When Mom and Dad first brought me home from the animal shelter, I was still young and very naive. I didn’t realize that people have tons of rules, and that I was expected to memorize and obey all those rules if I wanted to live in peace with my human family. I had to learn where I was allowed to sleep (my dog bed, my crate, or the floor) and where I wasn’t allowed to sleep (everywhere else, apparently). I had to distinguish between the dog toys that I was encouraged to play with and the children’s toys that I was forbidden to chew on. Most importantly, I discovered that while it’s perfectly acceptable for humans to “potty” inside the house and that they even have designated rooms for it, I am expected to go outside every single time I have to relieve myself. (And if you think squatting in the yard first thing in the morning when it’s ten degrees outside is easy, you’ve obviously never had to do it.)
Luckily for me, I’m a pretty smart dog. I’ve memorized almost all of the rules, and I’ve also figured out that if I do need to break one or two, it’s best not to let Mom or Dad know. Take my sleeping arrangements, for instance. I know for a fact that the most comfortable place to sleep is the living room couch, but Mom and Dad don’t like to see me on it. So I make sure they never do. I wait until they are out of the house before I climb on the couch for a nap, and when I hear them returning, I just jump off and run to the door to greet them. It’s a great system that keeps all of us happy.
I’ve also figured out that if I’m a little hungry, all I have to do is go stand by the back door until someone lets me outside. Because every time I come back inside, I get a dog biscuit. Mom and Dad argue all the time over who started that tradition, but it doesn’t really matter, because it’s set in stone now. So whenever I want a snack, I just “ask to go outside.” Then I stand on the back porch for a few seconds, scratch at the door to let them know I’m ready to come back in, and voila! I get a dog biscuit.
But one of the nicest things I’ve learned is what happens when the holidays roll around. Thanksgiving is next week, and already Mom is bringing home tons of groceries in preparation for the big feast. There will be lots of food and I know some of the leftovers will go in my supper dish. And this year there will be two little ones at the table who I can count on to toss some tasty tidbits my way during the meal itself! A few weeks after Thanksgiving comes Christmas, which is even better because Christmas means extra food AND presents. What more could a dog ask for?
I’m actually pretty proud of myself for how well I’ve adapted and I know that I’m lucky to have found a loving family. Because there are lots of dogs still living in shelters who would give their right paw for a chance to finally have a real home. Just something to think about, for those of you who might have room in your hearts and home for one more…….