As you all know, a few weeks ago I was called upon to provide tutelage to a young apprentice, and I did not accept this task willingly.
Repeatedly, the Yanks tried to get me to play with her or at least acknowledge her.
Around day three, I discovered a game to "play" with Joan. I would jump on the couch and prance around on the cushions as if the couch were the most wonderful place in the world to be. Then Joan would cry, and Beta would lift her up and put her on the couch next to me. Then I would leap off the couch as if not-on-the-couch were the most winning, hipster place to be and as if those who were still on the couch were so fifteen seconds ago. Then Joan would whimper until Beta put her back on the floor. But after a few rounds of this game, Joan decided to leap off the couch on her own without assistance.
I did not see this coming.
We spaniels are a cautious lot and as a young pup I never jumped off the couch without checking wind speed, visibility ratings and submitting my flight plan to the FAA. But Joan, apparently, was born without the sense God gave a dachshund. When she landed, she made the most terrifying of sounds. Next thing I knew, Beta had scooped her up and they were out the door.
Hours later they returned, and Joan's left leg is now encased in something green and stiff that smells of a nasty chemicals. She has three broken toes and must wear this cast for six weeks.
Shame on Beta, I thought. Someone should have prevented this. Someone should have taught Joanie her limitations, as a five pound puppy. Someone with an intrinsic understanding of when one's size to distance ratio makes couch jumping safer.
And then, as so often happens during these moments of blame and thoughts of retribution, the words of Rabbi Hillel came to me:
Now, more than ever.
No wait, that was Nixon's campaign slogan.
And if I am only for myself, then what am I? There. That's better.
While accepting absolutely no blame for Joan's flight of fancy, I am ready to take on my role as mentor and Alpha.
And if not now, when?
Here we go, Joan. This is how we sniff when we're outside.
This is how I snarl if you try to do business in the spot where I just did my more impressive, larger business.
This is how we play. (This game may be slightly more fun for me than it is for you.)
Mind you keep up, now.
You're coming along nicely!
I know you're curious, but you are much too small to play with that human of high rank and short stature we call Wild Card. You'll have to content yourself with a nap on her shoe.