The Usurper

My first greyhound was (and is) Girly Girl. I did a lot of research and preparation before I got her because I lived in apartments for a long time before I finally got a house and was in a position where I could have a dog. I knew all those apartment-dwelling years that my dog would be a greyhound.

I read all the books (come to my house, they’re on my bookshelf, well thumbed through). I bought bowls, beds, toys, leashes, collars, a crate and all sorts of other gadgets and gizmos designed to make life with your new best friend fun, easy and carefree. Most of those bowls, beds, toys, leashes, gadgets and gizmos are still downstairs still stored where I carefully stacked them.

One of the many decisions I made in preparation for my first fur pants wearing child was that Girly Girl greyhound thinking about getting on the couchthe animals would not get on furniture. Not on the couch, not on the bed-not on any furniture. I am in no way the first person to have made this decision. And definitely not the first one to now say, what on God’s green earth happened!?

I’m not even sure when it started, or how. For a long time I stuck to the rule. No dogs on the furniture. I slept in a lovely dog free bed. My couches were dog hair free and there was plenty of space to sit, or stretch out. When Blue joined Girly Girl here I continued to stick to the rule.

But then one morning Girly Girl was sleeping with me. She was curled up and at first stayed near the edge of the bed (so near that at one point she even fell off). Eventually she started stretching out pushing me further and further to the other side of the bed. I’d wake up and find myself at the other edge of the bed. A family meeting was called and we had to come to an understanding about whose bed it was. She simply started sneaking up onto the bed again after I fell asleep. Being a very smart girl, she stopped pushing me to the other side. She will take care to look very surprised to be on the bed every morning. “How on earth did I get here? I’m quite sure I don’t know mumma. But since I am here, could you rub my belly?”

One day I realized she was also laying there next to me on the couch. What! At first she wGirly Girl greyhound couch usurperas such a polite little lady. She’d demurely wait for my permission (implied most of the time by a glance her way). Then, if I was on the couch, that was permission enough and she’d join me there.

Now if I am in any way blocking access to her “spot” at the very end of the couch, she will begin whining at me. Should I rudely take no notice of her, she will correct my oversight by barking in her “indoor” voice. If that gets no response, she will let me have it with a barrage of barks at full volume (sure, greyhounds never bark-I remind her of this ALL the time). Should I not move to let her up, look out, she’s coming up anyway and I’m going to get 60 plus pounds of flying greyhound on my shins or possibly knees if I’m laying down, in my lap if I’m sitting there.

If I still won’t move, she’ll settle herself down as best she can on top of my legs or knees laying at an odd tilt, all akimbo and stay that way for the evening.

Should I rearrange her to save my knees from dislocating or my shins from snapping, or to get my quilt out from under her, she shoots me a dirty look. “I gave you every opportunity to get yourself situated. Now you want to disturb me?” Wait a second. Whose couch is this? Who paid for it? Who worked to get the money to pay for it? Why am I apologizing to a hound and begging her pardon?

Isn’t the rule no dogs on the bed or on the furniture? Sure it is. I can hear all the other greyhound owners out there laughing now.

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