Our house is (literally) going to the dogs. At the moment, one tiny Schnauzer is curled up in what he thinks is his chair — the recliner — pretending to be asleep because he thinks he’s so cute that no one will bother him. He’s right. He’s cute.
In the living room, Harvey, a large black lab-dachschund-Bassett hound blend has taken over the couch. One sleepy eye opens slowly whenever someone approaches. He too is convinced that he so cute no one would dream of making him share his perch. He too is probably correct in his assumptions.
So for the moment, all is quiet. For the moment. It is, by all human expectations, the lull before the storm of Penny hits town. Penny, another Heinz 57, is at the moment, sleeping in the backseat of daughter number two’s black Matrix. Little does she know what she’ll encounter when she walks in the front door. She is known to love smaller dogs. Bigger dogs? Not so much.
We know this experiment is a gamble. My father would have said we needed a hypothesis for this to be an official experiment, so here’s the hypothesis: Dog number 3 (Penny) will enter the house in her usual eagerness. Dogs number 1 (Ike) and 2 (Harvey) will rush the door in their eagerness to greet the newcomers. There will be silence…for about two seconds. Then all hell will break loose. Fur will fly. Yelps will be heard.
Lindsay, the Cesar Millan wannabe, will offer some psychological comment on letting them find their own ground. Anne will look at her sister, roll her eyes, and pronounce “That’s a dumb thing.” Nick will stand guard, planning to grab the first dog that bares his teeth. Fred will watch anxiously, hoping the cat, queen of the basement, doesn’t choose this moment to ascend to the upper regions.
The only things missing from this happy family portrait is one boyfriend and one dog, Luna, whose name rightly suggests a personality that might add extra noise and flying fur. Oh yes, one other cat, who is doubtless better off at home.
Me? I’m going to be happily ensconced in my recliner that Ike has abandoned. For this Christmas, I am happy to have most of my kids — human, canine and feline, back in the fold — if only for 24 hours.
So it’s not a perfect experiment. But as Dad would have said, there is no such thing as a perfect experiment. It is, however, one that I’d not miss for the world.