My relationship with Mike is clear: I am the alpha dog. When I’m alone with Mike, he does what I tell him, most of the time. If I give him the slip to chase cats or rabbits, as I did to him again just the other day, when I finally come back he’s relieved, and I never get into serious trouble.
With Heather, it’s another matter entirely. Heather makes me work. Last week when I ran away from her to chase a rabbit, she got so mad at me that she wouldn’t even look at me for a day and a half. I got worried. She finally relented, and we are on good terms again. A few days ago I took off on her again at the top of the parade ground and headed for Bunny Central, but when Heather let loose a commanding “Treat Party!!” yell, I stopped in my tracks, pirouetted and sped back to her at full throttle. Even passersby were impressed.
Heather still tries to keep me on a short leash, but sometimes I am obliged to play the stubborn dachshund. I sometimes do what she calls the Dachshund Plant, flopping down right in the middle of a trail, and pausing to survey the landscape for as long as I damn well please. When I feel a tug on my leash, Heather and I stare at each other. I want to go in one direction, she wants me to go in another. We negotiate. Or sometimes when I want 20 throws of my purple-and-white ball, and Heather only wants to do 10. We compromise on doing 15. Or I want two Charlee Bears and a salmon heart cracker every time I come, and no matter how long it takes. Heather wants to cut spending after two whistles. We work it out. Sometimes she wins. Sometimes I win. Sometimes we walk in my direction, sometimes in hers. One day I may get as many treats as I want. Keep hope alive.
Heather said our relationship should be a model for ending the gridlock in “the other Washington.” (Having never left this state, it’s hard for me to fathom any other Washington than this one.) Cooperate. Compromise. Work together. Take turns. Get somewhere. Whatever Heather said, I’m on board. I’m just glad she’s not mad at me anymore, so I’ll agree with anything.
Thanks for understanding. In our next episode, Heather and I solve the perpetual puzzle of peace in the Middle East.