After snoozing for half an hour, I drag myself out of bed and creep my way in the dark around the bed and into the bathroom careful not to step on him.
As I start to pull on my running clothes and lace up my shoes, he sits up and stretches the sleep out of his muscles. While I brush my teeth and stretch my own muscles, he pokes his head in the bathroom and pleads with his eyes.
Please take me with you. Please. Please. Please.
His tail wagging to show his interest, he occasionally whines just in case I didn't notice that he was eager to join me.
When I start to make my way out of the bathroom, he watches me intently for the telltale sign that he's coming with... his collar.
Some mornings I walk past and out the door without him, and he curls up on my side of the bed to enjoy what warmth I left him and another 30 minutes of sleep before I return to let him outside and feed him.
But other mornings, his favorite mornings, I bend down and grab the collar before turning out the bathroom light. His reaction is immediate, visceral and enthusiastic.
A walk! Outside! My favorite thing!
He barely sits still long enough for me to put his collar on and practically skips to the door in case I forgot where we're supposed to go. It's another battle to get him to sit still again for his leash, and once it's on, he's back at the door with his nose in the crack taut with the anticipation of all that awaits him outside.
Walking with his nose to the ground, he stays by my side except for the occasional stop to get a more intense sniff or several of whatever interesting smell he found. He hardly ever pulls anymore and will follow me when I tug on the leash and give the command after we stop for a few seconds. It's partly that he's grown out of the puppy stage and partly due to the nose lead I use when we walk or run together.
But half an hour is not enough for him. When we return and I have released him from the leash, he's sprinting circles in the living room and then in the backyard as soon as I can let him out burning all that energy and delighting in the joy of the morning and being a dog.
After his breakfast and lavishing affection on John who's still in bed, he'll curl up in the closet and go back to sleep as I shower and get ready for my day.
They're my favorite mornings too, puppy.