Despite how fearless I'm making her sound, there is one thing she will not do. No, wait...two things. I forgot that she won't eat zucchini. This is only surprising if you knew what she is willing to eat instead (literally anything...doesn't have to be food). Wait, I just remembered another one - she won't walk over those sewer grates in the road, she takes a minimal 20 foot arc around them - so, three things! Actually, now that I think about it, it would be quicker to tell you what she is actually willing to do. For now, I will wind my way back to my point.
The thing she will never, ever do... She will not go down the (unfinished) stairs to the (unfinished) basement (unfinished is a running theme in this house) (also in my life, but perhaps that is another blog for another time...). The open stair-case completely freaks her out.
Sometimes, if she is in a "mood" (the kind which involves the sudden baring of teeth and some lunging), the best thing to do is make a run for those stairs. There, you will be relatively safe. If you don't mind spending the rest of your days in a cold (unfinished) basement, because...guess what snarling beast awaits your return at the top.
Other times, her and I get along fine. We're on speaking terms (her speaking is perpetual barking, my speaking is yelling, cajoling and pleading with her to stop barking). We're sometimes even on "petting each other's belly" terms (she enjoys this more than me) (full disclosure: I don't hate it).
It's during these times, if I leave her to go downstairs and put the laundry in the dryer, she will stand at the top of the stairs in actual heartbreak. Crying, whining, that "puppy-dog eyes" tactic. Knowing that - without a doubt - I must be descending into the depths of hell itself...where she will be helpless to protect me (other times she is less concerned with my protection).
The other day she wanted to play. She has a game which is her take on "Fetch". Unlike Fetch, her version has really stupid rules. She approaches you with her big stuffed pig named Big Pig. Or the mini stuffed pig, named Piggy. Or her stuffed cat named Kitty or possibly her stuffed hedge-hog named Hedgie (we are not great at naming things) (probably didn't require clarification). She also owns a tiny stuffed rat we named Larry (in an unprecedented burst of creativity) but I think it is no coincidence that "Larry" is never asked to play "Fetch". Maybe if his name was Ratty? We'll never know.
The rules of this game are as follows: she approaches you with stuffed animal already in a death jaw grip. Then, you must try and take (Big Pig, Hedgie...) away from her. She will fight with all of her 25 pound strength to prevent this. Giving in is not an option. You must fight hard and pretend that smelly, dirty, slightly damp thing is the only thing you want in life, ever. I know it sounds like a real hoot, but believe me. It is not a fun game...(example)
Nudge, growl. I have Big Pig. Fight me for him. Nudge, growl. Fight harder. Nudge, growl. Look how fierce I am. Nudge. You're not really looking. Look! Nudge, growl. Nudg---yes, you get the idea. (this is not unlike the American Presidential election race, now that I think of it...)
So, I happened to be doing laundry that day and had to go down to the basement right in the middle of a tense Big Pig hostage stand-off situation. I took a picture of her, experiencing actual heartbreak.
I feel like this dog teaches me a lot. Mostly about how to lose friends and influence murder. About how to not react, what not to eat, how not to behave and how to command obedience and/or bacon...by simply threatening to tear off a limb or two. Although this has been less than helpful in daily life, I have to admit that those times when I go to the basement and it almost crushes her, emotionally?
It feels pretty good.
Sometimes a dog can make you feel like the most important person in the world. Which can be a nice self-esteem booster.
And who couldn't use one of those, right?