I’m certain that some of us (if not most) have been owned by a dog. Even the dogs that actually have jobs – the ones that work in K-9 units, as therapy dogs, as sheep herders – still go home every night and boss around their humans. We are told when they desire their food, when they want to be walked, when they want to play (even if it’s 2 a.m.), and we’re grumbled at if we attempt to move them from the spot on which they’ve chosen to nap (even if they are blocking the front door and no one can exit until they finally decide to lumber out of the way).

We’re told which food is acceptable to offer. Which toys are preferred. Which direction they plan to go on walks. Which squirrel needs to be chased, even if it means dragging their “owner” across the street without warning.

Small dogs are, perhaps, the worst. My childhood dog (all ten pounds of her) would shove and rearrange items on the kitchen floor (rugs, dog bowls, any shoes that might not have been put away) until we filled her bowl to the exact specifications she required. For 15 years she demanded her food bowl always have a 1-inch layer of kibble at all times, whether or not she was actually hungry.

The next time a midnight thunder storm passes through your neighborhood and you find yourself awakened by the wet nose, hot panting breath, and sonic-level whining of your terrified dog who has managed to surreptitiously finagle all 85 pounds of herself onto the edge of your bed and you spend the next thirty minutes trying to calm her down so she will leave you alone and you can finally get some sleep, ask yourself just who is the “master” in this relationship…I think we already know the answer to that question.

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