Tea with Bilbo

Bilbo watched me expectantly, his stub tail wagging, as I put the kettle on, took a mug out of the cupboard, and rustled in the tea cabinet. He knew what that meant: time for afternoon tea. Bilbo, a rescue Australian Shepherd with an unknown history, had a tendency to become anxious if anything in his routine changed. And, of course, most routine went out the window for our family of five during holidays, with three active teenagers and their friends in and out of the house. Add to that my tendency to become stressed during the holidays, and neither Bilbo nor I was a happy camper.

One year, as Bilbo’s anxiety mounted and my holiday-related stress rose, an idea occurred to me. Why not share a cup of tea with Bilbo? I started making a pot of chamomile tea each afternoon, knowing the calming qualities of chamomile, and looking forward to a few quiet moments for myself. Very soon, Bilbo and I were both looking forward to this daily interlude of quiet connection in a busy time of year. I’d make the pot of tea, pour some in a bowl and add a couple of ice cubes, pour myself a steaming mugful, then give Bilbo his tea at my feet, while I sat in my rocker with mine. He would lap, I would sip, and both our stress would retreat for a time. After drinking his tea, Bilbo would settle with a sigh, always touching one of my feet. I would sit quietly so as not to disturb him, and we would enjoy a few moments of quiet connection.

Each dog has given me different gifts; one of Bilbo’s gifts to me was a way to slow down and enjoy simple peace and quiet in the midst of holiday stress. Bilbo is long gone, but those quiet moments shared over a cup of tea are some of my most precious memories of him.

3 Replies to “Tea with Bilbo”

  1. Hi Melissa – I've only just discovered your blog today, and I am already in love with it.

    Especially this post, specifically. Tears of nostalgia and love for all my beloved dogs and cats who've
    since travelled over to the Rainbow Bridge over the years are falling
    from my eyes as I read this. It is such an evocative, beautiful and sweet, loving memory of a beloved friend – memories similar to ones I have regularly of my own beloved furry companions – written with such love, such heartfelt warmth, and so beautifully expressed.

    Thank you for sharing this, and your loving memory of Bilbo, and thank you also for such a beautiful blog.

  2. Hi June,
    Thank you so much for your compassionate, caring comment. It is always good to hear from someone who deeply understands the kind of bond we can have with our beloved furry friends.

    Thank you also for your comments about my blog. I'm glad you like it! 🙂