Friday, January 6, 2012
It's a dog's life...
My daughter, Alea, celebrated her birthday this week and she choose to celebrate by spending a few days out here in the country. We went to one of my favorite restaurants and she ordered their scrumptious lobster ravioli. I had a combo plate of crab cakes, scallops, shrimp and oysters. The plan was to eat off each others plate – something we almost always do.
I knew I wouldn’t want to cook when we got back home, so I ordered up a plate of lobster ravioli and some calamari for Riley. He had been consistently bugging me for seafood and I thought this was a good way to satisfy his taste buds.
When we got back home, I fixed him a plate that contained a combination of his order mixed with what was in my “doggie box.” I looked at the plate and thought – “Damn that looks good!” I knew he was going to love it.
I presented the plate to him and placed it on his chair side TV tray. I added a salad and a fresh drink. He was set. I asked if there was anything else he wanted or needed. He told me it looked wonderful and there was nothing else he needed.
Alea and I settled into the sofas in the living room and started watching a movie. It had just begun when I went to the kitchen to get something. As I passed by Riley’s chair, I noticed his plate was licked absolutely, shiny clean. That’s unusual because he only eats a couple of bites at a time and leaves the rest for his many ventures to the kitchen in the middle of the night. Normally, I get up in the morning to find his dinner plate on the counter almost as it was when I first prepared it -- except in the morning it will have a roach or two crawling around on it. (The roach problem is still not totally resolved.) He picks at it through the day in spite of the bugs.
“How many ravioli did you actually eat?” I asked.
“A few,” he replied. “But I had some help.”
“So did you let Jade eat your dinner?”
“Well… she wanted it.” Riley remarked.
I wish I were Jade. It seems that Jade should have anything she wants. So if I were Jade, I would have fresh live
whole stuffed lobster at least twice a week. There would be huge stuffed baked potatoes, fresh asparagus with hollandaise, deep fried artichoke hearts with a garlic mayo, clams casino and oysters Rockefeller. Let’s throw in there a really good mocha mousse. I would have to let Riley have a couple bites – but essentially the meal would be mine alone. It’s a rough life for a dog named Jade. Maine
The next day, I became aware that Jade has become Riley’s master. She barks at her food dish and he refills it. She scratches at the door and he gets up to let her out. After just a few minutes, she barks at the back door and Riley lets her in. When she drops a ball at his feet and he throws it down the hall. She rolls on her back and he reaches down to scratch her tummy. When he takes a nap, she crawls onto the bed next to him. The cycle is repeated more than a dozen times during the day. There are no specific times for feeding or anything else for that matter. It’s just on Jade’s whim. Riley’s life is subservient to Jade.
My Jax, the Max Catx, on the other hand has a routine. If it isn’t cold, he stays out all night and comes to my bedroom when he sees I’ve turned on my bedside lamp. Then I let him in through the window as I’m on my way to the bathroom. Jax follows me to the laundry room just off my office, jumps up on the dryer and meows while looking at the cupboard that holds his food cans. I open a can and transfer the contents to his bowl. When he’s done eating, he lies just inside my office door and takes a bath while I go to work on my computer. He usually wants to go out again just before I have lunch, but he doesn’t stay out very long. So by the time I’m done fixing my plate – he wants back in and I oblige him entry. I don’t really hear from him again until close to dinner time when he wants two things – to be fed and let outside. He doesn’t require a lot of attention and he has very few needs. Unlike Jade, he manages just fine on his own. My relationship with Jax is more of a compatible partnership.
I do love Jade – really – I do. But, I already have a person who depends on me for every single aspect of his life. I worry about what I will do about Jade when Riley is gone. I don’t want to devote the time to her that Riley does. But then, I don’t want to give her to someone else because I fear they will not take her to the groomers or buy her the best food or let her sleep inside at night.
It is unfortunate that Jade may have to learn a whole new way of life when Riley departs for alcohol heaven. But, I know that to keep her in my life, she will need to learn manners that, so far, she has been able to avoid.
After having written my post about “My name is Jade…” I have been far more understanding and compassionate with her. I’m not as quick to scold and for the most part have essentially backed off from trying to get her to be a “good girl.” But there will come a time when she will have to abide by my rules. There should be an “or else” in there – but I’m not sure what it is.
In the meantime, I just have to learn to accept that Riley has no qualms about feeding her a more than $20 plate of seafood whenever it’s available. After all, it was his food and his choice. That makes it his loss.
As for me and Alea – we can’t wait to get back to that restaurant for more lobster!
at 11:34 AM