She’s a hard woman to love

When my master’s wife rings the dinner bell, I come running and I get there before my master. I park myself under the dining room table and wait for my master’s feet to push up against me. I snuggle against his old work boots and try to stay out of her sight. He pats my head.
Then his wife says, “Are you going to eat with that hand now that you patted your dog?”
I’m under the table and I don’t see the exchanged looks, but I’m sure, above the table, there are some fireworks going on. It’s my favorite spot in the house, where I can be part of the family’s conversation and where my master sneaks me a bite or two of human food.
The other day I heard something that didn’t sit well with me. My master’s wife, aka Grandma, said she was allergic to me and he needed to do something with me. She was tired of me making messes, getting into the garbage and eating food from the kitchen cabinets. No wonder my black hair is turning gray and I’m getting wrinkles around my eyes. I’m losing sleep over her.
She’s a hard woman to love. I could write a country song about her. The lyrics would go like this: “I keep loving her. When I lick her fingers, she turns and says, ‘Stop it.’ I keep showing her the way she needs to be loved. One day she’s going to love me back. They say, ‘love begets love.’ But she’s a hard woman to love. Oh God, how she needs to be loved, and I feel sorry for anyone who tries.”
Grandma broke the news to my master. She had spent the day with her friend and came home with a hair-brained idea. She believes she is missing out and needs a new addition to the family like her friend has.
Her friend said her new pet had changed her life. His name is Fin and he comes certified with papers. She spends hours looking at him. He scurries around her feet and obeys her. He is worth his weight in entertainment. He doesn’t bark, whine or lick and doesn’t have to be told to kennel up.
She is sold on replacing me with a new pet. She’s already named him “Fabio.” He won’t have to be fed and she won’t even have to talk nice to him. She says he is trained to do what he is told, unlike someone else she knows. She looks straight at me and I know she is talking about me. My master plays dumb. He’s not going to get into a dogfight.
“He has certification papers?” My master quizzed her, “So, how much does Fabio cost?”
“Not as much as the dog food you buy every month.” Grandma firmly placed her feet next to my head and I moved out of her way.
“We’re not going to do anything until I get my Toyota fixed.”
Saved by that old Toyota. And saved by the love of my master. I cozied next to his feet until I heard her next words.
“I’m allergic to Whiskey. Haven’t you heard how I sneeze? It’s Whiskey’s fault. It’s all that hair and dirt.” Grandma sneezed and coughed again.
He defended me, “It’s all in your mind. It’s that goose-down comforter on our bed.”
I do plenty around the house. I find his shoes for him and I help him finish his plate of food. When he spills something on the floor, I hurry up and eat it before he gets into trouble. I jump in the driver’s seat of his old truck and I try to drive it for him, since he’s not driving so well any more. I wake him every morning, so he doesn’t miss the beautiful sunrise. I bring joy to him.
He talks baby talk to me. It’s a little annoying, and it really gets on her nerves, but it’s our love language. I’m not griping. He’s a patter by nature, so I stand still while he pats me. He tells me all the time how much he loves me. I lie on my back and roll around. It’s fun when my master tickles me and I flop around on their bedroom floor.
Grandma says all I’m doing is grinding dirt into her carpet. Now she thinks she should trade me in on Fabio. She has a way of being very convincing and is selling him a bill of goods. Praise God, he’s not listening to her. But, she’s not going to let up until she gets a new toy like her friend.
I haven’t met Fabio yet, but to hear her talk, he is sleek, doesn’t shed hair and doesn’t bark. In fact, he picks up after everyone. But this Fabio character won’t love her like I love her. I overlook her faults. When she yells at me to get down, I still love her. I get excited when she comes home from town and I jump up on her car for a big hug. He’s not going to run out and welcome her home.
She says this Roomba guy will be compatible. He has full intelligent sensors and will pick up fine dust and debris. He has quick moves and will stay out of her way. I hear he is ready to rumble and will clean up and even park him self at night.
But he doesn’t have a heart like mine who can feel and love unconditionally. I wait at my master’s bed until he pats me, says goodnight and falls off to sleep. I’m the first one he sees every morning when he wakes.
Final brushstroke: Is it better to love than to have never loved at all? I don’t know who wrote that, but he probably never had to love a 75-year-old woman set in her ways who refuses to budge. I have a big job on my paws.
Readers’ comments
“Always fun to read another story about Whiskey. It doesn’t matter whether we’re humans or animals, we all want to be heard. Some of us just need a louder voice to be noticed. Maybe that’s Whiskey. Our little Yoda never barks, with the exception of when he chases rabbits.” — JD, Prescott, Ariz.

This story was posted on March 17, 2018.