my room. I remember being able to hear the way both my parents were laughing, Cosmo likely encouraged by the joyous sounds. Over and over that night, I would prompt my pug into chasing me, and Mum got the camera out and recorded it. It quickly became a game after that. I couldn’t stop myself and, to be honest, I think Cosmo enjoyed herding me back into my room. This game of ours had spanned over multiple moves. The layout of the house didn’t matter, and I swear that dog specifically looked for where my room would be just so he knew where to herd me when I tried to “sneak” out. Somehow, Cosmo always found the location in the house where he could see everything, where he just knew that he’d always be able to catch me leaving my room.

Things changed when Cosmo got older, and he started getting sicker. My family also moved a lot, and I suppose it started to take a toll on my pug. Cosmo didn’t move around as much as time went on, didn’t like to be touched as much, didn’t really play with his toys anymore. As Cosmo’s black fur started to shift into white, his movements began to slow and, eventually, some days he wouldn’t even get up unless it was to go outside and use the bathroom. When Cosmo did move around, he used to bump into walls or our legs, often tucking himself into a safe place or alcove where he knew he couldn’t bump into things anymore. At points, Cosmo was afraid to leave that alcove and refused unless he knew he could follow the sound of our voice or if somebody was leading him around the house. Dad also had to leave a lot when I was younger, often for super long business trips, and my pug was always depressed when Dad left. Mum did her best, but Cosmo never really connected to her and, eventually, Cosmo stopped responding to me too. He didn’t respond to anybody anymore. I was getting worried, and I knew that pugs didn’t have the longest lifespans. With Dad leaving a lot and Cosmo getting older, we had to deal with the very real possibility that our pug would pass away while Dad wasn’t even home. I remember being so upset too, just watching the very dog that I grew up with slowly losing himself. I had Cosmo since I was three years old. He’s the closest thing I have to a twin, technically, as weird as that sounds. We were raised together. Whenever I was upset, which slowly increased as we moved more and more, with Dad gone and Mum always stressed; when I got upset, Cosmo would always sit at my feet and either look around or just stare at me, and he would allow me to hug him for however longed I needed, even after he didn’t like to be touched as much.

Slowly, the years went by. One night, I couldn’t sleep and went down to the kitchen to get some cold water. I didn’t have a bedtime anymore considering that, when this happened, I was getting ready to graduate high school. When Dad was gone, Cosmo didn’t like to sleep in the master bedroom. As Cosmo got older, he had trouble climbing up the stairs of our new house and, eventually, just stopped trying to get up there at all. We had to carry him up the stairs. I didn’t realize that Cosmo had been in the living room, hidden behind the couch, or in-front of it since the back of the couch was facing the kitchen. I remember that I had just opened the fridge door when I heard this little burst of sound. I remember looking around, even remember the feeling of scrunching up my nose and furrowing my eyebrows in confusion because I couldn’t figure out what the sound was. Then I heard it again, slightly louder. I remember the way that I was kneeled so that I could get some water out of the fridge. I remember looking over my shoulder and seeing this bulky silhouette standing next to the couch, eyeing me. Me! I remember slowly standing up, eliciting another bark out of the aging pug. I lifted my head up but I still remember the feeling of the way my lips curled upwards at the edges. I slowly placed my bottle on one of the counters, the sound pulling out another bark and Cosmo stood straighter than I had seen from him in a long time. And the whole time, he never looked away from me. Even as I slowly walked round the kitchen island, I still remember the way my pug’s face would move as his big black eyes followed me. This blind dog who bumped into walls and legs could see me as if he had been that same pup he had been all those years ago. To this day, I swear those short bursts of barks was Cosmo telling me to get upstairs and head back to my room. I remember the way Cosmo and I had a stare down before the dog suddenly rocketing forward!

I raced around the counter! Cosmo followed! I could hear him barking, the sound of his nails clicking against the wooden floors. I remember looking over my shoulder and seeing that the dog wasn’t running into anything! I raced upstairs and Cosmo followed without hesitation! I remember laughing so loudly, racing all around my house and making the loudest ruckus at two in the morning. I remember how Mum came storming out of her room but, in an instant, her face softened. I didn’t see it, but when we talked about it the next morning, she told me how happy she had been. She was still irritated at having been woken up, but she told me that she couldn’t have been upset due to the sight that had been in front of her door that night. She said that couldn’t be angry because she saw me laying on the ground, flat upon my back, breathlessly laughing as Cosmo lumped himself upon my stomach. Cosmo was near my face, still barking at me, and I remember the feeling of how he basically hopped at every bark. I still remember feeling his tail brushing against my hand languidly. I smiled so brightly, the corners of my mouth actually going tight, as I suddenly realized that Cosmo was wagging his tail. Cosmo was out of breath, sure, but the way he looked made it seem like he was smiling down at me. And Cosmo was still watching me, like he could see clearly for the first time in months. Still barking, of course, because I wasn’t in bed yet. After that, Cosmo followed me around the house whenever Dad wasn’t home, and even then, he could be found at my feet more often than not. This is my favorite memory of him. For one stupidly amazing night, we were back to being a weird kid who couldn’t stay in his room after bedtime and his little canine brother.


Adrien Blake

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