What Now?

| April 2, 2018 | 1 Comment

The Emperor of Entitlement

Entitlement: The belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

Fen is a black, poodle-bichon-ish dog that can own the bed.

Fen did not start out in life as an entitled dog. “Au contrar!” Having been born with a defective leg, he arrived hobbling pitifully on three. In fact, that’s why we rescued him, in the wake of the Mister’s own health issues; you know, a little, black poodle-bichon-ish thing who would keep a modest pace.

For about a month, he did hobble pitifully along, although the San Diego Humane Society performed mega-surgery on his pathetic leg. Hard to know exactly when he first gingerly, then eagerly, put that fourth leg down and found that he was, in fact, a magnificent marathoner.

Who could catch up?

Well, Fen (aside: he came with the name, “Fennel,” but that was silly, so we shortened it to “Fen.” That … was okay until we realized that both Fen and grandson Ben were responding to the same commands) … is now far from that pitiful baby, meek, mild, shrinking from … life. No. Fen’s found his mojo.

Are we at a corner? Who, you may ask, is the boss? I can remember Fen’s pitiful – unmistakably terrified little black puppy face back then. “Where am I?” “Who are you?” “You’re going to kill me, right?” That kind’ve face.

Ah, to today! Fen and I are at a corner. He nails the “cross” command – for a nano-second. Cross my way – or his way? My way. “No.” I get a look. Stern. Sure. This look arrests me in my tracks. Okay, his way. This is really embarrassing.

Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, says, “A dog transformation requires transformations in we humans.” Us. Cesar? I don’t even know that guy.

Maybe canine entitlement runs in the family. Isabelle Walcher’s Ginger, has gone from a semi-uncontrollable kid to a dignified older woman. She’s benefitted from more structure, routine, consistency and exercise that’s led her to become today’s mature adult – one who takes no nonsense – from any creature interfering with her direction or plan. A creature like, for instance, Creek, the new giant-sized babe, unaware of her size, thinking everything and everyone is the greatest thing on the planet. One must brace oneself when Creek wishes to impart her enthusiasm. Our elderly Ruby, who used to be the fastest dog on the block, and now, faced with these others, just issues a senior sigh, and stalks off with her “I’m outta here,” gaze. Entitled to her lofty self, she’s just not havin’ any.

In Fen’s adulthood, there’s also the bed. Not Fen’s bed. Our bed. We have not yet managed to convey to him this ownership distinction. A long report in the New York Times discussed this very issue, in which the Mayo Clinic (really!)… “studied 40 dogs (no puppies) who slept with their owners. The humans were all generally good sleepers, with no known sleep disorders.” Sure. This project (obviously) didn’t include Fen, who indiscriminately, plops himself lengthwise, widthwise, across feet, chests, knees, leading to our current sleep disorders. Yes, yes: he goes off grudging, with an insulted backward glance, only to return within minutes. “Whose bed,” his expressive face says, “do we think this is?”

Now, I realize I’ve been very hard on Fen to whom we’re actually very attached, tolerating him as he – I think – tolerates us. He’s just so smart, really sweet, and amazingly self-confident. He deserves his good life. Right? Isn’t he, after all, entitled?


Category: Animals, Local News

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