One morning, my husband and I were talking before we got out of bed to start the day.
We sometimes do this to avoid the actual “getting up” part for as long as possible.
As we were talking, he felt something strange under the sheets. He felt around and pulled his hand out. In it was a small, gray stuffed leg.
“What is this?” he asked me.
“It’s a leg,” I answered. “It’s from one of the dinosaur toys we got Riley.”
“Why did he leave us just a leg in our bed?” he asked.
Then it dawned on me—this wasn’t just an accident. This was a message. A strong one. A distinct one. One meant to scare us to our cores and make sure that we knew the new pecking order in the house.
Riley really had become The Dog Father…
He’s left us “gifts” before—a stuffed head here, a stuffed tail there. The squeaker from a toy, mangled so as to never give a pip or a squeak again.
Riley has disemboweled toys—brand new ones—right in front of our eyes. But we never thought anything of it. I mean, he looks so fuzzy and cute. He would never do anything to us, right?
Now, I’m not so sure. We haven’t had another “message” in our bed…yet.
But I have learned to watch our boy. To make sure he’s happy and healthy and gets enough playtime.
Because the one thing that I don’t want is to come home after a long night and see all the lights out except for one by our living room chair. I can just envision it:
“You’re gettin’ home awful late,” he’d say. “Ya think dat’s a good idea?”
Before I answer, The Dog Father turns to me so that I could see he was wearing a tuxedo. In fact, he was sitting behind a little dog desk.
How had he gotten that in here, I would be asking myself.
“Playtime is down 50% this week,” he’d say. “Treat giving is down 37%. And belly rubs are off by 42%.
“I’m not likin’ this.”
And then, as he rolled the ball toward me, he did it. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
I threw the ball. He ran after it. I’d never let The Dog Father down again.