There are things we are not meant to understand. I tell Gracie this, but she continues to wonder, to bother me for answers, yipping in my ears late at night.
For one, I do not know why after we leave that terrible place, the one where they mop at our ears and use the zoom-zoom on our backs, that we can once again see. It’s a semi-annual miracle. I also do not understand why each day, my sight becomes a bit more clouded, my eyes a bit stickier, until the day arrives when I cannot see at all. I must use my nose to get around the house, otherwise I run head first into things.
It is about this time when I find comfort in rubbing my face on the couch. It makes my itchy eyes feel better and for a second: the darkness parts and I get a glimpse of the light and can see! I try not to rub on the couch when Big Lady is home. It makes her angry. She yells about how much she loves the couch and how dirty we are. When she picks me up to tell me not to do that again, I give her the eyes. Then she smiles and laughs and gives me a tiny kiss on the nose.
Sucker. Works every time.
She doesn’t pick up Gracie. My sister’s fat, and she was dropped on her head as a baby, making her both dumb as a rock and hesitant to be lifted. I, however, as the alpha female of the house, am lithe like… Not a cat, exactly. I’d never lower my standards to suggest I’m anything like one of those arrogant, in-the-house-pooping bastards. I mean, how can you feign such royalty and also be trained to shit in a box?
No, I’m lithe like a ballerina. I dance around the house, hopping from cushion to cushion when Big Lady isn’t looking. I jump, sailing through the air, to catch birds in the backyard. I bend gracefully, spreading myself across the warm bricks on the patio to catch a few rays during my afternoon naps.
Gracie? She snores on her back inside on the “dog bed,” moving her little legs like she’s running some sort of race. Trust me, that bitch has never run a race. The only time that one likes to move is to scoop up carrots or “cookies” and pats from the Big Lady.
Can we talk about the cookies for a second? I wish someone would tell Big Lady just to call them what they are: dehydrated apples. We know cookies. We know how to lurk in the corners of the kitchen when actual cookies are being created, how to be on the ready for any morsel that falls to the floor. When our brother Nelson lived here, he used to be able to push the tray of cookies off the counter when Big Lady wasn’t looking, knocking a few on the floor. If we moved fast, we feasted on real, delicious cookies before she got them away from us.
I don’t know where he lives now, but I hope there’s a lot of cookies. And walks. That dummy loved to be led around by his neck through the neighborhood. Me? Not a chance. I’ll pee on the fire hydrant in the yard as any self-respecting alpha does. This is my house, my hydrant, my Big Lady—you canine hayseeds. Pee in my yard all you want. I will cover your scent with my preeminence.
Our wolf ancestors would never be cajoled inside a house, and yet somehow the humans have forgotten we have killer blood. There Big Lady stands, holding open the door, bribing us to come inside with the promise of cookies. Gracie falls for it every time, running as fast as her butt will allow toward yet another dead apple.
I take my time. It’s always nice to remind Big Lady of my reign.