“The baby’s coming,” the grandmother tells the little white dog. The little white dog doesn’t care. He doesn’t know what a baby is.
The six-month-old baby comes in the night and gets whisked away to his room. The grandmother is elated. The little dog sniffs at the closed door. There’s something different in there.
In the morning the dog is worried about the baby. He wants to smell and lick him. But the grandfather, grandmother and parents won’t let him too near. The dog barks. The baby has strange smells and sounds funny. The baby babbles and cries. He drools and spits up small amounts of milk. His oatmeal gets smeared on his face.
The dog can’t get close.
The grandmother holds the baby on her lap. The dog gets put on a leash and kept just out of reach, close enough to smell but not to touch. The dog barks. The baby smiles. The grandmother says, “Hush” to the dog, and “Down.” The dog lies down at the grandmother’s feet. She gives him a small piece of chicken as reward.
The grandmother feeds the baby a bottle. The dog doesn’t eat breakfast. The dog doesn’t eat dinner. He can’t take time from his vigil of watching the strange creature that has somehow taken over the household. The dog eats only the chicken the grandmother gives him. But he gets a lot of chicken. The grandmother says, “Hush” and the dog lies down. He gets more chicken.
The dog is permanently on guard. He sleeps only when the baby sleeps.
The two short days come and go. The grandmother experiences love, joy and laughter. The dog experiences frustration and fear.
The baby gets packed up to leave. The grandmother kisses the baby. The dog watches the departure preparations.
The car drives away. The grandmother stands at the door holding the little white dog and cries silent tears. The dog watches the car drive away.
The house is quiet. The grandmother misses the gurgling and cooing of the baby. She finds herself listening for his cries.
The dog stretches out on the sofa and passes out for four hours. Relief at last.