I live with a dog. I can’t really say “own”, because that implies he is somehow under my control and persuasion, which is definitely not the case.
We’re kind of like Laurel and Hardy – a tumultuous universe has somehow thrown us together and we’ve had enough shared misadventures that we’ve turned into a team. The backstory really doesn’t matter any more.
He gets food, water, shelter, bathing and grooming in exchange for giving up some of his more unsanitary and animalistic tendencies. My bennies in this relationship are less tangible, but he definitely gets the better deal.
As in most relationships, every so often there’s a problem. Usually caused by his failure to honor his end of the deal with regard to those unsanitary and animalistic tendencies.
This usually means some terse language headed in his direction, at an increased decibel level. And usually, after a little cooling off period, one of two things happens.
Either a) he puts himself in my line of sight, with a slightly lowered head and a baleful look. If I’m seated, he may resort to using the Paw Of Apology on my knee. Once I scratch his head he’s OK again and resorts to his normal course of activity.
or b) he lays down and thinks for a while, then just heads to another room and a spot in the sun where he won’t be bothered. After a while, I usually have to go see where he is, perform the Bellyscratch Of Regret, and then he will rejoin the regularly scheduled program.
All relationships of equals must find this balance. Sometimes you have to yield, sometimes you have to stand your ground. One party can’t always be submissive, one can’t always dominate.
This is the most difficult part of a relationship to juggle.
And I’m not sure how that damned dog got so good at it.