Listen up, dog

January 14, 2015

DogListen up, dog.

It’s been a while since we had a talk. But you need to know things are about to change.

You’ve ruled our house for the past four and a half years, sleeping all day, barking at us to do this, open that, take you for a walk. You haven’t paid a cent in rent, you eat all our food, and even expect us to clear up after every mess you leave on the floor or in the yard.

When I sit myself down to have a meal at the table I paid for, with groceries I bought, you perch beside me and stare, as if I’m rudely taking your place. If I want to watch a ball game on TV, I have to negotiate with you, the dog, for a piece of the couch. When I come home late from work, you’re even sleeping in my spot in the bed, curled up next to my wife, as if she’s yours.

You’ve had it pretty good, haven’t you?

But I’m here to tell you your days are numbered. That’s right. The doctor tells us we’ll be growing our family by one in a few short weeks, and your reign at the top is about to end.

Once the new addition arrives, everything changes. The new household hierarchy will look something like this: the baby, the woman of the house, her sleep, her shoes, the columnist, his sleep, then finally, way down at the bottom of the list, somewhere past the cars and the laundry, will be you, the lowly dog. Got it?

There’s no fighting it. It’s a natural evolution, and you can’t do anything to stop it. You’re like a dictator in the final days of his power. A revolution is coming and you don’t even know it. A little, tiny, squirming revolution that will cry a lot and stink occasionally.

And all that work that’s been going on in the house? I’ve got bad news. We’re not building a throne for you. No, that nursery will be for the new top dog. You’ll be relegated to your mat on the floor, where you can sleep all day and feel sorry for yourself.

But don’t be too upset. The woman of the house and I have decided after much deliberation to let you stay here, rent-free, for the foreseeable future. That is, provided you straighten up and start contributing a little bit.

The truth is we kind of like having you around, even if your breath smells like the rotten fish hold of a deep sea trawler. And you’ll always be my running buddy, even if you insist on stopping to pee on every second tree we pass.

Even though you’re single-handedly putting the veterinarian’s children through college, we’ll keep you around. And we’re willing to forgive the fact you’re still convinced every skunk you meet wants to be your best friend.

That time you ate nine shortbread cakes from the wedding? I forgive you for that, too. All the loaves of bread you savaged, the butter dishes licked clean and homemade brownies you stole and devoured? It’s water under the bridge.

So get ready. Things are about to change, in ways you could never imagine, and permanently. But don’t get too out of sorts over it all. You’ve had a good run, dog.

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