A golden retriever cheers his girlfriend up after a long day.
Erik watched the laundry’s hypnotic tumble, punctuated by the drumming of tennis balls. Not his chewing tennis balls; his research had proved that to be gross. He’d even made sure to get lemon-yellow ones, instead of the regular electric green, to avoid cross-contamination. His brain always insisted the yellow ones tasted funny anyway.
He chewed a bit harder on a green one.
Activating his laundry management app, the retriever dug a load of warm, staticy clothes out of the dryer and bounced upstairs with them. He reached the door, found his hands occupied with a hamper, and turned the knob with his toes. With a stumble and a drizzle of socks, he entered the apartment.
Around the load of laundry, he spotted his spotted love. She appeared to be taking a load off, sprawled on the sofa. He set the hamper down, taking a bra off his nose, took the ball out of his mouth, and wagged. “Hi Tessie.”
“Ugh...” The jackal seemed to lack the energy to even close her mouth after the groan.
“Eternal.” Her head rolled to one side, allowing her to eye him. “You’re covered in socks again.”
Erik glanced down and saw this was true. “I know...” He began peeling them off his fur. “I tried the dryer sheets on myself this time, but they didn’t do much.”
Tess closed her eyes. She shifted on the couch, burying her muzzle where the arm met the back.
He extricated himself from the last of the static-electric hitchhikers, then padded over to rest his paws on her shoulders. “Wanna talk about it?”
“It’s nothing new. Just crunch time on this project. I was tracking down errors all day.” She sat up, then melted a little under his paws. “Mmmmmm.”
“The lawn gnomes of the world will venerate you as their savior.” He rubbed deeper, working the pads of his thumbs into her tight muscles.
“People should just calibrate the mowers properly when they buy them.”
He continued to massage for several minutes, watching her ears tick to a happier position.
“That actually feels a lot better.” She gave him a tired kiss. “Thanks.” With a sigh, she sat back on the sofa, propped up on one arm.
“You were a little knotted up.”
“You’ve always been good with knots.”
Erik wagged at the flattery and wiggled forward, resting his head on her lap. He gaze up at the pretty white underside of her muzzle, following where it vanished into her shirt.
The jackal flickered a wry look down at him. “What?”
His tail swished. “Hi.”
“Hi.” Her paw stroked his head. The gentle touches smoothed his silky fur, prompting him to nuzzle further into her lap. Spicy jackal scent blended with the dryer sheet residue on his pelt.
The buzz of the laundry alarm popped his ears up, stirring him from serenity. Slowed with hesitation, he lifted his head off her lap. With a final nuzzle, he headed back out into the hallway toward Laundryland.
Then Erik had an idea. An idea so great, it drew him faster and faster down the stairs. The retriever bounded into the laundry room, skittering on the tile, and scooped out the dryer’s contents in record time.
He thundered back up the stairs with an armload of warm clothes and burst back into the apartment. As Tess stared, wide-eyed, he threw them on the floor in a flat pile.
While the jackal occupied herself trying to decide if he’d gone insane, the dog seized the hamper, still warm, and dumped it on the pile too. It still didn’t seem right, so he rolled around the clothes to flatten them.
She now looked at him like he’d lost his mind.
He rolled to his back, paws in the air, and patted the mound of warm, pleasant-smelling fabric beside him. “Come on.”
Tess rolled her pretty brown eyes and, still looking at him like he was nuts, climbed down next to him. “No one else could get me to do these things, you know.”
“I know.” He squirmed closer, every motion pressing heat from the clothes to his fur. He wrapped her in his arms.
Together they lay, half-buried in hot clean laundry. As the flowery scent of detergent soothed them into cuddles, Erik glimpsed around a novelty t-shirt her growing smile.
Short, sweet little story, streamed in front of a live furry audience. :D I've wanted to work with Idess for ages and was delighted to finally get the chance with this illustration. *wags!* She really captured the doggy-with-his-head-in-your-lap cuteness, don't you think?