You wake up before I do – you always did, and by the time that I’m blinking away the night’s dreams, you already have your heavy paw on my chest. But like me you’re not so awake yet, either. You might grumble and growl and try to call me back to bed but you’re not so tough – yet. I get an hour or two before I start to feel the fluttering in the cavity behind my ribs; or the lump in the back of my throat.

An hour or two to get the house in order, to feed the animals and to snuff at the day. It’s not enough but it has to do. You and me, we can make this work.

Me and my dog. If you look out for me, you know I’ll always be here for you.