Clancy's preferred lap position is to sit upright and sideways against me with his head resting on my chest, where I swear he is listening to my heart. I sometimes wake up at night when Gary is at work to find the little dog laying next to me, his head in the same place, his eyes watching my face in the semi-darkness. If I speak, his tail wags, but he doesn't move. He's listening, and more than that, he seems to be making sure that my heart is doing its job. On the nights that Gary is home, he crawls under the covers to sleep by my feet or he wedges himself between our knees. Apparently, in his mind, Gary is on guard duty on those nights.
I am apparently wound like a clock spring a good part of the time and it's not getting better as I get older. This is a hold over from my ADHD childhood and as it's not generally acceptable for grown ups to jump on the furniture, interrupt conversations to tell wild, outlandish tales (what? I do not), or play the drums on every flat surface, I have to satisfy myself with constant fidgeting, and border-line high blood pressure. PE class requires that we track our blood pressure throughout the semester so we bought a new blood pressure cuff. Today we discovered that my blood pressure drops to a nice normal place when Clancy sits with me like this, his head in the center of my chest two inches below my collar bone, eyes closed, breathing in and out. He is better than any medication on the market. And, yes, I suspect he does know what he's doing.
I'm also finding it easier and easier to go for those long walks I used to take with Solomon when he was younger and we were both in good shape. Because, like Sol, Clancy keeps track and he's at the door waiting on those mornings. If dogs could tap a foot, he would. So there's no skipping the workout. I'm feeling better, watching my diet (very, very closely), and exercising regularly. Do we have Clancy to thank for this? Maybe. Maybe it's his optimism, maybe it's his youth. Regardless, he's been a big aid in awakening a part of me that's been asleep for a long time.
I mentioned this on a dog forum I sometimes frequent and one of the women there commented that if anyone ever wants me to justify Clancy' existence (For some unfathomable reason, people sometimes require this of the owners of small dogs), I can simply tell them that Clancy has a job and his job is me.
Clancy has turned the title "heart dog" into a profession.