The past few weeks, we’ve been laughing a little at some new behavior from Bunny. She’s always been…a bit less than subtle…about getting what she wants. I think all senior dogs enter a stage of entitlement in their older years that’s admittedly well deserved. I guess part of it for me is that Bunny was so sweet and unassuming as a very young dog that I never expected her to reach diva level. Clearly, I was mistaken. Lately, the question has been asked of just who owns who in our house.
I think all dogs have a sweet spot that they really like to have rubbed, scratched or petted. For Bunny, it’s her little belly, although any place you start petting her could be fair game. For those who never heard the story, when Bunny was a little puppy, the family who owned the farm where she was born had two younger children. The kids called her Bunny from the beginning because she was “soft as a bunny,” and the moniker stuck with her throughout her life. Her racing name was Bank on Benefit, but everyone continued to call her Bunny.
That soft fur of hers has almost magnetic properties. If you’re near her, you involuntarily find your fingers stroking that soft, silky fur. The problem is that once you start, you’re not supposed to stop until she tells you you’re finished. You’re only finished if she falls asleep so deeply that she doesn’t notice when you quit. Otherwise, you get a blast of stink eye that lets you know exactly what you’ve done wrong. There’s no wondering, because after she makes eye contact with you, she stares meaningfully at your hand. She might even look at your other hand and give you a look that conveys very clearly that she feels you should be putting both hands to good use.
I’m not naive enough to try to think that we did not create this issue on our own. It’s particularly true with my husband. Bunny loves him, but she makes it clear that he is second fiddle in her eyes and he caters to her, which only reinforces the idea in her mind. He will rub her belly until his arm almost falls off, yet if I ask him to rub my feet, he can’t manage it for more than thirty seconds. I find myself pleading with her in the morning to understand that I have to go to work or there’s no money for food and treats.
There’s just something hypnotic about stroking that soft fur that pulls you in. Part of the problem is that you don’t want to quit petting her, even when your arm gets tired and your fingers feel numb. Spending a few more minutes petting Bunny is usually more enjoyable than what’s waiting for us when we’re done, anyway. It’s easy to fall under her spell.
I have a feeling I’m not the only one out there with a dog like this. Truth be told, I hope not, because it’s one of the times I find I enjoy the most with my golden girl. Sometimes I wonder if it’s part of nature’s grand design for us, and part of what keeps us living in a mutually beneficial relationship. In the end, I’m pretty sure Bunny knows that she owns our hearts, and that’s more than okay with me.