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Maizey hasn’t ever been inside this house.
Dropped off here at the farm long ago,
she has always been a farm dog,
making her rounds,
keeping a keen nose to the slightest
change in the air
and barking at whatever she felt needed
fending off.
In winter, she and her son Joe,
kept each other company,
curling up in the hay in the barn.
But Joe died in the fall
and Maizey, a good 15 years old,
shivers now
alone.
It has taken gentle pushing
to get her to cross over the doorstep
and come inside.
Temperature tonight is predicted to be 3 degrees F,
with a windchill of -9. It is imperative
that Maizey come in.
Her first evening indoors,
night before last,
there was much pacing,
tentative sniffing
and more gentle pushing
to get her to step across the threshold
to go out
and come back in again.
She now goes in and out without hesitation—
well, when she sniffed the snow out the backdoor
early this morning,
she turned around and came back in. Later,
she stepped out onto the porch—
and came back after one trot round
around the yard.
She likes sleeping on the rug in the bedroom,
the mat in front of the wood-burning stove.
I like her inside
wherever she wants to be.
The warmth is critical for her,
as is the warmth of her company
for me.