Sunday, June 7, 2009

After breakfast this morning, I contemplated while washing the dishes. My husband interrupted my thoughts with this question, “Why do you think the dogs chew up their pillows like they do?”

“I don’t know,” I responded, “but it’s a shame they chew up their pillows because then they have to sit on the cold, hard floor.” Pause. “Of course, sometimes they will sit on the sofa, but only if the master lets them. And… the master can kick them off any time he wants. So the comfort does not truly belong to them. It is a temporary comfort. They should not tear through their pillows.”

By this time, I had decided that the reason the dogs (two labs and a chihuahua) chew their pillows is because they are unhappy. We have not spent enough time with them lately. However, my husband had also pondered their motivation. He noted that the smallest dog, who sometimes easily curls up beside our female lab, will oft times sit in the middle of a big cushion all by himself. My husband believes that the male lab chews the pillow so that the small dog will not take it. And he suggested that the male lab would rather be chased off of the sofa than to be on the floor all the time.

I am in full agreement with him. The solution is to keep the dogs happy so they do not ruin their own comfort. He could not disagree with my logic. Their need is not more cushiony places to sit, but more exercise, more things to do with their minds. We will take them out in a bit.

Still trying to assess the situation, I brought up what happened with our Django (male lab) yesterday morning. The other dogs, Bella and Buster, were eating his food. Stealing it, really. I can’t stand bullying, even in animals, and Django never fights back. I only saw the other two because Django came around the corner of the cabinet, head down, and looked at me with his sad, brown eyes. It broke my heart. I coaxed him into the kitchen – he knows that is off limits – and brushed him. It had been a while since I took the time to brush him. I enjoyed it, and I even sat, in my white robe, in the floor with him. Thinking about how lonely he felt made me cry. I also felt that way for a long time. My husband did, too. Two people living as husband and wife in the same home should not feel lonely. We don’t anymore.

After I brushed Django, I gave him some queso. A mozzarella stick. But I fed it to him in pieces. The last bite I held in my teeth – Django is the only dog I trust to not bite me. The other dogs had been watching the entire time. Buster was so jealous that he peed in the floor. My husband remarked that I had given Django ‘pity cheese.’ “No,” I told him, “It was not pity cheese because his food was stolen. I gave him food because someone else took his, and I gave him special food because he deserves to feel special.” My husband could not argue with my logic, but I did learn about the differences in how we each perceived the giving of cheese.

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