Monday, April 20, 2009

I am the momma-in-chief of the household, but I'm not the only one who imposes the rule of law. Sure, I'm the boss and what I say goes. But what we have here is more of a cooperative republic. I've got my rules, and Max has his.

For instance, I don't allow Max on the furniture. He sheds too much. I'm constantly vacuuming and dusting the floors, so I'd rather not have to de-fur the sofa. Now Max knows the rule, and he follows it. When I'm here. But when I'm gone, all bets are off. He's got this favorite chair that sits right by the window and, try as he might, he can't stay off of it.

The minute I return home, I can tell he's been on the chair. It's the way he approaches the door, with a hang-dog look of shame. "I'm sorry, mommy, I just couldn't help myself." Of course, even if he didn't confess, the signs are clearly there.... the seat is still warm from his little hot body curled up on it, hair balls piled up in the crevices.

I've tried everything to keep him off. I've blocked the chair with things, I've withheld treats. While there may be short-term change, it never lasts. No matter how many times I scold him, he just can't seem to resist the urge to perch on that chair. It's an addiction. So we've come to a tacit agreement that the chair is his, when I'm gone. I think it comforts him, so I give in.

He also makes you pay for leaving him alone. I call it the "Max tax". He forces you play with his favorite toy. How long you have to play is directly proportionate to how long you were gone; the longer you're away, the longer you have kick or throw Mr. Jack for him to retrieve. So it doesn't pay to stay gone too long.

Today's walk was interrupted by lots of human chatter. I kept running into people we've come to know on our daily travels. We would stop to talk for what must have seemed to him like forever. Fortunately, we were at one of his favorite parks, so he just amused himself with lots of sniffing and marking. Max can't reproduce because he's been neutered, but he's certainly immortalized himself in every bush, every tree, every blade of grass he encounters.

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