When I first met Merrie, the Basset hound puppy who lives down the block, I easily outweighed her. Now, barely six months old, Merrie outweighs me by at least 3-to-1. She’s a big girl. She’s friendly enough, and she clearly wants to be my buddy. I’m not rude to her exactly, just indifferent. She’s got way too much puppy energy for me.
But I’ve got to at least tolerate her for two reasons. First, she’s not going away. Now that the weather’s good, she is frequently in the front yard of her house when Mike and I walk around the block in the morning, so we see her a lot more often. Second, I’m embarrassed that I’ve apparently been spelling her name incorrectly ever since she got here. I guess I should have checked instead of just assuming she used the common spelling. Surely, any name that contains an umlaut certainly can’t complain about someone demanding special spelling.
In reality, I am jealous of Merrie. Not because of all the attention she gets from Mike and Heather whenever we see her outside. After all, she’s cute; she’s still a puppy, I get it. Even I, cute as I am, was cuter as a puppy (I can tell because strangers don’t say it nearly as often.) I don’t even mind it when Mike gives Merrie treats from my treat bag. I always get one, too. I’m just envious of the great stuff that Merrie has that I don’t.
A fenced-in yard, for instance. On sunny days, Merrie gets to sit outside with no leash or collar, wandering from the front of the house to the back, from sun to shade and back as she chooses. And she lies down on a real lawn, too. We have no lawn at our house.
Know what else she has? Sometimes we see Merrie inside her living room through the big bay window, where she lies on a big, stuffed wing chair, her head on the armrest, looking out at us. At my house, I have no such chair to call my own, no designated perch where I can peer out a window and keep a lookout for the UPS truck, the mailman and Heather’s car. Unless it’s summer, when the front door is open behind the sliding screen, I have no way to see outside. I feel deprived.
I just don’t get it. I can trounce Merrie in a running race, find and fetch a ball quicker than she can, and I’m surely a lot easier to feed and clean up after. So how come she wound up with all of my coveted prizes?
Even though I try to ignore Merrie when we meet on the sidewalk or across her fence, her arrival has provided me with a focused list of demands: A fenced yard, a lawn, an overstuffed chair with armrest, and a picture window. It’s only fair. When negotiating, I like to stake out a hard line, so I’m putting myself into position below. I plan to block this trail and refuse to fetch any balls until my demands are met.