I’m guessing a good number of readers in my age group, folks entering their 7th decade, grew up as I did, believing humans were intended to boss their pets. Over time, as I have, they’ve reinterpreted those early views and accepted that four-legged companions actually run our houses.
A friend stopped to visit the other day. After we spent a couple hours catching up, she observed my little terrier sitting on my toes, staring intently at me. Unbeknownst to her, he was informing me it was nearly 3 p.m., aka his dinnertime. Noting his wrinkled brows and unblinking gaze , I excused myself to mix up his bowl of kibble. She teased that he had me well trained. I answered, “You have no idea.”
I’ve reluctantly acknowledged she stated pure truth. A fourteen-pound, thirteen-year old-canine dictates my actions from first thing every morning to mid-afternoon and just before bed. As soon as I awaken, his no nonsense path to the back door directs my mission to let this little guy and his furry, white sidekick outside for their morning constitutional. If I’m slow to respond, the toe-tapping pee- pee dance encourages me to attend to business. There’s no tolerance for this human to dress or brew coffee.
As the day goes on, my pointy-nosed guard dog perches at the edge of the sofa to survey the backyard. If he observes anything out of the ordinary—say a visiting German shepherd sprinkling his chain link fence or a brave squirrel creeping onto the grass—he races to my lap and implores me with sharp yips and pitiful whines to let him out to handle the situation.
Once he’s driven off the invaders, he directs his fuzzball partner to bark until I let them in. Once through the door, he examines the kitchen floor to see if I’ve dropped anything while he secured the premises. Usually, that’s a no, so he gives me the sad eye to tell me he’d really like a snack. If he happens to catch me eating a cheese stick, he plants himself at my feet until I give him and his begging buddy a nibble.
How this unschooled pooch tells time, I’ll never know. But he does. Once I wash and put away lunch dishes, he monitors house and yard--that is--until the little hand creeps close to the three and the big hand to the 12. Then this bundle of energy paces back and forth between his bowl and me. By 2:50, my self-ordained tyrant situates himself in my lap and begins a world-class stare down. If I haven’t looked at the clock, I know it’s officially doggy dinnertime.
If I want to read a book or write, I’m forced to serve my dictators . Both critters follow me to ground zero and strategically place themselves so I can’t leave the room until I’ve set their filled bowls before them.
It’s ironic I thought I’d train these dogs when they first moved in. I understand now that they meant all along to whip me into shape using those deep brown eyes and pitiful whines. I can’t imagine better bosses.