I will grant you that we aren’t the best dog owners on the planet. I do not mean that we abuse our dog. Not in any way. If anything, he’s spoiled. It’s just that I’m not the greatest dog Mom for the same reasons that I think I’m a pretty good human Mom. I don’t believe in intimidation and violence as weapons against children. As a purebred Jewish mother my primary weapon is guilt.
Yes, guilt. Guilt is a fine-edge sword, one which need not do much cutting if you wield it properly. Letting potential victims see that it exists is enough of a threat.
It is useless, however, against parties that do not speak English, like my dog. I can lay endless guilt trips on Lincoln, and he just looks at me with those chocolatey eyes of his, wagging his tail, continuing to eat the tassels on my favorite pair of slipper socks as he listens to what he probably thinks is an ode to the virtues of pound puppies. All he knows is that I’m paying attention to him. He doesn’t get sarcasm or subtlety. My relatively high, non-growly voice doesn’t convey authority to him, especially because I usually speak to him like I’m talking to a toddler.
The roundabout point I am trying to make is this: I usually assert my dominance not through bared teeth, feats of strength, and barking but rather through victories in emotional and intellectual warfare. This tactic works excellently on humans, and horribly on less cerebral predators.
So what happened the other day shouldn’t have surprised me all that much. I was sitting in a chair, minding my own business, checking emails. Lincoln was fluffing about my feet, trying unsuccessfully to get my attention. I crooned at him a little but didn’t look at him or toss a ball or pet him. I was busy. I told him so but, again, he doesn’t speak English.
He stopped moving but didn’t sit down, which should have clued me in, but it didn’t because I wasn’t really paying attention. Something suddenly felt odd. I looked up and saw Lincoln with his leg lifted, peeing on my foot as if it were a fire hydrant.
It took me a good three or four seconds, enough time for Lincoln to empty his little peanut bladder, for my brain to register what was happening. Then I screamed a string of very filthy bad words, the likes of which my poor little doggie had never heard me say. My husband came running in, assuming that a Great Tragedy had Occurred and he needed to rescue someone or something. He was not wrong. Poor little Lincoln stood frozen in his tracks, shivering with fright at the new sound of Mommy having lost her ever-loving mind.
I pointed at my foot and the spreading puddle on the carpet. “We are having dog kabobs for dinner.”
Mike laughed. I was not so enraged that I thought I’d never think it was funny, so I took a picture before I moved my foot to clean up the mess.
This was an odd situation for Lincoln, and the three or four brain cells that bonk around his skull on any given day tried hard to make sense of what was going on. The NICE lady was yelling and had a mean face, and the YELLY guy was laughing. He could not figure out whose legs were safe to hide behind. He stood frozen to his ground and whimpered.
Suddenly, all the anger flew out of me. I was, for one pee-soaked moment, recognized as the alpha dog. Behold, all ye beta dogs! Fear me, for I am capable of swearing like a court-martialed sailor and shouting when the situation calls for it. I have multiple weapons at my disposal. I am triumphant! I am the Queen of all I see! Bow down to my power!
And with my beatific smile and happy face, I lost all my dominant energy. The tail wagged again and a warm furry puppy traced figure eights around my legs. He didn’t fear me, not any more, he loved me and trusted me to be the nice lady again who’d forgive him for peeing on her foot.
I am a sucker for puppy dog eyes.
Maybe one day he’ll learn enough English so that I can get some of my power back.
If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter or on Facebook. Lori is a National Society of Newspaper Columnists 2018 Columnist winner, and a New Apple, Readers’ Favorite, and eLit award winner for her latest release, “You Know I Love You Because You’re Still Alive.” She is also the author of the bestselling books “Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza,” and “The Armadillo, the Pickaxe, and the Laundry Basket.”
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.