The forgotten mongrel

20Aug08
Rover T can still remember when he was allowed to express his anals on the couch.

Rover T tearfully thinks back to the days when he was allowed to express his anals on the couch.

For years, our dog Rover T has been the centerpiece of our home life. Our first kid, if you will. We have taken hundreds of photos of him. We get him birthday presents. We follow a guidebook of places for him to romp. We bought an SUV basically to accommodate his 100 pound heft. We even procured him an orthopedic bed as he began to age. He’s… a priority.

As he should be. Rover T is a large, attractive beast, with a strong chest and long, graceful legs – just like his owner. He’s very well trained, too. I talk to him like a person, instead of yelling commands at him, so he seems even smarter. Overall, most people who meet him think he is pretty awesome.

Lately, they might not think so. The arrival of Buster has turned Rover T from a proud and cheerful animal into the equivalent of an angsty Goth teenager.

Perhaps I can demonstrate with a typical greeting from Rover T, before and after Buster came home.

BEFORE: “What’s up, man, good to see you! Where ya been? Smells like somewhere good. Hey – you want to play, maybe go for a walk? I have this ball – check it out, I can toss it around!”

AFTER: “Uhhhnngh. You’re coming down the stairs AGAIN with that giant thing? No, I don’t want to say hello to your spawn. Get it away. Move that thin- stop – I can’t even look at you. <turns his back to car seat> Uhhhngh. Wake me when he’s in college.”

Or maybe it would be better illustrated via his response to the question, “Hey, buddy, do you want a treat?”

BEFORE: “TREAT? OH MY GOD YEAH! I’ve been wondering if you’d ask that all day. <spins around in circles> Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.” <CHOMP>

AFTER: <sniffs the air in front of him> “Er, is that supposed to make up for the fact that you’ve completely abandoned me in favor of a new, hairless dog that can’t even move around and seems to be allowed to crap wherever it wants?” <takes treat, spits out on floor, walks away>

Or finally, via a typical experience at the park.

BEFORE: “Oh, it’s so great to be here. How are you, Farley? How ya doin’? You, white dog, with the dirty ass? How you been? Good? Good! Oh, here’s a stick. I think I’ll take a quick sprint with it. Wheee! Wonderful to be here, isn’t it, Shamus? Time to rest in the grass. I love life. You rule, Dad.”

AFTER: <sniffs in an angry fashion> “Stupid dad calls this five minute walk through the park on the way to Starbucks quality time. What a bunch of crap. I think I’ll take one on the opposite side of the park just so he has to double back. Okay. I’m done here. Take me back to that dump that you make us call home.”

I’m not really sure what to do to cheer up Rover T. A few weeks before Buster was born, we played recordings of babies crying in front of the dog. I did the whole thing with bringing Buster’s blanket home ahead of the baby. Since then, I’ve brought Rover T new toys, spent extra time with him, given him extra affection, even allowed him to sit closer to the table than Buster during meals.

But the bottom line is he knows he’s not #1 anymore. And he ain’t happy about it. He refuses to acknowledge Buster with any more than a passing glance, and that’s if we beg him to approach him. He’s just going to try to pretend we’re not in the room whenever we’re paying more attention to the baby. He’s spent most of his time lately with his back turned to us, grumbling whenever we audibly delight in Buster.

Sometimes he’s less passive about his protest. When I was snapping some photos of Buster in front of him, he began whining and got really anxious – until I pointed the camera at him and started taking pictures of his nervous doggy grin. I soon realized I didn’t actually need the camera, as long as I held my hands up to the side of my face and made a shutter snapping sound. Apparently my dog is a desperate exhibitionist.

My friends with kids and dogs said they got the same thing from their pooches until the babies were old enough to start dropping scraps from high chairs and otherwise become new suppliers of food and fun.

Here’s hoping that Rover T doesn’t start wearing black lipstick and dressing in shorts and garters before that happens.

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4 Responses to “The forgotten mongrel”

  1. Time for Prozac.

    Our Murphy is the same way. She was has been the center of our world for the past 9 years. Now she is simply an after thought. She just looks at me with disgust now.

    Good news is that she loves our little one and any chance to the lick the head she takes it. Good luck

  2. 2 Jim

    It’ll only be a few years before they can start playing a little together. He’ll warm up then. You’ll just have to tough it out. Maybe be a little extra attentive from time to time.

  3. 3 ben

    hi i really think your dog is sad/ cute


  1. 1 The Infant Car Seat « dad or bust

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