The Sofa Wars
Some of you may remember the Red Sofa of days gone by--well, of days until August just past actually, when I finally got rid of it. It didn't seem right to take anything quite so smelly into new digs. But Sweetie spent her entire life in the house on that sofa. Misha would circulate around the room, the house, sleep from room to room, no doubt pursued by her existential demons, but Sweetie was always in one place, the red sofa. She'd step off it to greet you, to go outside, to eat, and then she'd get right back on it. And then, incredibly, it was gone and we were living in a cluttered underground cave where the smoke alarm went off at total random and scared her so bad it made her teeth chatter, and when she jumped the (six-foot) fence to get away there were drunks in the alley and perhaps other unknown terrors beyond.
Life improved when we moved here, but there was no couch. Then a friend from the Big Scientific Institution where I do a six-to-seven-month stint of editing every year donated to me a soft naugahyde loveseat that also unfolds into a bed. This is so many kinds of groovy I can't tell you. The trouble is it really only holds one creature comfortably at a time. They call it a loveseat for a reason, I guess. Two can fit if one of them is not Misha and the other doesn't mind being a little scrunched up into a corner so as not to discommode the other. Sweetie always does mind, though, so then I'm the one that scrunches up. The thing is, whoever has the couch rules the couch. That's become sort of the rule. So if Sweetie is on the couch, Misha doesn't try to make her get off. But this turns out to be another variant of the Goat Skull Principle (scroll down to just below the second photo): the rule holds as long as Sweetie has the sofa. When someone else has the sofa, subtle adjustments are continuously made in the atmosphere of the room, and they come from the direction of Sweetie. She is concerned about something and wishes to address the subject with you in the nicest way possible. Circles appear under her eyes, and she lies on the floor and gazes at the sofa and moans, and then gazes at you with just the gentlest hint of reproach, and after a while you begin to think, well, really, after all, the sofa is all she has (where did that idea come from? Can dogs plant ideas in your head?). Misha, meanwhile, who weighs more than twice what Sweetie does, is lying on the sofa and feeling so guilty about it she can barely stand it. And this is also what happens when I lie or sit on the sofa.
Fortunately, a bigger one is expected within days and the current one will move into the spare bedroom along with me, when my Dad gets back from Jamaica next week. The new one will be big enough for at least three beings, just as the red one was.
I am sure that this is wrong by every conceivable canon of dog-training and dog-raising.
Other Sweetie news would be the stuffed bunny that after three weeks still has the squeaky bladder inside it--usually she has ripped the squeaky out within hours of getting any toy. The consequence is that she has become very attached to it and now, every other morning or so, insists on bringing it for our walk. That way she can engage in all her bunny-related program activities. The overall impression is of freeform interpretive dance interrupted by attempts to bury the bunny in flowerbeds or the trunks of hollow trees and then a minor crisis when she discovers that I have retrieved the bunny. Then it's Give me the bunny! I must have the bunny! Now! and if I cave in the whole craziness starts over again.
Misha doesn't participate in most of this. Misha is afraid of the bunny.