A good and patient, caretaking dog helps in novel writing I believe. Jesse the dog normally sleeps in a small bed by the foot of our bed. But on nights when I’m up late writing, he won’t officially retire with Maurizio, but stations himself in the hall just outside my study. He seems to be sleeping but is ever attentive to certain sounds. The “shut down” Word command, the pushing in of the keyboard tray, my standing and stretching and the apparently particular sound of the chair wheels when this happens.
He’s on his feet by the time I turn out the light and leads me, or so it seems, to the kitchen. He looks in, looks up, ever hopeful. The message, I believe, is that even in our largely vegetarian household I just might feel moved to cook up a large midnight steak and give it to him. Could happen. It never does, but he always stops at the kitchen. He takes me to the front door so he can take his toilette among the perennials. Then, constantly looking back to make sure I’m following, he leads the way upstairs and to our respective beds. Whether the day’s output was a hundred or a thousand words, or only the polishing of extant phrases, Jesse brings a comforting closure.