“She barked at me,” Mama said haughtily.
The she Mama was referring to was Doodle.
Doodle, Boo, Boo-Anne — the little pittie mix has several different names to go along with her various attitudes.
And her attitude this time was full of sass.
“She doesn’t know to bark,” I replied.
She doesn’t. Her main defense was just looking at something real hard as if her stare was intimidating.
So far, it had worked with the garbage men, FedEx and our mail lady. All of them had grown accustomed to seeing the little caramel colored pibble in the window, her steady gaze warning them of impending doom at the first sign of a threat.
But bark? Never.
The most she has ever done is whimper when she wasn’t getting the attention she thought she deserved.
I didn’t even think she knew how to bark.
She once screamed when a squirrel threw a pinecone at her. A scream is not a bark.
“You need to get on to her for barking at me,” Mama said.
I am not sure what Mama thought I was going to do exactly. Put the pittie in time out? Take away her favorite toy?
“Mama, she thought she was either protecting herself or me. You have threatened for years now that you were going to take her; she was left alone in the living room with you and probably thought you may very well try.”
Mama grunted at my Doodle logic.
“It was rude,” Mama said.
“She’s a dog, Mama! She doesn’t have manners.”
Mama didn’t agree and thought Boo-Anne should know who to bark at and who she shouldn’t.
As Mama took great umbrage at being barked at, Doodle put her little head in my lap and pawed at me to pet her.
When I didn’t, she stood on her hind legs and put one paw on my shoulder to pull me closer to her, pushing her little head into my face for a kiss.
Upon not getting quite as much petting and kissing as she thought she needed, she jumped up in my lap, nearly sending my laptop into the floor.
“See — she has no manners. None!” Mama declared.
“She is a dog, Mama.”
“She doesn’t know that,” Mama said. She may be right.
Boo has never been treated like a dog. She has always been babied and catered to like a toddler; granted, a spoiled, petulant toddler at times but a toddler, nonetheless.
She has always had her way and many decisions have been made based on what Doodle likes.
“Why do you leave the TV on when you go somewhere?” Mama asked once.
“Because Doodle likes to watch stuff while we’re gone. It’s keeps her company,” was my reply.
“She has two other dogs there,” Mama said.
“Yeah, but they are kind of boring. Ava sleeps and Punky only wants to herd. Boo needs her entertainment.”
Boo loves old Road Runner cartoons and reruns of the “Golden Girls” and “Murder, She Wrote,” in case anyone is wondering.
I could almost hear Mama rolling her eyes at me.
“I’m still going to get that mean little dog, even though she barked at me.”
“Oh, my stars. Are you ever going to let that go?”
To Mama, Doodle barking was just a grave insult. Ava had barked but only when she was outside. Once she came in, Ava promptly ran to Mama to be pet. It may have also had something to do with the fact Mama had food.
Punky doesn’t really bark; she is used to them. She hasn’t gotten used to the garbage men though and still barks incessantly at them each and every time they show up. Doodle, on the other paw, remains silent as they rob our trash can, stoically watching and waiting.
“And only barking at me,” Mama reminds me.
“Mama, I’m telling you. Doodle thought you were going to puppy nap her. She wouldn’t know what to do if she was anywhere but here where she’s treated like a baby. And you can say you want her all you want but you wouldn’t know how to handle this little mess.”
I don’t know that anyone would be able to handle this little pup with the multiple names. I shudder when I think how differently her life may have been had I not gotten her from the people giving away puppies in the Walmart parking lot six years ago. Would her funny little personality have emerged, full of sass and spunk, and love and adoration? Would she have loved another child the way she did mine, being super-protective of him and cuddling close? Would she sleep on anyone else’s head the way she did mine or beside my legs, keeping me warm?
As I pondered all these things, I realized she was lying by my chair where I could not get up.
“You’re scared of her,” Mama declared.
“I am not.”
“Yes, you are. You are scared of that little mean dog!”
I’m not. But I was aware that Boo could also make me feel very bad about upsetting her routine.
She also had no problems seeking revenge on shoes, makeup, or other items she knew I really liked and enjoyed.
“I’m not scared of her,” I insisted. “I don’t need to get up right now.”
I didn’t. Really.
She was sleeping so soundly, I could wait.
It’s Boo’s world. She’s just letting us live in it.
And she will bark at us to remind us of this fact.
Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the recently e-published novel, “The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery.”