Thursday, March 29, 2012

This week's column

Living under dog rule

When you are a dog owner, you start to notice a shift in the hierarchy of your home.
At first it’s hardly noticeable. But then you start to notice you are no longer the master of your home. Slowly but surely the dog starts to take over.
In case you have a hard time noticing when exactly that moment has arrived, here are a few clues.
First, you jump to your feet every time the dog sits next to the door. You might think you have trained the dog to do this to let you know it’s time for them to go out but they’ve really trained you.
How many times have you stopped what you were doing to take the dog out to find yourself standing outside for 20 minutes while your dog takes a nice stroll around the yard sniffing things? And, I might add, how many times has this happened in the rain? Sometimes it’s the one on our end of the leash being taken for the walk.
Another sign the dogs have taken over your house is when you schedule your social life based on when you’ll have time to run home and let out the dogs. I cannot tell you how many times I have rushed home from work, stood outside for the before-mentioned 20 minutes waiting for them to find the perfect spot to go to the bathroom, rushed inside to change and hurried off to an event that I, more than likely, showed up late for because of the dogs.
Meal time can be another clue to the canine take over. Dogs sit and stare at each morsel of food as their eyes follow your fork from your plate to your mouth. Eventually this leads to you tossing them something from your meal. This is especially true of French fries.
Your spending habits also change to the canine demands. I’ve often looked down at the checkout line at the grocery and noticed half of my purchase is for the dogs. Food, treats, bones, dog shampoo, peanut butter and a variety of other items usually sit mixed with my grocery needs.
They also can pull off the pitiful look. This is their trick to get you to do anything they want you to. This includes crawling around on the floor looking for the favorite toy, Mr. Shark, they lost in the first place.
You also notice while you have a full size couch in your living room, you are sitting on a small chair or on the floor while the dogs stretch out on the couch. And, if you happen to have gotten to the couch first, you are sat on or pushed to the edge as the dog takes up the most comfy spot.
But the biggest sign that a dog has taken over your home happens at bedtime. This is the most cunning part of the take over. You go to bed and the dogs are obediently at the foot of the bed until you fall asleep. At some point you wake up in the middle of the night on the very edge of the bed with little cover while a large Labrador lies restfully on his back, sideways across the middle of your bed stretched out as much as he can.
At that point, you have ceased to be the master of your home and have totally given over to canine rule.
Some might ask why dog owners allow our homes to be completely taken over. And at first we might admit we have no idea, but upon further thought there are reasons we put up with the craziness of our dogs.
Their sweet devotion is unmatched, they are the best things to hug at the end of a hard day, most of the time they listen to everything you say without talking back to you, they can be absolutely hilarious and they’re just so darn cute.
Yes, if you asked me who rules my home, I would probably have to honestly answer Duke the Corgi is in charge and Boo the Chocolate Labrador is his second in command. I’m not totally sure if I even come in third.