For my Grand-paw on his 86th Birthday — You’ve always encouraged me to write and to speak my story and my truth. When I put my paws to the keyboard, I always ask myself, “What would Grandpaw like to read about today?” I hope you enjoy today’s topic and I hope you know ho much I love you (as seen in my wiggles) and cherish you (which is why I lie by your chair). Happiest of Birthdays, Grand-paw…from all of us (Gretchen, Ann, and Dezi too!)
Your best Grand-dog, Rubin
I am not good at sharing. Let me be more specific. I am good at talking about myself and sharing my feelings, but I’m not good at allowing others to occupy my space, eat my food, or play with my toys (to name just a few). It’s that kind of sharing — the kind where someone gets something of mine without asking — that I find the most difficult.
For most of my life, this inability to share has never really seemed like a problem and to be honest, I never realized it was a problem for others. I just thought everyone believed like I did — what mine is mine; what’s yours is yours. No discussion. No problem. You keep your paws off my bed and my couch and out of my space, and we won’t have a problem.
But now that we share our lives with another dog — another dog different than the ones who stay with us as part of our business — I’ve come to understand that my unwillingness to share has its downside. And maybe, just maybe not being able to share my food, toys, and space is a problem — if not for me, than for others. In this case, specific others.
Dezi is the newest member of our family. His presence puts me in an interesting position because 1) he’s older than I am and 2) he’s not leaving us — this is his new home and as much as I enjoyed being a one-dog family, I must accept that we are now a two-dog family and in a two-dog family you have to learn to share.
Furthermore, this would have been slightly different if the dog we brought into our family who was younger than me, but we didn’t. We brought in an elderly citizen and even I know that means I have to respect him in a way I wouldn’t necessarily respect a puppy. I can’t boss him around like I can Joey or Theo or even Big Albert or Little Albert and I can’t really treat him like an equal because he’s my senior and therefore deserves more respect.
Which means that he gets the prime corner on the couch. He gets fed first. He gets to sleep on the human bed (and I am relegated to the bed Momma Ann built for me at the end of the human bed…a nice place, but it’s not the human bed and yes, I have a problem with that). Dezi has gotten a little more attention than I have lately and given the circumstances of his arrival I intellectually understand it, but emotionally am feeling a bit jealous. At our latest vet appointment, he got to receive his acupuncture before I received my chiropractic work. Even the women at the vet’s office and even the vet herself were slightly more interested in Dezi than they were me. They tried not to let it show, but I could see it.
When people come to visit or we go on a trip to visit friends and family, they ask first about Dezi and then about me. They kiss and hug Dezi first and then say, “Oh Rubin, are you feeling left out?”
Of course I am!!! But I buck up and greet them as happily as I would if I were the only dog in the room.
Which I am not.
Dezi’s respectful though. I’ll give him that. He might get up on the couch first to claim the prize corner location, but if I jump up after him he doesn’t growl or bark or look perturbed. Even if I flop myself down on top of him (he likes to sleep under the covers) he’s totally cool about it, which I find, I must admit, totally impressive. And when it’s meal time and I want to clean up the last of the food in his bowl, he moves right over and lets me.
I guess that’s why, if I have to learn to share, having Dezi as my “teacher” is not so horrible. My moms would love to see me transfer this new found sharing ability to other dogs and in other situations, but they don’t quite get that I have a reputation to uphold. I was top dog for a long time before Dezi moved in. I’m slightly set in my ways, ya know, so while I’ve been told I’m getting better at the whole sharing thing, even I know I’m not perfect at it.
Not yet anyway.
I mean, I have yet to let Dezi write on this blog.
That would be a huge step forward in the sharing department now wouldn’t it?
Don’t hold your breath. There are a lot more sharing hurdles I need to jump before I relinquish the laptop.