In Which I Realize Birth Order Matters

In the immortal words of the Dowager Duchess of Leighton, Harumph. As I mentioned earlier this week, Eric, Baxter and I  are currently earning bonus points by fostering my parents' dog for a few weeks while the spy and the jetsetting Italian vacation in lush, lovely climes. Suburban Dog is becoming more and more used to his urban jungle safari, but there are some lessons I'm learning--in particular, that twelve-year-old long-haired dachshunds procured just as parental units were attempting to manage empty nest syndrome, do not make for the most easy of houseguests. Indeed, they make for rather high maintenance houseguests.

I present to you, Suburban Dog's guide to visiting human siblings in New York City.

Rule 1: Do not allow anything to alter the schedule you have in suburbia. This includes, but is not limited to:

* Waking up at 5:45am even though human sibling hasn't seen that side of 6am in close to a decade. * Baby carrots and/or fennel at 1:30pm even though human sibling usually doesn't remember to eat her own lunch until 3 or 4pm * Goldfish at 6:00pm even though human sibling does not ascribe to "drink time" when "the local news is on." * Your being crated when you think you should not be, even if no one is in the house.

Rule 1, Subset a: If anything does alter the schedule you have in suburbia, consider one of the following actions:

* Barking like an insane person dog until schedule resumes. * Whining and sighing until the air around human sibling smells sufficiently foul that she actually wants to leave the bed/you and get you carrots/goldfish. * Approaching human sibling and urinate, preferably on her foot. NB: This is the fastest way to get human sibling to pay attention, but she will not reward you with carrots/goldfish. She will, however, take you outside.e

Rule 2: In regards to other dogs in the household, humping them makes for good fun.

Rule 2, Subset a: This goes double if they're asleep.

Rule 2, Subset b: If other dogs are humped for too long at 6am, you may be growled and/or barked at. But then the other dog is awake! Celebration! Time for squeaky toy!

Rule 2, Subset c: Squeaky toys also wake humans, but it's not as good as it sounds. When squeaking, beware flying pillows.

Rule 3: When outside, if you have the opportunity to run away from human sibling, do so.

Rule 3, Subset a: The urban landscape is filled with food. It's often available inside open doorways. Enter strange doorways at whim in search of food.

Rule 3, Subset b: Beware. Running toward the street will inspire human sibling to run after you, yelling your name. Do not stop. Do not look back. You are almost free.

Rule 3, Subset c: When human sibling catches you, she will use strange "New York-style" dog training techniques on you to attempt to prove her evolutionary superiority. She will pronounce, "I have opposable thumbs! I will always win!" NB: She's the one picking up your poop. Who's the winner now?

Rule 4: When in doubt, bark.

Rule 4, Subset a: If a solution does not present itself, bark more.

Rule 4, Subset b: If still no solution, attempt to get larger, dumber dog to get human's attention by barking at him and/or humping his leg.

Rule 4, Subset c: If the human addresses your issue, but not in a manner timely enough for your taste, be sure to show your displeasure by barking a final time, preferably while staring said human down despite your Napoleonic stature.

I'm ashamed to say that all of this has happened. Particularly Rule 3, Subset c, which I'm terribly embarrassed about, considering that when I looked up from my excited utterance, three of my neighbors were staring at me like I was a crazy person.

The truth is, I now understand why my sister was so damn mean to annoyed at me when I was growing up. You see...I was the youngest child. And so I could do very little wrong in the eyes of my parents, who (metaphorically) fed me fennel and goldfish and allowed me to (i hope only metaphorically) pee on my sister's feet when I wanted something.

I'm sorry, Kiki.

But you'd still better come get this dog in 8 days for his trip to your house.

I'm not that sorry.