Sighing, I check the clock. 5:35 pm. Another late night. I shut down my computer and pack up my back, stretching a kink from my back. I see a few scattered lights down the hall as I shut my office door and head downstairs to leave. At least I’m not the only one working late.
It’s a quick walk to my car, made faster as I jog through the chill of a lingering winter. The car is cold, steering wheel like an icicle as I wait for the heat to kick in. One benefit of working late is less traffic on my commute home, the usual 40 minutes taking only 25.
By the time I pull into the driveway, I’m wondering if it’s too early to go to bed, head pounding with what I’m positive is a headache brought on by chronic stress. I rest my head on the door as I unlock it, closing my eyes for a moment. It’s a solid 0.2 seconds after I open the door before Samson barrels into me.
“Oof! Hey there, buddy,” I say, crouching down to pet him as he licks my chin. “I missed you too, Sammy. Long day?”
He barks, licking my chin once more before flopping onto the floor where I can rub his belly.
“You’re a goof, Sammy. Walk?”
He jumps up, barking and running over to where his leash hangs, tail wagging hard enough to power a jet engine. His excitement is contagious, that unconditional love and affection humans struggle so hard with but pets have so naturally. I clip on his leash, the tension from the day easing away as we walk around the block. There’s nothing quite like a dog to cheer you up.