For any of you who know the story of “Marley & Me” it’s the story of newspaper columnist John Grogan and his dog Marley. The book, and movie, are based on Grogan’s newspaper columns he wrote chronicling the life of his big, sweet, lovable, yet destructive yellow lab.
I have a sort of canine “pal” myself, but she’s no Marley. My cousin (and roommate) has this dog named Ruby. She looks like a Doberman without the clipped ears and tail, but acts like a hound when she starts howling at absolutely nothing in the backyard. She has become my nemesis — lurking around every corner waiting to pounce on me.
Unlike Marley from the movie, it’s not always cute, laughable fun. The dog is a menace, at least to me.
“She’s just a puppy!” my cousin reminds me when I’m frustrated with something she’s done. Sorry, but the only puppies I know are cute, cuddly, adorable furballs — not full grown hellhounds!
I guess the problem is Ruby has decided I’m not a human, I’m just another dog in the house for her to play with. Brian can tell her “no” very sternly and she’ll listen, I tell her “no” and she barks at me as if to say, “you’re not the boss of me.”
A typical evening begins as I walk through the door. I am greeted by the shadow of this beast looming behind the window shade as I walk up the steps — like a stalker waiting to pounce.
Once inside she greets me like most dogs, showing her immediate affection by jumping to lick at my face. Then she’s down to business. The “other dog” is home and it’s playtime.
I get some dinner, Ruby is right underfoot. She’ll hover nearby waiting for a scrap to fall to the floor. If I don’t share some of my meal with her, she shoots dirty looks at me.
With dinner out of the way
I try to settle down and relax, but Ruby’s not having any of that. She will either bring me her toy and if ignored, she’ll lay it in my lap or shove it into a free hand if the opportunity arises.
If that doesn’t work to get my attention, she’ll go to the door and whine — she wants out. So I let her out and within seconds she’s back at the door to be let it. When I open the door she turns and runs, as if to say “come on, let’s play.” I grumble and shut the door and she’s back, scratching again. This game gets old fast.
Back inside she tries to provoke me into coming after her — a playful bite at a pant leg and my hand. When she gets a rise out of me she runs away as if daring me to chase after her. When my kids are over they like to pretend I’m hurting them when we play because they know the dog will attack me in their defense and to them, it’s humorous for dad to be mauled.
Then there are moments when all the play is finished and I relax in front of the TV and Ruby comes and curls up next to me, putting her head on my lap, that I have to admit sometimes its not so bad cohabitating with Man’s Best Friend.
But the “faking me out at the door” thing has just got to stop.