The Alpha

Dearest Rachel –

I suppose in a way, it’s my own darn fault. Last night, after the annual church meeting/celebration, Chompers would not stop whining. So, I took him out to pee again. And he did a little bit, proving that he’d needed to be taken outside, before just standing there for several moments and then falling over several times in quick succession (as he does). So I brought him back in.

And this cycle repeated itself every twenty minutes or so for the next two hours, until I realized: “oh my goodness, it’s almost eight o’clock, and I haven’t fed him!” He’d gone two hours past his usual dinner time without being fed. No wonder he kept whining – and probably wondering why I kept just taking him outside each time.

So, I suppose it might’ve been out of some form of petty revenge that he managed to keep me waking up maybe about every two hours or so last night – although that may be giving the old boy far too much credit, as he’s never been the brightest crayon in the box. The idea that he’d be able to plan any kind of vengeance seems pretty farfetched.

Still, I sometimes wonder. I did get him to bed at 12:30, shortly after Daniel had taken him out (so naturally, he did nothing for me when I took him out). But as usual, I stayed up in order to ensure that he was actually going to fall asleep where I left him, so I didn’t get to bed until well after one. Then shortly after two, he started whining again. At which point, I took him out, and he did a little bit, and then fell over several times.

You’re starting to get the drill, I’d expect. And this cycle repeated itself at around four and then again at 5:30, at which point, he magnanimously allowed me to sleep until 7:30 – which, quite honestly, is rather later than I’d prefer to sleep (although after last night, I probably needed). And, come to think of it, not in his best interest, either, since I would normally feed him at seven in the morning.

But you see, that’s how it is, since he is, for all intents and purposes, the alpha dog in this house.

And I’m pretty sure he knows it.

Which is infuriating.

Of course, in a way, it really can’t be helped. The old man is, what , fifteen years old by now? He’s all but a centenarian in dog years. Not to mention, there’s the question of his back legs, which he literally can’t control anymore. So he can’t go where he wants to, when he wants to. Which leaves it up to me.

And it also means that he has to get my attention in order to do anything that he wants to do. The problem is, I can’t always figure out what it is he wants. Which is frustrating for the both of us.

A lot of people have asked me about what his quality of life is like. Well, I’m not sure I can speak for it. You always called him your “fur baby.” And like any baby, he’s an angel when he’s sleeping – which, to be fair, he does quite a bit. But when he’s awake, yeah, he doesn’t seem all that happy that much or that often. He’s really only content when he’s eating, and that doesn’t take a long no matter how much I feed him.

Which still isn’t that much, I swear! I’m not trying to get him to balloon back up to the 33 pounds he was what we took him into our care, honest! In fact, according to the vet’s, he’s actually under 18 pounds as of his last visit. Still a couple pounds more than his ideal weight range, but I’m keeping him on the regimen you set. I mean, it helps that I use those little Beneful containers, so I sort of have a limit as to how much I can put into them, but yeah.

Still, he’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease all the time. I don’t want him waking up Daniel, so I have to hop to it when he even starts to complain. And he’s gotten me a little too well trained at this point – I can hear him start to whine in the family room when I’m sitting here in the bedroom these days. That pitch… I’ve gotten attuned to it.

Now, if only I could figure out what he’s asking for each time…

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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