A Cautionary Tale

I am afraid that I have created a monster.

A little over a year ago, we went to the Waco Humane Society, where we adopted a dog that we loved for her giant ears and spunky personality. We named her California, because we had recently vacationed there. Callie seemed a little insecure at first, and she growled and nipped at her older sister, Phoebe. Since I knew that her previous life must have been difficult (she did, after all, end up at the pound), I tried to build up her fragile and untrusting view of the world by showering her with lots of extra love and attention.

Callie loved to be held and petted, and we encouraged her and Phoebe to sit on our laps as we watched movies or read books. As a young bride, I took out my maternal urges on Callie, and carried her around the house on her back, cradled in my arms like a baby. About a month ago, I felt a mysterious lump on Callie’s ribs and thought that she had a tumor. I gave her lots of extra love and attention in case she was dying, which turned out not to be the case.

It’s a very sweet story, except that now, a year later, Callie has become the canine equivalent of the spoiled child (an undesirable menace to society, which I have always vowed never to create). When I am in the room, Callie wants to be held. If I sit on the couch, where she is no longer allowed, she rests her head on the edge of the cushions and whines pathetically. If I am working around the house, Callie follows me around and assumes the begging position every time I pause. She emits a very high pitched, yelping noise if she thinks I am ignoring her. She will not chew on her bone. She will not lay in her bed. She wants my attention now and always.

I’m a little bit worried that when we have a child and Callie has to become an outside dog (because she snaps at kids), that she will die of grief. Literally, like Little Ann in Where the Red Fern Grows, she will lie down in her dogloo one day and not have the will to ever get up again. Wait…that means that my days with Callie are numbered! I better go hold her while I still can.

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9 responses to “A Cautionary Tale

  1. BTW, there is no hidden announcement in this post.

  2. My parents had a cat that was very affectionate, and loved my mom. But after my mom brought a little bundle home from the hospital, the cat would have nothing to do with her.

    I guess it’s a transition from our “play children” to our real ones, and the pets receive the brunt of the blow. Of course, Friday still ignores me, and hasn’t sat on my lap, yet, but he does want attention (cats, so fickle), so it’ll probably be a change for him when that day comes.

  3. Did you find out what the lump is?

    Yes, dogs, cats, and children fall into patterns and expectations of what we allow them to do. I started exercising with Muffin, and she loved the daily walks and attention. Well, this week, I haven’t gone since the time change and because of busyness. Boy, has she let me know… whining every night!

    Bailey has his patterns, too. When we first got him, he wasn’t allowed in our room at night. He’d cry for a little while, but then stop. Last night, I tried putting him out, and he cried and cried and cried and cried… because he was used to being in!

    So… once you start doing something, you’re stuck it seems? I’m sure you can change your parenting ways, but yes… someone will take a blow.

  4. Oh my gosh, that dog drives me crazy. You should just put her back in the pound. No just kidding. But seriously.

  5. no Aunt of the Year for you, Laurashmaura!

  6. Hey, you should post a picture of the dogs begging… very cute!

  7. I’ll wait on that award for when you have real children who aren’t begging brats. Then I’ll be the best aunt ever. Maybe we should make up a cool “aunt name.” Why is it that only mom and dad get names and we don’t.

  8. I tried to take a pic of the dogs begging. But every time I got down to the right angle, Callie would run at me to get in my lap.

  9. laura-there is no way you’re getting best aunt award. im always the favorite

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