If you could see the way Yvonne treats Lily, our golden retriever-border collie mix, you would understand. Oops, did I say, “Our Golden Retriever?” I should have said, “Yvonne’s” because Lily belongs to Yvonne – from the tip of her soft wet nose to the end of her perpetually wagging tail (that would be Lily’s nose and tail, not Yvonne’s.) Yes, I admit it, I’m jealous of a dog.
This hasn’t always been so. Although we’ve had Lily for twelve years, my jealousy has only come about over the past two. During the first ten years I was still working. I recall sometimes noticing Yvonne and Lily’s mutual adoration and devotion, but I was preoccupied with work and didn’t give it much thought; and besides, I enjoyed the loyalty (if not the adoration and devotion) of my fellow employees. Yes, perhaps this was because I was the boss, but, whatever their motivation, they did at least allow me to think I was top dog. (Oh how I miss those days!)
What quickly became apparent after retirement was this – not only am I no longer top dog, I don’t rate at all. The hierarchical order of our home is, first Yvonne, then Lily, then Odie (the “Orange Devil” feral cat we adopted shortly after I retired), and, finally, bringing up the rear, me.
I can almost hear you saying, “Oh good grief George, get a grip.” But before you accuse me of whining and come down on me for being jealous of an 84 year old dog, let me tell you a little bit about the dog’s life I live compared to the real dog’s life Lily lives.
Let’s start with food. I’m not complaining mind you, but while I’m enjoying a humble bowl of porridge and a crust of bread Lily is feasting on “Prime Cut with Gravy” and a wide assortment of gourmet treats with enticing names like “Chicky-Jerky Filets”, “Snausage-Smores”, and “Doggylicious Bacon-Bites”. Even Odie, as mean as she is, enjoys an assorted selection of kitty treats called “Chewy Temptations”.
And what do Lily and Odie do to earn their treats? Not a dang thing. Meanwhile, Yvonne seems to think I should help around the house to earn my supper of tomato soup and grilled cheese. “Honey, would you mind mopping the kitchen floor; honey, would you mind emptying the dishwasher; honey, would you please take the garbage out?” And just about the time I’ve had all the “Honey would you mind” I can take she adds insult to injury – “Honey, Lily is such a sweetie pie, would you mind taking her for a walk?”
I guess I can live with the treats discrepancy (like I have a choice), but do you know what really, really, really makes me jealous – the affection. All it takes from Lily is a little nudge of her nose on Yvonne’s hand to spark ten minutes of listening to Yvonne ooh and aah to Lily in her sweetest “talking-to-a baby” voice. “That’s my sweet little Lily dog, what a precious little puppy you are, you’re my sweet little doggie-poo, yes you are”; and all the while Yvonne is patting Lily on the head, tickling her behind the ears, rubbing her back, and even her belly. The thought of receiving such affection just about makes me want to whimper softly and nudge Yvonne’s hand with my nose, then roll over on my back in hopes of having my belly rubbed. (Sigh…)
I don’t know if I’ll get my wish to be Yvonne’s little Georgie-poo in my next life, but if do, please God, don’t let her have me neutered.
George Brown is a freelance writer living in Clermont County.