As Trucker walks through my office with a white fleece throw blanket draped over his back, I think of Linus in the comic strip Peanuts. For Linus, his blanket meant security, and it often displayed magical powers.
Trucker also loves the magical security of blankets — 10 fleece throw blankets now, to be exact. I’ve bought him many since I adopted him two years ago at the age of five. Three more fleece blankets featuring car and truck motifs cover my car seats during his transport. Other blankets vary from red plaid, to green, to snowmen, to stars and the moon.
He has also seized one of my old comforters, a couple of twin-size bed blankets, a crocheted afghan my mom made, a few yards of Snoopy motif fleece fabric and, of course, my bedding.
My previous dog had an extensive collection of stuffed toys, which were haphazardly strewn throughout various rooms in my house. For Trucker, I have a stash of “blankies” in nearly every room.
Trucker loves nesting in them, having me cover him up with them, and covering himself up — he does this by rolling on a blanket, grabbing it with his front teeth, and wrapping it around himself. When he stands to venture into another room, a blanket often sticks to his fur with static electricity, causing him to wear it like a cape. My cats gather quickly to see what foreign object has hitched a ride on their big brother.
I do a lot of laundry and find myself outside shaking fur off fleece quite often. But I don’t mind. Blankets have been therapeutic for Trucker, I believe, helping to wean him off the Prozac and sedatives he took while at a shelter.
Like an anti-anxiety shirt made for dogs, or my arms wrapped around him tight, a blanket warms Trucker and cradles him with comfort. Reflecting on his past, it’s comfort he has earned.
In the course of his short life, Trucker has been abandoned at least four times. He was tossed out of a semi-cab as a puppy, rescued, sold at a garage sale, relinquished to a shelter during a divorce situation, reclaimed by one of the divorcees, and returned again to the shelter because of his separation anxiety issues. Living at the shelter for nearly five months, Trucker had to be sedated so he wouldn’t hurt himself by trying to chew through chain-link cages.
When I visited the shelter to bring him home, Trucker had claimed a lavender-colored old comforter on the tile floor in the front office near the kennel manager’s desk. He’d lie there often to feel and hear the comfort of human companionship.
I extended that comfort, via blankies, into our home.
I look at Trucker now wrapped in a blanket with only his nose exposed — or tucked into his dog bed as a sort of “Trucker pie” — and think, “He must be in heaven.” He has a coat of short hair, and I cannot imagine how cold he was in years past when a previous owner kept him outside in a dog run (as the shelter shared with me).
I started taking pictures of Trucker with his blankies within days after he arrived at my home. I found him lying on my bed with his head on my pillow, so I covered him up to his neck with several blankets and left him there. He slept motionless for hours. I have a computer file named “Blankies,” full of 50 images with titles such as “Sheik Ali Baba” and “Big Green Lima Bean.”
About a year after I adopted Trucker, a shelter volunteer shared a touching story with me regarding Trucker and blankets. It brought tears to my eyes and reaffirmed the need for quilts, afghans, comforters, throw blankets, and the occasional large flannel shirt that I toss over him in a pinch. That volunteer wrote:
“I spent at least seven to eight afternoons with Trucker when he was at the shelter. I used to make him pumpkin and honey treats that he loved, and I would bring out a week’s supply on Saturdays. Then I’d hang with him and another dog that was there at the time. I used to read to Trucker. We would find a corner and put down a blanket. He would lie next to me, nibble on cookies and listen to me read. That would keep him calm on Saturdays when they were busy at the shelter. He is such a gentle soul.”
Is your dog like Trucker? What does she take comfort in? Tell us about it in the comments!