My wife and I have a 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, “Gracie,” who runs our lives. She is starting to slow down a bit, but she remains as stubborn and willful as when we first got her.
Last fall, right after Thanksgiving, my wife and I took stock of our situation and decided it was time to go on a diet. We’ve been doing “South Beach,” and it has worked well for us. I’ve lost over 40 pounds; my wife, Andrea, has lost over 30. Gracie too could stand to lose a bit. She has broadened out over the last year in particular. But she is just not getting with the program.
She especially seems to miss the desserts we used to indulge in--ice cream, cakes, or pies. Instead, we often have sugar-free instant pudding, made with skim milk and topped with fat-free, sugar-free Cool Whip. We find it satisfying, and Gracie makes do. She insists on licking out the custard cups after we’re done.
The thing is, what Gracie looks forward to, Gracie considers to be her contractual right.
Last night, as we often do, Andrea and I went our separate ways after dinner—she to the living room to watch “America’s Got Talent” and I to the study to putter around.
Around 8:00 p.m. “She Who Must Be Obeyed” came trotting in to the study to find me. Gracie immediately started jumping up on me and whining, as she generally does when she has to go outside. (If you own a dog, you know that asking to go out is behavior you have to reinforce.) So I stopped what I was doing and let Gracie lead me along.
Instead of leading me to the door, however, Gracie led me straight to the refrigerator.
Andrea, who was watching this, and snickering to herself, filled me in. She had already had her pudding, so Gracie had gotten only half her tribute for the evening. She was now demanding the other half. She was demanding that I have my pudding.
Lesson learned: As Gracie sees it, if one of us has dessert, the other one must have dessert.
Ah, the joys of living with a geriatric Jack Russell Terrier!--EFP
P.S. My wife maintains that she named Gracie after a shy and gentle classmate she knew in grade school. I maintain that she was named after Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane fame.