TheTrouble with Dogs

I don’t know what I’m going to do with my dogs. Really. They are a workout. I am not the “pack leader”, but instead a namby-pamby, semi-master who can only make them sit at one specific time, and in one specific area. Immediately after dinner, they will sit in the kitchen. They hunker down on their haunches, expectantly waiting for bite of the chicken they saw me eating at dinner. If I command them to sit at any other time of day, or in any other place, they practically roll their eyes at each other, and ignore me, saying, ‘whatever’ in dog language.  I may as well have two more teenagers.

            Bubba, my big red bone hound, has laid claim to the sofa. I made the mistake of letting him on it after our little daschand died last spring. He looked bereft and utterly lost, and I just wanted to give him a little comfort. Now he sprawls across the full length of it, growling when I try to wedge my large self between him and the arm of the couch.

            What’s even worse is Bubba’s habit of wanting out, then back in, then back out, in three minute cycles. It is never when I am on my feet and easily mobile. So instead of conversing over dinner or relaxing by the fire or curling up to read, my family takes turns answering the door, then opening it back up when Bubba deems it time, and yelps. Repeatedly.

            My little dog, Victor, is quieter, but definitely has issues. He is both sneaky and a thief. He is also nosy, and loves nothing more than rooting through bags, be it a cosmetic bag, a hand bag or a grocery bag. He rummages through my son’s backpack on a regular basis, chewing up pens and old lifesavers with equal gusto. I’ve replaced my make up brushes twice since he joined our family and my nighttime mouthpiece once. Last night he appeared with a cellophane bag of blood meat catfish bait that he was already well into, and I won’t begin to describe the aroma.

            You might wonder how he gets these things. I wondered the same thing myself the third time my son called to complain that Vic had gotten his girlfriend’s cell phone. He had already been through her make-up bag.

            We close our closet doors and put things-of-interest on high shelves and for the most part, keep our mouthpieces and catfish bait in closed drawers. It’s the circumstance of packed bags sitting by the door for a minute before departure, or the cell phone being set down for a second while someone gets a drink or the pocket book being left in the car while groceries are unloaded, or even a quick glance away from a tempting item, that little Vic sees a flicker of opportunity, and pounces.

            The other morning I made breakfast for my husband before he left for work. He was looking very forward to this rare treat. I set the full plate on the counter and walked back to the bedroom to tell him breakfast was served.

            A minute later he said, “What? Dry wheat toast and sliced tomatoes? No eggs?”

            We both turned just in time to see Vic under the kitchen table, daintily finishing off a cheese omelet.

            These dogs run us, all of us. We sit where they let us and jump up when they command us to and obey them when they demand us to pet them. They head butt our arms until we give in and stroke their heads and massage their backs, never mind that we were trying to read the paper.

            So as much of a workout that these dogs are, why is it we are absolutely wild about them? I think it’s because Bubba and Vic think we are the most magnificent beings they have ever encountered. They leap to their feet whenever we enter a room, and when we come home from work they fall all over themselves in their excitement to see us. They stare at us, unblinking, as we sit by the fire and rub their fur. They truly cannot believe their good fortune, and they let us know that fact constantly.

            As I finish this column, Vic is stretched out on my lap and Bubba is asleep at my feet. For the moment, no one is demanding anything and the contentment I feel is immeasurable. Really, I don’t know what I would do without them.

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