I am Cesar Millan‘s worst nightmare. You know Cesar, the world renown dog behavioral specialist who has his own TV show on the National Geographic cable network. He rehabilitates owners as well as the dogs.
Anyway, I guess you could call me the anti-Cesar. I am totally dominated by my yellow Labrador, Queenie. Well, her official name is Queen Abigail, but Queenie is so much more user-friendly. And believe me, I am used.
It all started innocently enough. It had been a couple of years since our last dog. We had convinced ourselves that our lives were better without the responsibility of a dog. Right. And Shakespeare’s most famous play would be better if it were just “Romeo.” In any case, Queenie knew better. She decided to adopt us one day as we were returning home from breakfast at our favorite eatery. (In case you didn’t know this, we do not pick dogs out, they pick out their owners.)
She was roaming the neighborhood playing with some other dogs. We had never seen her before. For me, it was love at first sight. I commented, “I wonder who that dog belongs to.” Later, my wife was working in the yard and Queenie began to hang around. We petted her and she was sooooo friendly. I went to a football game with my son and when I returned she was still there, weeding and planting right along with my wife. And then it happened, I committed the cardinal sin. I let her in the house and gave her a treat. Game over.
After posting “dog found” notices with pictures all around the area and in the paper, there was no response after several days.* Off to the vet to have her checked out and vaccinated. That would be the last day I had any real control over my life.
Queenie now tells me when it is time to get up, when it is time for her to eat, to walk, to play and have treats. No, she can’t talk, but boy can she “nudge.” If I get complacent and let one of those appointed times slip by, I soon feel the unmistakable touch of cold, wet nose lifting my arm up with a vengeance. She persists.
Domineering? Who, me?
If I try to buy off her nudges with “just a few minutes more, Queenie” then I get THE STARE. This dog can gaze with the best of them. It’s a laser stare which penetrates all the way into the medulla oblongata. How does she not blink? Don’t dogs have to blink? And in the morning, when I first pry open my reluctant eyelids, what do you think awaits me mere inches from my face? Yep, THE STARE.
Fear “THE STARE”
I know, I’m supposed to be the Alpha dog, the pack leader as it were. But the worst of it is, I don’t seem to care. I think Queenie knew when she picked me out that I was not cut out for that role. One look into those soulful eyes and I’m toast. Far from being stern, I end up laughing at her machinations.
So there you have it. More “owned” than owner, more “trained” than trainer, that’s me. But I sure do have the best friend in the world.
And as for Cesar, well, you know what they say, “you can’t win ’em all.”
So many trees, so little time.
Be sure to wake me for the next party.
* We eventually caught up with the former owner. He was a quite elderly gentleman from a nearby farm who had taken Queenie to help out a friend who could no longer keep her. His little dog didn’t like Queenie so she had to be outside all the time and kept running away. He was thrilled to hear she had found a good home.