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From The Dog’s Perspective...

By: Alex Lieber

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I knock myself out to please the leader of my pack. Day in and day out, I follow his lead; sit when I'm told to sit; eat when he lets me eat; sleep where he tells me to sleep; and go to the bathroom when he's ready to take me for a walk.

And what do I ask for in return? Just to be able to shower affection and attention on my Leader, and to receive praise (and a few belly rubs) for a job well done. But my housemate, the cat, has absolutely no responsibilities in our pack, and gets treated as if she's Top Dog. This is all very confusing ... maybe the Cat is the true pack leader.

When the cat first arrived, I was overjoyed! The leader spends only a few hours every day with me. He spends the rest of the time with the other pack members. Hey, that's all right – I know my place in the hierarchy of things. They play with me too, and occasionally give me treats, so I'm not complaining.

Then one of the lesser members of the pack brings home this quiet little fur ball they called alternatively "The Cat" or "Whiskers." I thought the Leader was bringing me a toy, but whenever I approached, it reared back and made an ugly hissing noise. When I got real close, it batted me in the nose with its paw. Some toy!

It finally dawned on me that this was a new member of the pack. I wanted to make sure she knew her place in our little society, so I ate her food, drank her water and chased her around the house and up the bookcase. I was feeling pretty good about myself, so I sat there, barking my victory to her.

Guess what happened next, dear diary ...

I was reprimanded! The pack leader scolded me while I was barking at the cat. I made the connection between barking and the cat – this wasn't the first time I was scolded for barking too much. But it became clear that they weren't too thrilled with me chasing the cat all over the house either.

So I ate her food and then played in the sand. What fun! Then the pack leader stopped me. Another scolding. It slowly dawned me: my place is below the cat!! How did this happen? I don't know my weights and measures, but I'm obviously bigger, AND I have seniority.

I began to notice other oddities. The cat jumps on the couch at will. She ignores the higher pack members when they call for her, and approach them when they don't call. She only comes running when she hears the can opener. She jumps on laps and goes to sleep. The day I tried that, the boy yelped and I received a reprimand.

She walks around all high and mighty, leaping on furniture; I even caught her scratching the sofa. When she wants to do nature's business, she doesn't walk to the door and whine – she struts over to a sand-filled box.

Come to think of it, Diary, she hates most everything I like: constant attention; car rides (she screams like a banshee!); fetch; walking on a leash and belly rubs. I thought I was included on that list of dislikes, but one day when I was napping on my bed, she sidled up next to me, and began making a curious, yet not displeasing buzzing noise.

And sometimes she approaches me to play, although she doesn't know how to invite me politely. Maybe there's hope for us yet, Diary. All I have to do is know my place in the pack.

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