We have a house guest this week. She is my favorite kind of guest because her visit requires no massive cleaning, no great amount of preparation, no need for elaborate meals, and not much change to our regular routine. She is pretty unobtrusive actually. But she is fun!
Our guest is of the four-footed variety....a very sweet fluffy little dog. She has been a visitor at our house frequently, she knows us and our house, and so she just walked in and made herself at home. I was a bit fearful that she would be pining away or feeling abandoned, but she doesn't appear to notice that her own family isn't around. (Shhhh! Don't tell them!) No period of adjustment has been evident. She is eating, she is playing, she is sleeping, she is doing just fine! I am relieved.
The only thing is that I think the Big Guy is feeling left out. She has adopted me as her best friend. She follows me around wherever I go. If I am sitting at the computer, she is lying around within a few feet of me. If I go to the loo, she waits right outside the door. If I sit down in the living room she hops right up on the sofa or chair and settles in as close to me as she can get. She wants me to play chase or tug of war, or just pat her. She sleeps with me. She watches me. She waits patiently for me to return from wherever I might have gone. She is my shadow.
It isn't that she ignores the Big Guy exactly, but he is clearly the second place finisher in this relationship. She'll play with him, or let him take her out, or let him feed her, but when that activity is done, she comes back to my side like a shot.
This has never happened before. Dogs, cats, and kids always like Mikey best. Always! All five of the dogs we have owned have been Mikey's best friends! I have always been the second banana, clearly an also-ran in the ranking of preferred playmates!
And the love-affair has always been reciprocated by the Big Guy. He loves dogs....completely, totally, unquestionably, wholeheartedly, without reservation, above most other things. He was devastated when age and declining health would finally claim them. That devastation and loss were very hard for him. It was painful to see.
We haven't had a dog of our own for about 2 1/2 years and Mikey, in particular, would really like to have another dog. But we agreed (a bit reluctantly on his part) that having a new dog would not be a good choice for us now. Mikey works long hours and the care and feeding of any addition to our family would fall mainly to me. As much as we love dogs (and I love them too), having one can be very confining and demanding and after 30 years of various dogs in our lives, it really is time to make a different choice.
But Mikey surely was looking forward to having a little doggie pal for a short visit! It's just not turning out the way he wanted. This little doggie likes me more than she likes him.
Now there is a reason for this. She was a rescue dog and she had been abused in her former life. Although we don't know the specifics, it appears likely that her abuser (the SOB) was a man. She doesn't take to men easily. She is wary around them and occasionally will bark or growl if a man she doesn't know gets too close. Once she knows them, that wariness diminishes and she can be quite loving, but she really prefers women.
I don't understand how anyone can mistreat or abuse a dog. They are by nature loving, giving, loyal, happy creatures who ask very little of their humans. All they want is regular meals, a bit of playtime, and warm and loving care. They love unconditionally and it takes a lot of mistreatment to change that. Anyone who would abuse a dog (or any other animal) is about as worthless a person as it is possible to be. The punishment for an animal abuser who is apprehended should be the same treatment as they inflicted upon their victims!! They should also be removed from society permanently (I mean incarceration) so that they no longer have free rein to inflict hurt and pain upon any living thing!
(I'll get off my soapbox now!)
Getting back to our house guest....she is a sweet, loving, polite, well-behaved little visitor and she is welcome here till her own family returns. She appears happy to be here with us and that is a very good thing. Even though Mikey wishes he was her favorite playmate, I've got to admit, it makes a nice change that it's Mikey's turn to be "Second Fiddle!" :)