Once a month Andy would wake alone in her bed. It wasn’t unpleasant, per se, especially when it meant that her day would be about as adventurous as a day at home could get. That morning, however, she awoke to a ruckus, which meant only one thing. Or, three things, she supposed. Three hungry things that she had to tend to before the mutiny set in. Rolling out of bed and putting on her favourite robe, she wandered out of her room and to the library where the loves of her life were wreaking havoc.
The moment she stepped through the doorway, she froze in place. A small bundle of white fur dashed past her, being chased by a bigger blur. The couch pillows were thrown across the floor, books and DVDs were scattered everywhere, the rug was flipped over at the edges. It was chaos, pure and simple.
“Okay, rugrats,” Andy called out, garnering the attention of three bright pairs of blue eyes. One pair in particular shone with relief, their owner panting with exertion. “Settle down.”
The smaller of the two puppies gave a high-pitched bark before launching herself into another game of chase. She bumped into her twin, encouraging her to join in on the fun, and the two were off like a shot, chasing each others’ tails and avoiding their mother every time she tried to grasp them with her teeth.
“Girls,” Andy sighed, rubbing her forehead. She looked at the bigger dog in the room, and found an exasperated expression that was so very Miranda that she almost laughed. They shared a silent moment of understanding before starting the challenging but familiar task of damage control. It was time for Andy to call in the big guns.
Breakfast was a good distraction for about five seconds. Within half an hour the puppies were only the gusts of wind they left in their wake, zooming around as if the vases on the side tables didn’t cost more than Andy’s life insurance. She made a note to put away all the expensive and breakable items for next month. With her quick thinking, she herded the puppies (the sheer irony of it almost making her laugh out loud) into the backyard so they could tire themselves out enough for a nap later. Andy was already exhausted.
“Now, you two,” she said. “Just because you’re in this form doesn’t mean you get to break the house rules. You can play and run around, but we do it outside , not inside.”
Caroline yapped at her, but Andy ignored it completely. Miranda, on the other hand, bared her teeth at her daughter in reprimand for “talking back”, and then led the way out to the back garden. As soon as the glass door slid open, the girls rushed off to play on the grass while Miranda flopped onto the outdoor settee. She settled in to doze almost immediately, snoring quietly after just a few minutes. Stroking her soft fur before going to play with the twins, Andy wondered how long the girls had been awake before her, and just what horrors they’d put Miranda through. Her poor, pretty girl…
Playing fetch with the girls while they were ambling little creatures was one of Andy’s favourite pastimes. Especially when they were as averse as their mother to the idea when they were human girls. The amount of times that Andy had heard “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen, Andy. It’s not gonna happen.” And yet, here they were happily leaping after the smaller tennis ball that Andy kept in the toy box. Thankfully, they seemed to tire of the ball about the time that Andy’s arm began aching. Small mercies...
After an impressive amount of time spent chasing and tumbling around the backyard, Cassidy approached and stood on her hind legs to place her paws on the chair. Andy found herself on the receiving end of very strategic puppy eyes, and felt herself melt.
“Oh, alright,” she said, tapping the space next to her. “Come on.”
Cassidy jumped up eagerly, laying down by Andy’s leg and resting her snout on her lap. Andy smiled and scratched behind her ears until Cassidy’s eyes fell shut. Caroline, for her part, leaped onto the lounge chair next to her mother and jerked her awake, much to Miranda’s exasperation. The puppy climbed up her torso, pressing her paws uncomfortably on her mother’s head and munching on her floppy ears. Miranda huffed, growling in annoyance, but Caroline could not be stopped. Andy shared a sympathetic look with Miranda, almost laughing at the obvious dismay in sharp blue eyes. Andy let Caroline torment Miranda for only a moment longer before she shooed her away from Miranda’s face.
“Hey, leave your mother alone,” she reprimanded. “She’s had a long day because of you demons.”
Miranda sent her a grateful look that didn’t need any words. Andy smiled at her before scratching behind her tousled ears, rubbing her neck in just the way she knew Miranda loved. Her tail started wagging in glee, thumping against the chair until Caroline pounced on it, chasing it with her teeth and pulling on it. Miranda whined in aggravation, looking so put out that Andy knew what she had to do.
She stood, scooped up both puppies in her arms, and heralded Miranda back inside. It was much easier to move the puppies when they were sleepy, she reasoned, as she climbed the stairs up to the family room. Miranda had loosened incredibly on the ‘no weres on the furniture’ rule, to the delight of literally everyone.
“Nap time,” Andy whispered into Caroline’s scruff, kissing her head and settling her into her favoured corner of the large sofa. “You, too,” she said to Cassidy, kissing her and laying her next to her sister. They circled around each other a few times, tumbled over a limb a time or two, before finally settling into their usual comfortable positions, with Cassidy’s head draped over Caroline’s back. Andy and Miranda both settled in their favourite spot at the other end of the couch, watching as the puppies yawned widely, their eyes dropping shut.
“Thank god,” Andy breathed when she was sure they were asleep. Miranda huffed her agreement from atop Andy, settling her snout under the brunette’s chin and letting out a deep breath. Soon, Andy was the only one left awake. She watched the three white tufts of fluff sleep for a while, feeling a telltale warmth spread through her chest.
Days like these were exhausting. It was difficult enough to manage one dog, let alone two hyper-active puppies. But in moments like these, where they all settled down and cuddled together, Andy would never change it for the world. Tomorrow, Miranda would tell her daughters off for the sheer amount of chaos they so delighted in unleashing upon them, and the girls would once again promise to behave better next month. But for now, Andy simply held Miranda closer, burying her face in the long white fur, relishing in the peacefulness settling over her until she, too, was lulled to sleep.