The Christmas celebrations started this week with a pot luck at our PALS team leader’s home. How generous of her to invite our pooches to join us. Yet the closer the date came, the more my anxiety rose.
During PALS visits, the dogs’ contact with one another is limited. They are to be leashed and under our control at all times. Jelly loves these other dogs, and is tortured she can’t frolic with them on site.
What was I thinking bringing her along to this lunch, then? Without a doubt she’d be overwhelmed with delight. All the new sights and sounds and smells and unleashed friends! Before we left, I read her the riot act. I couldn’t have been more clear. This is what I told her:
- Thou shalt not jump on the couch, repeatedly, despite consistent scolding. This is not the retirement home.
- Thou shalt not inspect any counters looking for food that someone has forgotten to place out of your reach.
- Thou shalt not consume any detritus in the host’s backyard.
- Thou shalt not steal any food from unsuspecting people’s plates. Similarly thou shalt not select the target most vulnerable to such a theft.
- Thou shalt not become preoccupied with other dogs’ privates. This includes but is not limited to unwanted humping.
- That shalt not spend excessive time inspecting thy own privates. Thou shalt save that for home.
- Thou shalt not rifle through the host’s laundry, nor transport any soiled undergarments for all to see.
- Thou shalt not howl in the house, rendering the group unable to hear one another.
- Thou shalt not instigate play with thy friends during the meal. (See Commandment 7.)
- Thou shalt not mark the luxurious deep pile carpet in any way.
Despite her briefing, Jelly broke most of these commandments over the course of our visit. Why didn’t I consider that she’d shame me? Why didn’t I leave her at home?
The carpet proved especially appealing. While we chatted in the living room, Jelly scooted her nether regions along the length of it three times. God bless the gracious host who believed Jelly was “marking her territory”, tastefully reframing Jelly’s wiping her butt. Needless to say, I left the lovely get together with my tail between my legs.
Ms. Team Lead and I crossed paths today at another PALS visit. Because occasionally one apology, however sincere, is not enough, again I begged forgiveness for Jelly’s misbehaviour at the party. I asked Ms. T.L. if she’d like Jelly’s doggie allowance to pay for carpet cleaning. “Oh, not to worry, that was nothing,” she responded graciously.
What did she mean, exactly? After we left, Ms. T.L. discovered a dog had peed voluminously on the basement rug. Thankfully, the carpet’s Scotch Guard made clean up a breeze. She attributed this misdemeanour to another dog in the group. I’d have been more likely to assume it was Jelly’s doing–past ill behaviour is the best predictor of future ill behaviour–but maybe it wasn’t.
Did Jelly keep her unseemly marking to the living room? No one will ever know for sure. Jelly has not had accidents indoors for years. Sure, she can heed those commandments; she simply chooses not to. I can assure you, she didn’t get that from me.