Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sonny vs me



I know my feelings are irrational. How can a grown man, seemingly intelligent and well balanced most of the time, be jealous of a dog? I mean, the critter has only been here in MY house for three full days. And in those three days he has managed to seduce my wife with his overabundant cuteness and has usurped my number two position in MY household. We all agree that SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) is in charge regardless of what you might think or wish for. I'm ok with that. It's worked to well for us for nearly 46 years, so I only have to protect my #2 spot in the household hierarchy. I've never had a problem maintaining that position through a succession of several dogs and a haughty cat (is that redundant?) The other dogs that have enjoyed my hospitality during their stay (some long, some short) with us never even engaged in the competition for #2. They were either too stupid to realize they had the opportunity, or just didn't care, being content to wallow away their lives as moochers at the family trough.  But this one is different. I knew he was special the minute I laid eyes on him. He was different than the other dogs he was penned with, wanting only to observe the doggie doings, remaining above the fray. I figured he was just a bit shy, or maybe preferred hanging out in the corner so he wouldn't have to participate in the mayhem of a dozen dogs of various sizes and shapes all barking and carrying on, trying to get the attention of would be adopters. I believe it was a calculated plan on his part to wait for just the right person to come along that he felt reasonably sure that he could handle in a battle for position in a nice comfy home. And then he saw me and put his plan into action.
That plan is an insidious breech of the human/canine interaction we are all so familiar with and expect. Man= master. Dog= pet. Master says jump and the dog immediately starts to jump without asking "how high." Master says go out and "do your job" and the dog squats in the usual place and kills some more grass. Master feeds the dog a wholesome diet of kibble with an occasional enhancer such as a bite or two of some actual meat. The dog wolfs down whatever is put in his food dish quickly so he doesn't have to taste whatever the master thinks is good for him. It has always been such: the master feeds, waters, provides shelter, and commands. The dog in return gets a nice cozy place to ply his trade (being a pet), enough "food" to keep him alive, and enough training to satisfy the master's sense of superiority.
Sonny, as you all know by now, is the new kid on the block. It would be helpful to understand him and his motives if you think of him as more Sonny Corleone than Sonny Bono. I think it was his plan all along to be super cute and obedient and quiet so as to ingratiate himself with SWMBO and undermine my position. And it's working. Every time she passes him she can't resist reaching down to pet his ears and coo lovingly at him. That used to be me getting that attention. She would pass by me and pat me on the head and coo "I love you." Now when she passes by me she lowers her shoulder to nudge me out of her way, mumbling something about old men and their bad habits. And now he has delivered what I'm sure he considers the coup d grace to my position; when she gets near enough to pet him, he rolls over onto his back, raises his legs up into the air revealing his underside in an act of pure submissiveness, so that she can give him a "belly rub." All he has to do is play the cute card and she babbles sweet words like love, cute, adorable, precious, and special, with a lot of "good boy" finding its way into the conversation. 
I don't have any "cute" cards to play, unless you consider short gray stubble on both head and face cute. If I want a belly rub, I have to do something extraordinary to get her to even consider the prospect. And then all I get are vague promises about some time in the future, if she feels like it. Whenever I roll onto my back exposing my belly and sometimes other "decorations" her reaction is to cover me up quickly lest I traumatize the peeping toms staring in our window. But, cute as he is , there is one thing (or should I say two things) that he can't match in this contest. When I'm on my back begging for a belly rub, I can toss in a couple of extras for her to rub. He doesn't have those anymore. So, Sonny boy, the score in this little contest you thought would be so easy to win starts out in my favor, 2 to nothing. I think I got you beat, cute or not.  The moral of this little story? When starting a contest be sure you have the right ammo.

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