Routines are a funny beast. By their very definition they're a very boring sort of thing. And yet as Chance rose from the oversized cushion by his owner's bed, stretching his arms over his head and yawning like he did every morning, he could barely contain his excitement for the same tired motions he always went through. Were it not for the woman still snoring softly not a foot away he might have been tempted to trying singing. It was probably for the best that the golden retriever instead crept out of the room and down the stairs towards the kitchen, though, as he was an absolutely rubbish singer.
From there things continued as they always did. The coffee pot was flicked on, having been filled with grounds and water the night before, and began to fill the house with its delightful smell. He peeked out the front door to check the mail, placing the important ones on the counter to be read later and throwing away the useless advertisements. Then the television was turned on and flipped to the weather channel, to make sure nothing had changed since he checked it the night before. Finally, he would head back upstairs to wake his owner. Or rather, he would have if she hadn't crept up behind him and wrapped her slender arms around him from behind yet again.
"Heeeey... g'morning there, you." She would murmur down to the canine, pulling him back against her in a weary hug. Though he was of a fairly typical height for his breed, and she wasn't a large woman by any stretch of the imagination, his head would still only come to her stomach. As she woke up a bit more her grip on his would tighten, prompting him to wag against her legs.
"Morning, Ms. Marigold!"
"Man, how many times am I going to have to tell you? It's okay to call me Mari."
"Haha, sorry Mari." Chance would stand on the tips of his toes as he apologized, tilting his head back to stare into her smiling face. As he did every morning, he would marvel a little as just how pretty of a human she was. Her happy, smiling face was light-skinned but covered in a smattering of brown freckles, and her unfocussed green eyes still managed to carry a certain mirthful shine to them. Not that it was that easy to see with her tangled mess of straw blonde hair in the way. "It's the training! They told me I was always supposed to say 'Ms.', 'Mr.', or 'Mrs.' whenever I addressed somebody."
"And you've been living here for seven months, you dork. but, it's okay. I guess I can forgive you one more day. As long as you plan on making some breakfast to go with that coffee." Finally Mari would release him, stumbling over to the couch to sit down and stare towards the back window.
"Of course! Umm, did you want anything special? I was thinking of making us grilled cheese sandwiches."
"Actually, that sounds awesome! Make me three of 'em. Wait! ...two of them, actually. I don't wanna end up tossing another out later."
"Okay, two sandwiches!" It was only after he waited for her to nod and confirm the order that Chance made his way to the kitchen to start cooking. Or rather, he would've started cooking if he could have reached the counter! This was remedied by a quick trip back upstairs to nab the stepladder in the bathroom, which he used for brushing his teeth. Once unfolded he would push it to the fridge and climb up to gather the butter and cheese. It was a bit trickier to get the bread from the cupboard, but he managed it by climbing up onto the counter. From there it was only a matter ofturning the stove on and heating up the pan before he began.
"So, looks like they changed their mind about the rain today." Mari would call out to him, while waving a hand towards the television. "Are you thinking the same thing as me?"
"Umm, a walk?" Chance would reply as he flipped the first of her two sandwiches.
"Not just a walk... I'm thinking a full on park visit! Get out and enjoy the sun. I'll even let you sniff a few butts, and everything!" She could barely get the words out before she let out a girlish giggle, knowing full well that the suggestion would make his cheeks burn and his tail wag. "Maybe afterwards we can stop by someplace to eat. Lindsey told me of a really cool place that allows pets we could check out. What do you think?"
"That sounds like fun! But, uhh, only if you feel like being out that long. I could always just make us something at home. Or, we could order out." The canine helpfully suggested.
"Hmm. Actually, yeah, let's go there tomorrow. We'll pick up a pizza on the way home instead. Sound like a plan?"
"Definitely! Yours are almost done, too."
"Awesome! Then it's a date. After we eat, and I clean up a little bit, we'll get out of here." By the time she finished confirming their plans Chance would've scurried back over, setting down the plate with two hot sandwiches and her giant blue mug filled with coffee. The black beverage smelled strongly, nearly drowning out the aroma of her meal and his own faint smell. "Thanks!" Mari would laugh once more, reaching out and giving his ear a tug to draw him in. Then, placing a small kiss on the side of his head, she'd release him and turn her attention to the food.
"I hope you like it!" He'd say a little anxiously before wandering back into the kitchen to make his own meal.
"I always do, don't I?"
"What's your name?"
"Number sixteen." The golden retirever said, sounding more than a little nervous. It was hard to blame him.. he was basically auditioning for her.
"That's not what I asked, though. What's your name?" Mari idly lifted her cane, only to let it slide between her fingers and tap lightly against the floor.
"I don't have one. Whoever takes me home gets to name me." He was just been so embarassed, that he couldn't answer her question. God, he was adorable.
"Really? No name at all? Come on, surely they must call you something. I mean, do all the other dogs call you by number, too?"
"N-no. Umm, they call me 'Lucky', when the instructors aren't around."
"Lucky? Hum. I guess that's not so bad. Do you like it?"
"Uhh, n-not really. It's just a silly nickname. I mean... at night, when we're done with the training, we play cards sometimes. And I'm pretty good, so..."
"Hm. Well, I have an idea. Why don't we give 'Chance' a try? You can come home with me and see if you like how it fits." Mari found herself smirking as she made the offer, already knowing just how big of an outburst was going to come.
"Really?! Oh, thank you, Ms..." She could smell his relief as he realized he'd landed the 'gig', and hear the slight swishing of his tail cutting through the air.
"Marigold. But you can cal me Mari."
"Don't worry, Ms. Marigold, I'll be the best guide dog ever!"
"What're you thinking about?" Chance would ask as he plopped himself down on the bench beside Mari, his tail wagging and chest heaving from the marathon he'd just run. Like most park visits she had elected to sit on the bench and enjoy the atmosphere while he scratched the familiar canine itches. Chasing squirrels, mostly, with the occasional spot of digging and talking with whatever pets happened to be around. Every once in a while somebody would bring a frisbee, which could extend their stay by as long as an hour.
"Oh, nothing. Y'know... usual idle thoughts. What to get on the pizza, whether or not you might ever actually catch anything you chase, and if I put my underwear on the wrong way today." The human would say as she smiled towards him, before reaching out to find and scratch his ear.
"It's not about catching them... it's just fun to chase, sometimes! Oh, can we get onions on the pizza? I'll brush my teeth right afterwards, so my breath won't..." The canine would stop abruptly, the words becoming caught in his throat as he sheepishly peered past her to the next bench. "Umm. I think somebody is watching us!"
"Oh, really? Who is it?" Mari asked as a sly smile crept onto her face, utterly unable to hide her sparked curiousity.
"It's some guy... Oh! I think he's checking you out!"
"Really! Hah, wow. Soooo, what does he look like?"
"Like... a guy?" Chance would shift uncomfortably next to her, a little unsure of what to say. "He's... really tall. And has black hair, that's kinda long. Umm, I guess he's not bad looking." Despite her barely restrained giggles the retriever would continue describing, maintaining his rather anxious tone the entire time. "I think... he might work out? It's hard to tell from here! And he's got a lot of facial hair, I mean a big, hu-"
"Okay, okay! I think I get the idea, Chance. Thank you, though."
"Do you want me to... go over and talk to him?"
"No, no. I'm not interested in anything like that, I was just curious. I think I can do much better than that." Mari's smirk would slowly stretch into a wide and beaming smile as she looked towards him, her hand sliding up his back to scratch just behind his right ear. Reflexively his tail would pick back up, resuming its furious thumping against the bench once more. "What do you say we go ahead and get that pizza now, hm? It's starting to get a little cold out, and some of us here don't have fur."
"Of course, Mari! Just a second." Her canine companion would slowly slide down off the bench, reaching into her handbag to retrieve his leash once more. The long, blue cloth tether was quite simple in its design, sporting a plain loop connected to a metal clip by two and a half feet of material. With a quick metallic sound Chance clipped it onto the ring in his similarly colored collar, before handing off the grip to his owner. "There, all set!"
"Then, let's go!"
Chance slowly shuffled around the living room, stacking their glasses and plates up to be carried off into the kitchen. As he made his way back into the kitchen he would hum softly to himself, his tail wagging to the rhythm of the tune. Like most nights they had listened to music while they ate, and one of them had decided to stick around and linger in his head as cleaned up. After a few cautious steps up onto the ladder he would carefully set the dishes down in the sink and get onto his tip-toes to reach to turn off the faucet. Once the water began to spray out he would slowly take his time to scrub the dishes, going over each one several times before setting it in the nearby plastic dish drainer to dry off.
Once finished he would climb back and and fold the stepladder back up and set it by the stairs, where it would be ready to be toted back up to the bathroom when it was time for bed. For now he'd turn his attention back to the couch, where the pizza box lay haphazardly resting on the edge of the furniture. Before he could make it there to prevent an unfortunate spill when Mari next walked through, he would suddenly feel her arms around his middle once more.
"Oh! Hey, you scared me a little. I was just cleaning up a little..." He would explain as she hugged him close, just now noticing she had slipped from her outdoors outfit to the oversized yellow T-shirt she liked to sleep in.
"Such a helpful, responsible guide I have!" She'd laugh softly, her voice taking on a light and cheerful tone. "I was just thinking about heading up to bed, myself." After a moment longer she would release him, moving with one hand out to find her way back to the stairs.
"Oh. Oh! Sorry, if I was making too much noise. I'll try to be a little quieter as I finish up, so tha-"
"Chance." The human would stop him with a single word, her usual smile finding its way back onto her face.
"Yes, Ms. Marigold?"
"You're not going to let me go up there all alone, are you? It's such a cold night outside..." Before she even finished speaking she could feel the realization dawn on him as his excitement began to build. It started with the wag of his tail, before slowly filling the air with more of his familiar scent.
"O-of course not!" In an instant he was at her side, reaching out and grabbing her larger hand with both of his paws. His grip was just a little too tight, but his overeager nature even after all this time still remained endearing.
"Then let's go to bed."