Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lesson #30: Beware of usurpers in bulldogs' clothing

Husband acquired a new puppy last November. Squambolina (don't ask), is a quirky, intelligent Olde English Bulldogge, a squat little gargoyle with a remarkably advanced sense of humor. She talks like a human: If you aren't paying attention, she'll yell at you. If you don't give her what she wants, she'll whine or cry like a dolphin. And if everyone else in the room is talking, she'll start gabbing with the rest of us.

Her smarts are what get me. She knows how hard she can play with each of us -- she's delicate with the toddler, a little rougher with Son#3, and she doesn't play with me hardly at all. She knows my lap is only allowed on special occasions (I'm just not an animal person, unfortunately).

She also knows she's Husband's dog. She sleeps at the foot of his bed. She follows him around from the moment he walks in the door. And she watches how Wife and I treat him, and remarkably tries to mimic us. Case in point: A few days ago, Husband complained about his aching feet. He was sitting in his recliner with his legs up, Squambo on his lap. I was standing over him, and in a rare moment of compassion on my part, I reached down and started massaging his feet (Husband will say or do just about anything to get someone to rub his feet -- doesn't matter who you are, either). I was allowed to do this for about 10 seconds before Squambo laid her 40 pounds of squatty dogness on the foot of the chair, pushing Husband's feet out of my reach. Then she started licking and petting his feet, herself. "Looks like Squambo showed me who gets to rub your feet," I said, and we laughed at her brazenness.

A couple nights later, Husband was laying on the floor and wrestling with the toddler. Baby Frog kept tilting Daddy's head back with his hand and planting big wet kisses on his face. After Baby Frog moved away, Squambo came over, tilted Husband's head back with her paw and licked his face. It was cute, of course, if not a little creepy at how quickly she learned the behavior just by watching the toddler do it a few times.

Yesterday, we realized that Squambo isn't just an innocent puppy dog with quick learning skills and territory issues with Husband. She's a gen-u-wine usurper. A couple of days ago, Wife became upset when she realized she had lost her wedding ring. At some point during the day, it had slipped off her finger. She spent a few hours searching for it, and went to bed dejected.

The next day, as Wife and I were getting ready for work, I heard yelling in their bedroom and rushed to see what had happened. Husband and Wife were laughing, yelling, almost in tears, and there sat Squambo on the bed, looking as smug as any mistress. "What happened?" I asked breathlessly.

Wife showed me her wedding ring.

"Where'd you find it?" I asked?

"On squambo's toe!" Hubby exclaimed.

At some point, our innocent, precious little bulldog found Wife's ring, and managed to fit it onto one of her toes. It was somewhat scuffed -- from being walked around on by the dog, we assume. We have no idea how long she'd had it, how long she'd been wearing it, or even how she got it on her foot.

What we do know is that we need to watch out for that little hussie. Who knows what she'll do next!?!

PS. The picture is not Squambo, but it looks remarkably a lot like her! I pulled the pic off of a "dogs for sale" site here.

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