My previous Bouv, Sophia, was the world’s best behaved dog. She’d been severely abused for the first two years of her life, and she was eager to please. More than anything, she didn’t want to go back to the Man in the Uniform. [Although we never met her previous owner, we figured he must have worn a uniform because for the rest of her life she growled at only one thing: anyone wearing a uniform.]
So when, at the end of her life, she stole my dinner, I couldn’t get mad at her. What happened was this: my wife and I had just sat down in front of the teevee with our slices of home delivery pizza. Football was on, and we were eager to stuff ourselves and cheer on our team. Sophia walked beside my recliner and sat down, staring at me. Well, not me, exactly, but rather at the slice of pizza. True, like most dogs, she liked cheese, but she’d never before showed any interest in pizza. But her face followed that slice from my plate to my mouth and back to my plate. It was like watching a kitten staring at a laser-pointer’s red dot. Back and forth, back and forth.
She may even have whined a little, in the back of her throat, and whining was something Sophia didn’t do. Finally, she’d had enough. After waiting for me to put down the pizza and pick up my glass for a drink, she struck. Reaching forward, delicately, with her head, unrushed, she picked up the plate in her mouth and walked away. Across the room, she set the plate on the floor and stood over it, staring at me.
I was gobsmacked! Sophia didn’t do stuff like this. And she was showing no further interest in the pizza. Rather, she seemed interested in what I’d do next. Would I go put on a Uniform? Or would I think it through?
I thought it through. “Honey, did you feed Sophia this evening?”
“No, I thought you did.”
That was it. We always fed Sophia before we fed ourselves. I got up and put some food in her bowl. She walked away from the pizza plate, leaving it for me. All was well in her world. The Man in the Uniform was not coming back…