There is a power struggle going on in my house today, and I don’t like it one bit.
You see, traditionally I’ve been the tough guy, the one who doesn’t cave over emotional pleas, and sticks to my guns about discipline and doing the right thing.
Today it’s different. Roles have been reversed.
It involves a furry little angel named Maggie the WonderBeagle. Traditionally, every dog we’ve ever had has gone outside every 4 or 5 hours, and there’s never been an issue. Most of that was because my wife and I went to work every morning and there was no other option. We’d take the dog out before leaving for work at 7:45, come home around lunchtime to provide relief, then not be home until 5:30 or 6.
Previous dogs had no problem with the schedule.
But in these long days of our pandemic house arrest, we don’t go to offices any more and are here all the time. Right before all this happened, Maggie took a circuitous route through a South Carolina kill shelter that ended up with my house being her forever home when she was 8 weeks old. That first night, she weighed her options and decided the best place to sleep was on my lap watching a football game, and you could say I’ve been a bit smitten with her ever since.
Maggie has also gone as long as six hours without going outside, as she’s exhibited whenever we’ve had contractors working in the backyard and her area to run around has not been available. It didn't bother her either.
But today is different.
When it goes from freezing temperatures to 66 degrees like it did yesterday, and there had previously been ice and snow on the ground, everything turns to mud. Since Maggie likes to run a few laps around the backyard before settling down to focus on her primary purpose for being outside, this creates a huge mess with her paws. We keep a stack of towels down in the basement to deal with this matter, but frankly, it’s a pain in the backside for both owner and canine.
I hate doing it, and Maggie isn’t real happy about it either.
As a result, my wife today has morphed into Aunt Bea, and she’s treating Maggie like Otis the town drunk while under her supervision. I’ve even referred to it as “the rock” every time my wife says she’s only going out every 4 or 5 hours until the backyard dries out.
This is because of the often-repeated notion that I might not be as tough with Maggie as previous dogs. When an earlier dog decided at 11 PM he or she wanted to go outside for a midnight romp around the backyard, the dog used to hear “just hold it until morning.” Now, Maggie hears “let me get you a few of your favorite treats and we’ll go out right now.”
This usually causes my wife to exclaim things like “I sure wish Maggie would let me in on whatever spell she’s cast on you so I can get YOU to do whatever I want.”
I find all this a gross exaggeration, but Maggie does have a yearning look in those big brown eyes that I have a hard time saying no to. As a result, she has somehow gotten the idea that if she comes into my office, jumps up on my ottoman and just stares at me intently, I’ll somehow drop what I’m doing and do whatever she wants. Even if she was just outside 90 minutes earlier.
I don’t know how she has arrived at this notion. But my wife and daughter believe I’m a total pushover for this hound.
Which might be true.
So today, my wife has decreed Maggie’s next venture outside is 1 PM. It’s 11:30 and every 10 minutes Maggie is in my face, trying to understand why her superpowers don’t seem to be working today. My heart aches as I have to tell her the one word she rarely if ever hears from me: no.
I mean, look at those eyes. How could you deny them anything they want?
Aunt Bea can. And Maggie, at least until the sun dries everything out, it’s just you and me.
Serving our time together at “the rock.” 😊
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