Thursday 20 January 2011
Life As We Know It: My Dog Doesn't Love Me
My dog The Dude and I are facing a trial separation. I have considered counselling sessions but he just shows no interest. When I talk to him, he just raises his eyebrow, doing his best Roger Moore impersonation, lowers his head and harrumphs. I am not the one he loves and I have to come to terms with this.
This situation isn't a new one. It began many years ago. When he was a young and boisterous puppy, I couldn't accompany him on his walks. It wasn't that I didn't want to, but I liked the idea of keeping both my arms and not having one permanently yanked out of its socket. I couldn't cope with the other owners talking about me, as I hobbled behind him doing my best Quasimodo impression, positive that I could hear a ringing sound in my ears. Those damn bells!
As the years progressed, things got worse. He felt abandoned by my decision to work. Then the children came along, pushing him aside for supremacy and he knew he was in the dog house.
My husband is his idol. He thinks nothing of grappling around on the floor with him, they torment each other and play the Hand of Doom (don't ask!). I sit on the sidelines and feel like I am watching an episode of The Gladiators (old series with Ulrika, never got on with the new one). My husband tries to make me think that this love is all one way, but his opinions now fall on deaf ears, after watching him countless times, rush past me to kiss the dog on his arrival home and asking me how he has been . Sod that I have the look of someone who has stuck her fingers in an electrical socket, make sure the dog who has taken over the sofa and slept their all day is OK. Why wouldn't he be OK, he has me to run around and cater to his every whim. Every time he wants a wee, he only has to bark incessantly at the back door until I stop what I am doing to open it.
Even the kids are more loved by the dog than I am. He will happily listen to their constant chatter and cuddle up to them when they are sad. They are even allowed to dress him up with scarves and hats. But me, god forbid I plant a kiss on his head, that would cause a growl.
It hurts to feel abandoned like this, especially as I am the one who feeds him and walks him every day. Out in all weathers, committing fashion suicide by wearing my green wellies that do not match the rest of my attire. I suppose you couldn't really call it walking anymore. On a bad day, a walk is a wee at the nearest lamppost, on a good day he leads and I follow. He decides where we will go and I follow as chief pooper scooper. If he doesn't want to go a certain way, you would think his feet had been cemented to the ground.
It is like trying to shove a Double Decker bus, through the Secret Garden gateway. He just looks at me in utter disgust as I push, pull and try to coax him.
Personally I think he has got too big for his boots. He now walks without a lead. He thinks he is the big kahuna, looking down at all the other dogs strangling themselves on their leads. You can see him, laughing at them and saying under his breath,'Check me out!'
Visitors have stopped calling at our house now, as The Dude likes to make everyone feel uncomfortable. His alias is 'silently but deadly'. Newcomers will sit and smile politely, whilst slowly going blue with lack of oxygen; those in the know flee for safety as he passes wind that could rival any toxic gas. He assumes no ownership of his gift, just gets up, waves his tail in your direction and then leaves the scene of the crime like Raffles.
He has an obsession. Roast dinners. He will know 12 hours ahead what meal I am making and he will guard the meat through its stages from frozen to cooked. Once the meat is ready to be carved, he will practically get under my feet to catch any falling debris. This doesn't sound too bad, until I mention that he is a Labrador and being stamped on by a Labrador with a weight problem is not funny.
Whilst we sit to eat our roast dinner, we know our meal is like a ticking time bomb. As half way through he will start barking furiously to remind you that the leftovers are his. Although now, I actually cook him up a separate plate of food, yet he still feels that he should have more.
He expects me to provide him with treats; he will follow me into the kitchen every time I go in. So I reach for the biscuit tin to get him a treat, thinking this time he will show his appreciation. What does he do? Looks at me disdainfully as I try to give him the biscuit and won't touch it until someone else in the house touches it first and hands it to him. Do my hands have poison on? Should I provide him with a chief taster?
I feel terrible now, I am only listing his bad points, he does have a few good traits. For instance, he is a tidy dog. He is the only dog I have ever seen pick up litter. He has spent weeks studying my neighbour who likes to spend her free time cleaning up the rubbish on the streets and now feels he should do his part to keep the environment clean too. He is more than happy to pick up used bottles and cans and bring them home. We have a rather large collection of his finds now half buried in the garden. I have put a stop to his log felling schemes though. There are only so many dead branches I can accommodate.
He is also a good guard dog, not only does he position his toys in strategic places guaranteed to break an intruder's neck, he also barks quite ferociously at anyone passing by the house on the other side of the road. How dare they pass our house without his authority. You can see people tentatively knocking upon the door when deliveries need to be made and taking a step back as the barking begins. Such a shame though when we open the door, the Dude rushes out to the visitor with a huge teddy in his mouth, wagging his tail, giving them more affection than he ever gives me. Doesn't give off the right impression, does it?
As I sit typing away now, watching him snoring loudly next to his latest used bottle acquisition, I have to just sigh and except the situation. As much as my love is not reciprocated, I will always love that daft dog.
You may think I am making this all up, but sadly it is very true. Sigh. (Tear gently rolling down face.)
Do your dogs love you? Are you treated the same way? I would love to know if I am a lone soul fighting this battle.