My Love-Hate Relationship With Our Dog

Is the verdict still out? We still haven’t heard from the feline community.

Photo by Author

Oh Percy, oh how I love thee. The wagging tail that greets me every morning at first glance. The bark of disappointment if I’m going out and don’t take you with me.But all is forgiven upon my return, the tail swaying back and forth, perhaps turning over for a belly rub as well.

Oh Percy, oh how I hate thee. The incessant frenzied, angry barking if someone dares to come to our front door. The mail carrier and the newspaper delivery boy every single day get the same treatment. If another dog trespasses on your sidewalk, or has the nerve to pass by outside our back yard fence while you are out patrolling against rabbits and chipmunks, your fury is unleashed.

Oh Percy, oh how I love thee. Your sensitivity to the emotions of everyone in our family is endearing. If one of us is crying, sad, angry, or just upset, you immediately come to the rescue, rubbing up against the particular pack member to comfort him or her. You even have been known to whimper in sympathy.

Oh Percy, oh how I hate thee. Of all the dogs that have joined our family over the years, you alone have refused to reach a detente with our cats. I don’t expect you to snuggle up to one of them, though that has happened with previous dogs. But can’t you at least attempt an attitude of tolerance, or even benign disdain? Your barking at them, and their hissing back at you in return, is tiresome and a pain in the derriere.

Oh Percy, oh how I love thee. Your are a good companion on long walks. You are a great guard dog. We know that you will always alert us to any intruder even coming close to the house regardless of the time of day or night. If is time for your supper, and I have been too busy reading , you will come up to me, and politely make a soft noise to remind me.

Oh Percy, oh how I hate thee. You can’t tolerate Mom and I hugging. Any touching that doesn’t include you is frowned upon. And must you zealously guard your food bowl even when it is empty. Is it a matter of principle with you?

Oh Percy, oh how I love thee. You enjoy family television viewing at the end of a long day. You look so cute as you curl up on the love seat, and invariably wind up on your back, eyes closed, with all four legs sticking up. Of course you do occasionally open your eyes to make sure no cat has dared come too close.

Oh Percy, oh how I hate thee. During the pandemic, with the local dog kennel closed, the grandchildren can’t come for even an outdoor visit, because you will go crazy and scare them with your barking. Two of them are very afraid of dogs as it is.

Oh Percy, oh how I love/hate thee. At least our days as a family/pack are seldom dull because of your commanding presence. It has been a long four years together at this point in our relationship, but like any family, we are in it for the long haul. However, if the cats ever get the right to vote on family matters, things might change.



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John O'Neill

John O'Neill


Retired human services executive, living in Massachusetts near Boston, trying to be a better human being each day than the day before.