I used to read a lot more. Before my puppy, that is. Before Finnegan arrived in my home and took over. Before his razor-sharp teeth left scars on my legs and threatened to destroy everything in their path. The days of lazing around on the couch with a coffee and book became a distant memory.
The first time he saw me reading, he watched with curiosity as I turned the page. He made his slow approach, then took a bite out of the page before I even knew what happened. Another time I left a paperback on the couch and went to the kitchen for a snack. When I returned he was chewing the side of my book, defiantly maintaining eye contact the whole time. He didn’t like seeing a book in my lap. That was his spot.
He made it impossible to read. And so, the books remained unread. My library books were returned before I had the chance to open them. I continued to buy books, of course, because that’s what I do. But those, too, would remain unread, their spines begging to be cracked if I could only find the time.
What surprised me about all this wasn’t so much that it was happening, but that I didn’t care.
My mornings on the couch were different now. They revolved around this furry little creature who I didn’t deserve. Who snuggled his cold, wet nose into my neck in the morning, and who made me laugh every day by simply living his glorious puppy life.
One morning I took out a book I’d really been looking forward to reading. I placed a full mug of coffee on the table. I prepared for the resistance. And then I watched as Finnegan curled up into a tight ball next to me. I read a page. And then another. Before I knew it, he was sleeping and I was reading the way I used to. It felt like before, only different. Because now I had a reading companion. I never even knew I needed one, but in that moment, I couldn’t imagine my life without him.