Hi, I’m Frisco.
Yesterday, Princess took me for our weekly run. Princess is my owner. I was the ultimate running buddy. I pooped in the tall grass so she wouldn’t have to pick it up. I pulled her when she started to lag behind, and I stopped to pee a lot so she could catch her breath. I only darted in front of her once, but that was because I saw a rabbit, and he was twitching his nose and tail, and that’s just irresistible. I think she understood, because she didn’t scold me. Anyway she was probably just glad she didn’t trip and fall on her face.
Let me just be upfront about something. This family would not survive without me. I mean, I am their universe. It’s probably not healthy, like in an optimal functional family type of way. But let’s just be honest, I’m the butter to their bread, the sugar on their berries, the swatter to their fly- I’m it. I’m all they have. Their life must have been an empty hole, a dark abyss, a desolate cavern before I came.
Princess is high maintenance, if you know what I mean. She’s real neurotic about how I should act, who I hang around, and what food I eat. I get out of line, she’s on me like a tic. But it didn’t take long before I had her wrapped around my dew claw. What can I say, the chicks dig me. We make out all the time. It’s awesome.
So when Princess gets upset with something I do, I just have to roll my eyes. You can’t really improve on perfection, you know? It’s like she doesn’t know that everything I do has a purpose.
Take for instance, territorial marking. I peed on the carpet in the den because they moved in an aquarium, three fish, and a frog. I had to communicate the hierarchical system here. Princess always talk about “effective communication” as the “foundation to any relationship” bla bla bla. I was communicating to the subordinates. And it was effective.
Another example is my duty to protect. My bark is fierce. It’s epic. It has the power to intimidate and threaten. I employ it when there is certain danger to life, limb or property.
Last night, when the family was sleeping, I was on guard, patrolling the property. My family was dreaming of my beautiful brown eyes and my strapping muscles, when the back yard was inundated with a malicious posse of raccoons. I barked incessantly to ward off the masked bandits. I don’t know why Princess was so upset. If she knew what I had just done for her precious tomato plants, she would have given me treats instead of stomping around the living room in a huff. I was communicating. And it was effective.
When Princess and I were on our run this morning, we ran into some neighbors. They had a new dog and that dog was wondering who was boss. I could tell because he was sniffing all up in my business, and that means only one thing to me. Time to ALPHA up. I established my dominance quickly by raising my tail, jumping on him, and issuing a growl of warning.
What? I was communicating! And it was effective!
Princess pulled me off, yanked my chain, and scolded me. She hissed something like, “You don’t have to dominate everybody all the time! Geez! He just wanted to play!”
I don’t play. I compete. I dominate. That’s when she said, “I get it, I do! I know you want everyone to think you’re top dog. But nobody wants to play with you if you’re going to act like that. Don’t try to be the best, just try to have fun!”
And then she got real quiet, and she didn’t say anything else for the rest of the run. I think it’s because she’s the same way. I think it all struck a chord. I think it’s hard for her to let her guard down and just have fun. I see it in her temples- she’s stressed and short and snippy. She likes to compete. She likes to win. She likes to be the best too. And she forgets to have fun.
One thing I know, is that when I’m feeling really fine, like really fine– sun’s up, rabbits out, scents-on-the-breeze type of fine, I trust Princess a whole lot. She’s got me firm on the leash. She gives me a tug just to remind me she is there, and I forget about being the top dog. I forget about having to prove myself. I forget about competing, and I just have fun. I fetch, and play, and sniff and wag. It’s me and her, and we’re happy.
But when big dogs are around, I lose myself and I forget she’s got me, that she won’t let anything happen to me that I can’t handle. I forget that I don’t have to worry. Worry about what the other dogs think of me. Worry if they’ll respect me. Worry if they’ll ….ok… admire me. When I worry, I self-protect, self promote, self-aggrandize. I gotta compete. I gotta perform so no one will take advantage of me. I forget that having fun is way better than being Top Dog.
I wonder if she feels the same way. I wonder if she forgets that her Prince has got her. That her Prince will take care of protecting her, and respecting her, and making her important. I wonder if she forgets that her Prince values her, and she doesn’t need to act like Alpha to get her value. That she’s the butter to His bread, the sugar to His berries, the swatter to His fly. That she should stop worrying about being the best, and just try to have fun.
But what do I know, I’m just a dog.
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
7 Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings…