OTHER PEOPLE’S DOGS

Other people’s dogs love their people more than anything else in the world. They will do anything for a hug, a pat, or a cuddle.

Other people’s dogs come when called. Sit when told. Some of them do other things … like walk at heel. Even do tricks.

Our dogs are without a shred of respect for us. Before they do something nice for us, they want to know what’s in it for them. Are they going to get one of the “good” treats? Or better yet, a piece of chicken? Or maybe a fried shrimp? Any human food, in a pinch.

We do not have obedient dogs. I mentioned this to Ellin. She looked at me and said: “We are not the kind of people who have obedient dogs.” I’m pretty sure that’s because we find their disobedience so damned funny, they know they can get away with murder — as long as they make us laugh. Meanwhile, we tell them what to do and they ignore us.

So, what about being willing to do anything for to make us happy? Surely you are kidding? They won’t get off the sofa unless someone is heading for the kitchen … or Duke thinks there’s chance someone will throw the ball for him … or there’s a funny noise out there that requires immediate barking.

Love us no matter what? I’m pretty sure if we run out of biscuits, the dogs will go looking for a better home.

And yet, we continue to bribe them anyway. We let them disrespect us daily. We give them their medication. We buy the best food we can find. We worry about them. If they don’t seem quite up to par, I wonder if I should rush my little furry one to the vet. They can fake me out by simply refusing to eat a meal.

Bonnie didn’t eat dinner? She must be dying. Well, maybe not Bonnie. She has been known to not eat on the theory that something better will show up in the dish if she turns her nose up at dinner numero uno. The other two though? Gibbs is the most serious eater I’ve ever seen. Nothing can dislodge him from dinner. Duke is distractable, but he doesn’t leave much. Even when distracted.  As I write this, I can see them sitting on the sofa, laughing at me.

What’s wrong with them?

More to the point, what’s wrong with us?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

35 thoughts on “OTHER PEOPLE’S DOGS”

    1. I’m sure she’d fit right in … and probably improve the whole counter-surfing thing. Duke is just a little short to do it, unless food is right near the edge. But he has those prehensile long front paws. He can snag a fair bit of stuff with them.

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  1. I’ve met some of those ‘well trained dogs” and they are easily the saddest looking, most boring creatures out there. “SIT”. and they sit and wait. “HEEL” and they are there, waiting for the next move.
    If they aren’t being obedient they are sitting in those cages, since they aren’t allowed on the furniture, in the Other Rooms, or even outside unless it’s on a very short leash. And when you try to show them affection they stand there and accept it. Barely.

    I know I’d love your dogs, they seem happy, adjusted, and goofy around the edges. They way they should be.

    Your dogs, our cats. They have us right where they want us.

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    1. We’ll, no danger or “well-trained” HERE. I did have one terrier who learned to walk at heel. Note i didn’t say I taught her to do it. She just learned it. I got lots of compliments on how she would be right at my heel wherever I went and all I could say was “It was her idea.” And it really was. Sometimes, they do things that are cute and if we laugh enough, they will do them again. I suppose they are tricks, but again — they teach themselves whatever they need to get our attention. Right now, it seems to be whining in misery because Owen left. Gibbs has decided that Owen is The Man. He REALLY likes Owen, but Owen doesn’t want any pets. He and his partner have a cat, but they like being able to come and go without arranging for pet care and I can’t blame them. We have made our lives much harder by having dogs … but we love them and life wouldn’t be as good without them. No matter how awfully spoiled they are.

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  2. Personally, I prefer a dog with personality to one who’s trained into robotic obedience. Cody mostly listens, and she seems to understand when obedience is important (like not dragging me into the slippery winter street) and when it’s optional (like ignoring that piece of chicken that’s left on my plate while I run to the bathroom for 5 minutes). Cody sort of owns the couch, but she does vacate when I want to sit there. But she loves us and I do believe she would willingly stay with us even if we forgot to feed her – although she might then decide to eat us if we didn’t pay attention.

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    1. Yes, our dogs are ours, though occasionally one of them gets a crush on someone else. Right now, Gibbs really wants to go live with Owen. He apparently developed this passion while we were away last week. Sorry Gibbs. Not happening.

      I’ve never had a REALLY well trained dog, although Bonnie was trained when we got her, but being a terrier she was optional about applying her training.

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      1. I hear you, Marilyn. Right now, Cody would probably rather live with my daughter because (1) she has that fenced in yard, and (2) both she and her significant other are gourmet cooks. Got me beat by a mile.

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  3. It’s been a long time since I had a dog. Your article was completely delightful, filled with such humour. I so enjoyed this, I can’t tell you. I have a cat (Porsche) my son calls a feline with canine tendencies. So true. He walks alongside us as though he were a pup and boy can he give you the look! You can read him like a book. He’s so gentle and loving with us, but outside, he’s a character. Although he’s 14 nearly 15, you’d never know it by the romping and chasing. He plays tag, hide and seek, and on yeah, gives you the look. He will wake from a dead sleep if he hears the clinking of a spoon and bowl. He loves yoghurt any kind, and will lick your bowl clean if it had cottage cheese in it. He figures he’s human half the time and is completely injured if he doesn’t get his “human” treat (the bowl). Loved this so much Marilyn, I truly did! Made my heart sing with joy.

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    1. I’ve had some very dog-like cats too. Our Abyssinian was very different from other cats and he was VERY smart, too. And insanely destructive. After he passed, I couldn’t do it again. He totally trashed two separate houses and I’m running low on funds to fix all the ruined stuff. Big Guy liked water. He liked playing with a dripping faucet and he would join you in the shower if you let him. He used to sit on the windowsill when we lived on Beacon Hill and would chat with passersby.

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  4. They’re simply in charge. And you’re not alone in the ‘disobedient’ dog category at all. I think personally they all get away with as much as they can, only some go to homes where discipline is the rule. Associate that with getting a comfortable sized meal, and you’ve got an obedient dog. Me? I love my little four foot. She minds when she wants to and otherwise? Hmpf and piffle to any demands made by me. The thing is I ‘know’ she loves me unconditionally (or so I say to myself) and my life will be a lot harder once she’s gone. Without things like doggy kisses when one is sad, a paw on one’s knee when one is upset, and that comfort of knowing they don’t care about how you look or what your labels ARE, they just go along with you.

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  5. It’s funny how everyone expects dogs to be obedient and loyal to their masters, but nobody expects that from cats at all. A cat can prance around the joint acting like a sociopath, and it’s just so darn cute. That seems like a double standard for our pets. I say if dogs want to act misbehaved and have an attitude, there’s nothing wrong with that!

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    1. My dogs completely agree and therefore, behave like very large, awkward, poorly behaved cats. I just lost breakfast to one of the beasts. I’m thinking Gibbs. He was the one licking his jaws. Maybe they shared it. It was a good one, English muffin with butter and lemon curd to go with the coffee I hadn’t yet started. Never go the the bathroom before hiding breakfast.

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