Sometimes, it occurs to me that if anyone could hear me speaking to my dogs, they would think I’m insane. For the record, I’m fully aware of how crazy I sound while I’m doing it, but I do it anyway.
I have two dogs, both golden retrievers, Molly and Buttercup. Molly is a super happy, adorable puppy. She’s less than two years old, full of energy and always ready for adventure. Tonight, we discussed how I was not going to play fetch. I was busy reading my book and did not want to play. I said all of this, then declared she was unreasonably cute and therefore deserved to play for just a few minutes.
Buttercup, while still adorable at twelve years old, is no longer happy and full of energy. Basically, she’s a grumpy old woman – and she doesn’t give a shit what you think. She’s decided she can no longer eat her food if it isn’t covered in barbeque sauce. Totally my fault. Because she’s old and her appetite is waning and she was losing weight, I wanted to encourage her to eat more. It worked, but now she refuses to eat unenhanced food.
Also, you are no longer allowed to give her unsolicited love. If she feels like receiving affection, she will let you know by not so gently nudging your hand until you pet her. However, if she’s lying in her spot on the floor and you try to pet her as you walk by, she growls and gives you the stink eye. It’s not an ‘I’m going to bite you.’ growl, more like a ‘Did I invite you to touch me?’ growl.
My favorite, though, is that she now decides when you will take her for a ride and if the ride has been long enough. This leads me to the conversation I had with her the other night – a conversation sure to give my kids the ammo they need to have me committed. The kids and I took the dogs with us to my nephew’s birthday party. The dogs spent the afternoon happily chasing sticks and stealing food from small, unsuspecting children. Sufficiently tired out and ready to go home, we piled into our minivan for the forty-five-minute drive home. Upon arriving at home, everyone hopped out of the vehicle. Everyone except Buttercup. She refused, absolutely refused, to get out, growling each time someone reached for her collar. Now, I have a large, irritable dog giving me shit.
I realize this makes her sound mean and scary. She’s not even close to mean or scary. Had I just grabbed her collar and pulled her out, she would have gone without much of a fuss. But, being the mush that I am, I left the van door open and let her decide when to get out and come inside. (We live in a rural enough of an area that we can do this.)
Nearly three hours later, she is still stubbornly clinging to her desire for a longer car ride and I’m standing in the driveway arguing with her.
Me: Buttercup, you can’t stay out here all night. We aren’t going anywhere else.
Her: (Gives me the stink eye and turns her back to me.)
Me: This is ridiculous. Let’s go.
Me: Come on. Game of Thrones is on in ten minutes.
Her: (No response)
Me: Alright, fine. One more quick ride, then you have to come inside. (Goes inside to get the keys.)
Her: (Happily bounces around the backseat for the next seven minutes.)
Me: Ok, we’re back. Now let’s go inside.
Her: (Growls and flops down dramatically.)
Me: Seriously? Whatever. I’m going to watch Game of Thrones.
Yup, folks, this is my life.