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Dog Rules Part 2: Dogs rule the roost

Last time we told you how our life-long love for dogs started with our first Boston Terrier, and how he was such a lovely dog, adapting to all Mother’s Rules For Dogs. Spunky and Mother are together again. Both would be a bit perturbed. Dogs rule the roost these days.

Bit of an uprising

There have been half a dozen or more dogs between that first, angelic little guy and the current crew of unholy terrors. We freely admit – it’s all our fault.

There isn’t a single piece of soft furniture that the dogs aren’t allowed on. We do draw the line, still, at tables: kitchen tables, dining room tables, coffee tables are all off limits. It took years to convince Teddy that we truly didn’t need his help preparing meals up close and personal in the kitchen. He finally got the message and lent his support from the kitchen chair.

Golly ruled the roost

Golly taught us the most about how to treat her species properly. She didn’t actually fuss a lot. No whining or barking. Golly just made her wishes known by staring at you with those huge, puppy-dog eyes and not moving until she got exactly what she wanted. To the best of our knowledge she wasn’t telepathic. But don’t make us swear to that.

Predisposed to sympathy

Golly came shortly after Mother went. We were probably very vulnerable at that point. When we discovered that our four-month-old puppy needed heart surgery, we were sitting ducks for anything her little heart desired. We were doomed. Golly, spoiled rotten? Just like every dog we’ve had (before and since)? Sure! Why not? It’s not like any dog has to grow up and be a responsible taxpayer!

Dogs rule the roost

When Booker wakes up from a nap – we hurry to take him outside so he’s able to comply with the rules. Simon gets hangry, so dinner is on a schedule. When Torque shoves Hope’s legs aside so he can get comfy on the couch, she moves. When Tango insists that the best sleeping place is at the head of the bed next to Fran’s face, she puts a dog bed there so he’s even more rotten.

We schedule our days so the dogs can go out at regular intervals. When vacations were a thing, the dogs came along. We invite friends who don’t like dogs to meetings elsewhere than home.

With that understanding, it’s still true that there are absolute rules for dogs in the household. Everybody has to eliminate appropriately. Everybody has to play nice. No fighting allowed. And, even after all these years, no begging at the table. Mother would be so proud.

The Evolution of Dog Rules

The beginning of dog rules

Once upon a time there were two little girls who begged and begged their mother for a dog.

“Okay,” Mother eventually said, having been worn down by constant whining, chore completion, and an impressive book report all about Boston Terriers (Mother’s favorite breed). “But here are the dog rules: the dog can’t go in the living room and can’t be on the furniture. No begging at the table. He’ll sleep in the kitchen, not in your room or ever on the bed.”

The two little girls, who were dog-mad and would have agreed to anything, solemnly promised. 

Having reached contractual agreement, six-week-old Spunky the Boston Terrier joined the family. He was the best friend two little girls could ever have. And he was a good boy and never went in the living room (without an invitation), never jumped up on the furniture (without an invitation), and never slept in the girls’ beds. He obeyed the dog rules as diligently as he had to.  

Black and white photo of a Boston Terrer, Spunky, who started the dog rules

It was never admitted out loud, but there may have been occasions (thunderstorms) that Spunky was allowed in Mother’s room. It’s unclear who needed the company. There are suspicions it may have been Mother.

Different dog, different rules

In time, as all good dogs, Spunky crossed the Rainbow Bridge to wait for Mother. The girls, now almost-grown but not quite, did more research and, with Mother’s agreement, Brussels Griffon Dragon joined the family. He was not allowed in the living room, not allowed on the furniture, but did sleep in the girls’ room. In his own bed, until Mother closed the door and said “good night.” After that, no one who knows is saying.

Dragon was also a good boy and kept the family safe from all intruders. He sat on the window sill at the back of the breakfast nook and “barked his fool head off,” according to Mother. One day an old towel appeared on the window sill. Mother said it was because of condensation. The girls did not believe her.

As children do, the girls grew up. One day one of the girls opened the door and yelled “Are you decent? I have someone I want you to meet!”

Mother may have hoped it was a suitor. She hollered back “No, come on in!”

Her possible hopes were in vain – it was a Boston Terrier puppy. They named him Daemon.

More broken rules

Daemon decided that the most comfortable place to watch television in the evening was with his elbow across Mother’s leg. He had claimed the territory of both Mother and the couch. Mother may have had a particular soft spot for Boston Terriers. She did not put up much of a fight.

Dragon and Daemon were both very good boys. Who obeyed all the dog rules of the house, of which there were very few. They cuddled on the furniture (as long as they weren’t in the living room), minded their manners when the family ate, and only sometimes burrowed underneath the covers in the girls’ beds. 

In Part II – The Dog Rules Stretch Even More