Because it's the Christmas season, I thought it was appropriate to revisit an Ask Toto from June 14, 2009.
I'm not normally the type to write in to columns like this, but things have been changing in my life and I fear I'm losing control of my situation. My neighbor, Bianca , said you gave her some great advice so I'm hoping you can help me too.
I have been living with the same two humans for over seven years now. At first it was great. She would take me on long runs where I could show off my athletic prowess and he would snuggle with me at night. I was always the top spoon in the drawer... if you know what I mean.
About four years ago, though, things started to change. Mommy (as I've grown accustomed to calling her) and I stopped running as often. I tried encouraging her by getting excited whenever she opened the drawer where her running clothes were, but it was to no avail. I also stopped getting as many "you're so cute" comments. Finally, one horrible Christmas, Mommy and Daddy (I can hardly even call them that anymore) put a stupid Santa hat on my head just so they could take a picture of me. I was so embarrassed! I did my best to be patient with them, but apparently it wasn't enough. The next year they brought home another dog to live with us. How disgusting! What's worse, they had the nerve to call her my sister!
Still, I was the patient one. I endured it when they started bringing her along on runs and went gaga over her athletic prowess. (So what if she can climb trees!) They think she's soooo cute even though she's not that smart. (She watches other animals on TV and thinks they're real. I've never been fooled by that. I realize that they aren't real. They're just actors... playing parts.)
Despite all this, I have taken the high road. I even look out for her. When they pulled the Santa-hat thing on her, I was all over it. I tried to save her reputation by pulling it off her head, but she just walked away from me. She even seemed to like the hat! What's up with that?
I finally hit my limit the other night when I came in to go to bed and found that the humans were snuggling with her... making her the top spoon in the drawer... if you know what I mean. That was it. I sat down with an harrumph and refused to get in bed. My "father figure" patted the bed behind him as if I was supposed to just curl up by myself over there. I responded by trotting around the bed and sitting down with another harrumph.
Finally, I was speaking my mind. And I won! My little strike forced him to roll over and snuggle with me. It was so liberating!
And yet, I feel like maybe I've gone too far. Is this the kind of behavior that we should be promoting? Do I want other little doggies to see me act this way? I don't want to turn into one of those controlling, manipulative little bitches that get there way by pouting all the time.
What do you think? Am I doing the right thing?
Hi Ebony! Ah yes, it’s all fun and games and Top Spoons In The Drawer until they bring a new dog home. Sharing is so difficult, isn’t it? It’s why I’m soooooooooo glad I’m such an amazing awesome dog that I’m all Dorothy needs.
Here’s the thing about life that’s hard for us dogs to understand: Life changes. It what!? I KNOW! It’s crazy, isn’t it! Us dogs, we’re pretty much content to do the same things over and over again. We have no concept of time. Of course we don’t, we don’t wear watches, we don’t know what a clock is. We know when it’s time for a run when she opens the drawer where her running clothes are. We know it’s time for a run when they grab the leash. We know when it’s time to be fed when our tummy growls. We know it’s time to go outside and do our thing when…well, you know.
Humans are different. They get bored. They what!? I KNOW! What’s up with that!? So humans like to shake things up by training for half marathons, changing the furniture in the room, new paint on the walls, or bringing other dogs home, everything that throws our world into chaos because it’s not the same.
P.S., a special aside to all humans out there. DO NOT PUT A SANTA HAT ON YOUR DOG! Don’t do it. Just…don’t. You think it looks cute, IT’S NOT! WE HATE IT! IT SUCKS! IT’S UNCOMFORTABLE! No, we’re not gonna stand still for longer than three seconds. IF WE WERE SUPPOSED TO WEAR SANTA HATS ON OUR HEADS, GOD WOULD’VE MADE US THAT WAY! Did he? Did God create dogs with Santa hats already on their heads? NO! SO DON’T PUT THEM ON THERE!
Anyhow, Ebony, the point is that life changes. There’s very little we dogs can do about it, except remind our owners every single day how amazing and awesome we are (more so than our sisters), so they can’t possibly ignore us.
I also recommend you persuade your owners to buy a California King mattress. That way, there’s plenty of room for you all to be Top Spoon.
Thanks for the question!
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