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Dog Rules

Let’s say that you get a dog. Maybe your first dog, or one in a long line of succession. And let’s agree that the dog will be a member of the family and not just some four footed critter hanging around.

Of course every family has rules, some more stringent than others, and now your new family member is obligated to adapt to them to maintain his or her family membership in good standing.

Not long ago my wife Marge ran across a bunch of dog rules, courtesy of the American Kennel Club, (and here comes the required disclaimer) that I shamelessly expanded on. We get the dog, build a nice doghouse in the fenced back yard and all agree that the dog is not allowed in the house. Well, Fall is not long off, a prelude to rain, sleet and snow, chilly or even bitterly cold weather, and we relent. The dog is now allowed in the house, but only in certain rooms.

This, unfortunately, doesn’t last very long (after all, we keep wondering what he is exactly up to in the laundry room) and so the dog now has the run of all rooms, but has to stay off the furniture. Oh, look how cute and comfortable he looks on the couch. So we restrict him only to the old furniture, which eventually leads to lounging on all the furniture.

But it’s an absolute no-no to sleep on the bed. Okay, so the dog is allowed on the bed, but only by invitation. That doesn’t last long either, and now the dog sleeps on the bed whenever he wants to, but not under the covers. And pretty soon the dog is snoring under the covers, invitation or no invitation.

And so it comes that humans must now ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog… after all, rules, as we all know, are only flexible guidelines.

Take another glimpse at the headline again. Dog Rules has a double meaning here. Yes, there are rules for the dog, but inevitably it is the dog that rules the house…