It’s a hard life being a dog. Or, to clarify, it’s a hard life being a dog in my household. My three little girls are fed, watered, washed, brushed, walked, played with, fussed over and loved to within an inch of their lives on a daily basis, and frankly (but don’t tell them this) I wouldn’t have it any other way. But sometimes, just sometimes, I do feel they can be a tiny bit inclined to take advantage of my good nature . . .
Anyone who has ever raised a dog knows that dogs like their routines. Routines are comforting. Routines are safe. Dogs like to know what to expect and when to expect it. (An early morning walk, breakfast, mum goes to work, sleep, mum comes home, ten minutes of over-the-top silliness followed by an afternoon walk and play at the park, dinner, and then more sleep. Perfect.) Of course, day to day (human) life means it is not always possible (even if we wished it) to do exactly the same thing at exactly the same time every single day but even so we usually manage to rock along at a fairly steady momentum at my place. So you would think, wouldn’t you, that my girls might allow me just a little bit of slack on the odd occasion when something goes a tiny bit awry . . .
There they were, all sitting in a row patiently awaiting their breakfast (well,okay—Molly was squeaking under her breath and stamping her feet but that’s about as patient as she gets) and I went to the freezer and . . . oh-oh . . . no chicken necks. Sigh. I knew right away I was in trouble.
Okay then. Deep breath. Smiling brightly and looking down at their eager little faces—”So girls. Why don’t we try something different for breakfast today? Who’d like a ‘lolly’ instead?” (Lollies are in fact doggie-chicken-sticks and I am usually all but knocked over in the rush when I offer them as a treat.)
I was met with blank stares.
“Come on! You love lollies. Here Molly, you have this one.” (There was method in my madness. Molly can always be relied upon to never turn down food of any description. She’s rotund, but she knows she’s fabulous so she cares not a whit.) Sure enough she took the proffered treat and disappeared into her basket. Two more to go . . .
“Here Maudie, you have one too.” Maudie obediently took the lolly from me . . . and then very carefully laid it at her feet. She gazed back up at me.
“Mabel?” Mabel sniffed the end of her chicken stick daintily and then turned her head disdainfully away.
And then Molly reappeared, “Hey mum, that was great. Thanks for the lolly. Now where’s my chicken neck?” Sigh.
Now I love my dogs dearly and fully acknowledge they run my life, but I was also not about to make an early morning, pre-work dash to supermarket to buy them chicken necks when there was a perfectly delicious alternative being offered. I stood my ground. (Buddy Hackett’s mom would have been proud.) But—wow. Those eyes. Three sets of what-have-we-done-wrong-and-why-won’t-you feed-us eyes watched every morsel of my own breakfast disappear into my mouth. They followed me silently into the bathroom and watched me brush my teeth and they continued to watch from the bed as I dressed for work. Not a grumble, not a whimper, not a sigh was uttered. Just those eyes. You’d think after decades of owning dogs I’d be immune but—nope. I got out of the house as quickly as I could . . .
Needless to say, by the time I got home all was forgiven. I was met at the gate by the usual over-excited onslaught and then we went to the park to play. When it was time for dinner I had a brainwave—“Hey, what say you all have chicken necks for dinner (well of course I picked some up on the way home) because you didn’t get one for breakfast?”
I swear I saw their faces fall. Does that mean we’re not going to get our regular dinner . . .