about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Dog and Me

This is Steven Petrick posting:

By now most of you are aware that Jean Sexton has a dog. She brings this dog to the office every day. The dog is a "rescue dog," and from its demeanor has gone through some "rough patches." It tends to flinch when someone, even someone it has some trust for, reaches out to pet it suddenly. It has an "approach/avoidance" attitude towards people it has been around.

All that said, there is no question that having been rescued by Jean the dog loves her unconditionally.

I am, however, something of another sort.

I grew up around dogs. My family life always had dogs and cats for most of my life prior to entering the service. I was never a "dog person" however. The dogs in our family always congregated around my younger brother. I could pet them and talk to them, but they never followed me anywhere (if my younger brother left the house, whether he called the dogs or not, they would leave with him).

Jean's dog barked and growled at me when he first met me. I have never, to this day, given him a "treat" as have the other members of the company. Yet, in a few days he did a "submission ritual," that is to say he rolled over and exposed his belly to me.

I will not say that the dog and I are friends. He trusts me to let me pet him when he feels secure, but he will not come when I call (admittedly I call him "little dog" and not "Markie"), and generally was more friendly towards me initially than anyone other than Jean. He has gotten friendlier with everyone now, but still very much has that "approach/avoidance" attitude. He is more likely to approach a sitting person than a standing one.

I am pretty sure that in his own mind he does not think I am going to intentionally hurt him, but he is unsure of his own belief.

Jean and SVC have taken to claiming that he has decided that I am the "alpha male" in the office, which I consider to be them making a joke at my expense.

I offer to play with him, but have noted that if Jean is not around he tends to fall into a deep depression which I take is a fear on his part that Jean has abandoned him. I think he has real abandonment issues. He does not really explore the offices by himself, but keeps very close to Jean. He will chase balls, if Jean is part of the game or at least observing, but will not chase a ball I throw if Jean is not somewhere nearby.

He is a nice enough dog, and I certainly will not be party to hurting him "deliberately" (there is always a chance you are going to hurt a small animal unintentionally if it is underfoot), although Jean is a little concerned that I comment frequently on his being only "skin and bones" and not having enough meat on him for a good emergency ration.

But I also tell the dog that he "won the lottery" by having Jean rescue him, and while his life is far from perfect (whose is), he has plenty of food, toys, a warm and dry place to sleep, and someone who also loves him unconditionally in Jean Sexton.