Friday, April 22, 2011

This One's For You

Nothing says "I'm unhappy" like poop in the bedroom. Or should I say, nothing feels like your dog thumbing its nose at you like finding a log on your bedroom floor. And dogs don't even HAVE thumbs.

Look, rules suck. Just ask my kids. They have to do homework, bathe, clean up after themselves and go to school. They can't play video games all day, lie around on the couch until all hours or eat ice cream for dinner. But it's a lot harder to explain that these things build character and teach you to live in the real world when you're talking to a dog. A dog, mind you, who is used to sleeping in bed with his owner at night, on the couch during the day, and eating lasagna and chinese food more often than kibble.

I give Flash credit. He lost both his owners in a span of a couple of years. He had to move into a house that already had a pet, one very much loved by the family, and very well trained. He had to learn a new house, family dynamic, schedule and rules, and all while grieving his lost owners, home and lifestyle. And with all that, he's really been doing great. He's quick to learn, likes to please and is obviously trying to go with the flow until he figures it all out.

So I have to assume that, now that he fully grasps that this is his new home, he has decided to put his paw down, and put some things back into place. I've had to chase him off the couch twice this week--once, he got up there without my even noticing and likely had a nice nap before Ben realized where he was and alerted me. And Bailey has been uncommonly clingy. Perhaps his allergies are kicking in and he's feeling uncomfortable and grumpy, but when Flash comes over for a pet while Bailey is next to me, Bailey growls. Today, for the first time, he actually barked at Flash.

I admit I feel sorry for the little guy. For as far as he's come, he still knows he's second dog, he has to sleep on the floor, eat dog food and listen. We don't tolerate begging, rarely give out scraps, and don't take our dogs for car rides very often. Now that he's realized not only that his life has changed, but that it's not going to change back, he's pissed. So to speak. And who better to take it out on than the humans?

Like a typical mom, I want to give him more loving, more attention and make him feel better. But I also know that he knows the rules, and this was a blatant flouting of those rules. I've never been good at tough love, but I suppose now is the time to practice. The kids will be teenagers soon enough, and while a missed curfew isn't as bad as pooping in my room, it will still constitute a tightening of the rules. And while it will likely get the lesson learned, I guarantee the kids and dogs will agree, it still stinks.

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