My Wife's Dog Is Plotting My Death
Ever get a feeling that someone is watching you. A nefarious chill that raises the hair on the back of your neck? No, I’m not talking about the sweaty figure sitting at the end of the bar at Chili’s. It’s the vibe you get when someone is wishing you ill. Maybe it’s a former flame, watching you from afar hoping that one day you’ll roll your ankle and fall testis first into a woodchipper. Unfortunately that eerie feeling isn't coming from a human. My wife’s dog on the other hand, has been praying for my demise since I’ve been on the scene.
I have a theory that I believe to be true but I have no data to support my claim. In my family, that is expected. The running joke is that I quote statistics but never cite my source. Fair. I’ll save my ranting about data manipulation for another post. Today’s meaningless complaint is predicated on qualitative experiences and reasoning. My wife’s dog hates me… but I know why.
Some of you may exhale the weight of your day as soon as you turn the key to your home. You put down your things, unbutton your pants, pour yourself a beverage and throw on reruns of Charles In Charge. Then you’re greeted by the unconditional affection of man’s best friend as Scott Baio tries to break free of his tenure as Chachi.
Unfortunately, I don’t get that same level of affection or dedication from my wife’s dog. Every time I get home she looks at me disappointed that my commute was successful, safe, and that I appear in good health. (The dog, not my wife.) If my wife and I dare hug, the dog barks, groans, and violently humps the couch.
I’m not looking for advice here. I know all about the pack leader and consistent expectations. In fact, it’s Cesar Milan’s no talk, no touch, no eye contact, that has helped me navigate people and survive this pandemic. Vince McMahon illustrates the love that can be shared between human and animal very well.
Again, that is the result of mutual love and appreciation between man and beast. Unfortunately, my situation is full blown Harry Styles. One Direction.
My theory on this idea is what I've been calling The Evil Stepfather Principle. When two people begin dating, and one is a dog owner, there is a high probability the other will become the chump. By that I mean the subordinate and inferior member of the newly formed pack. We all have various thresholds for what we are comfortable with in terms of dogs. During the courtship, the dogless member allows behaviors to go unaddressed. Jumping, licking, scratching, and everything in between that pushes you Overtime, this under correction of behaviors and boundaries outlined by the dogless fool ends in a less than fantastical appreciation for man’s best friend.
Basically, you want the human in the relationship to like you so you ignore the dog’s nonsense. By the time you’ve realized this… it’s too late. The dog is wishing for your death every time you walk to retrieve the latest issue of Magnolia Journal from your mailbox.
Our dog is planning for life after I’m out of the picture. I know it, she knows it, and nothing will convince me otherwise. There was one night that every time I started a sentence, she began to whine. It was so pointed and deliberate that my wife and I began to laugh. I never did get to finish telling her about my dream where I lost my limbs in a boating accident.
How does one get through such a predicament?
I don’t need a trainer. I’ve watched Dr. Pol do his thing for long enough. Plus, I worked for a veterinarian for the better part of my twenties. Navigating this takes a multi-level approach.
First, I must remind myself that I am the human by watching Cujo.
Second, I must remind the dog I am in control by making her watch Old Yeller… especially the ending.
Third, I watch Homeward Bound.
Fourth, I reflect on my appreciation for Michael J. Fox.
Fifth, I go for a run after watching so many damn animal movies.
In the end, there may not be an easy solution. My wife’s dog predates me in the relationship. Despite being diagnosed with the rarest of cancers, her health and hate for me endures. You’d never know she was sick. In fact, I believe it’s my essence that is keeping the dog alive. Kind of like a Dennis Quaid in Dragon Heart situation.
The dog’s disdain for me is what’s keeping her alive.
Maybe I’m the hero. Perhaps I’m man’s best friend... or maybe I'll remain sad Ben Affleck watching my D-list sitcom reruns. #chachi