My son Isaac says the Shih Tzu is so lazy that if given the choice between getting out of the way or getting stepped on, Leonard would prefer to be stepped on.

I don’t think he’s that lazy. Somehow — miraculously — he always seems to find his way onto the couch by my side, even when I forget to pick him up. And if I go to bed without him,  I find him at my feet when I wake up — even though he pretends he can’t get on the bed. And when I come home, he’s always the first one to greet me at the door.

I don’t know if it’s the cold weather, all the hair weighing him down, or just the fact that the Shih Tzu is getting older, but he has seemed lazier than usual.

I’m not just talking about carrying him around every where and picking him up to go up and down the steps. He’s my little buddy and I’m happy to do it. It saves me from accidentally stepping on him.

No, I’m talking about laziness even in the face of his own detriment.

The other day, when the boxer was feeling especially ornery, I watched her run back and forth on top of the Shih Tzu to try to get a rise out of him while he was laying on the floor. Leonard didn’t move. I actually  checked to see if he was still breathing.

But it’s not just the boxer he’s been ignoring.  He doesn’t seem to mind a certain teenager who loves flicking him on the back or tossing him on my lap. He doesn’t even resist when Isaac uses him as a mop or a dishrag to dry his hands. Maybe he knows that’s Isaac’s way of saying ‘I love you.’ He doesn’t even try to bite him any more, no matter how much I tell him it’s OK.

He doesn’t even fight me when I groom him — and I know he hates that. He doesn’t like it when I pull the stickers, burs and knots out of his fur, but lately he doesn’t seem to have the will to fight it.

He just kind of whimpers, as if begging me to stop, and licks my hand instead.

Because he really is a lover, not a fighter.