I recently read, well listened to, a young adult novel that was kind of a mystery, kind of a coming out story and totally unbelievable. The 15 year old narrator had the vocabulary of an Austen scholar and the insight of a licensed therapist. Somehow the first person narrator was also omniscient and able to divine the thoughts of everyone around him and reveal them through dialogue. So I wondered if I could peek into Fiona’s mind and give voice to her thoughts as we once again move her to a totally different environment. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t understand that Mike’s treatment for prostate cancer at UCSF is why we temporarily live in a lovely Victorian flat in Pacific Heights.

Mike and I “moved” in last week and then he went home to Redding to sit on a scholarship committee and pick up the little dog. So on Sunday they arrived after what must’ve been a 5 hour journey with many potty stops and breaks for refreshment (coffee and dog treats). Fiona loves riding in the car and slides into a Zen state where the journey, not the destination, is the purpose. So she often arrives looking dazed. This time, as she gazed down the long hall, she also looked irritated.

Planting herself on one of the runners, Fiona made her displeasure known. And here is where the reason she blatantly prefers Mike becomes clear. I walked her, okay pulled her, down the hall still on her leash past the gorgeous living room and into our bedroom where I had thoughtfully placed her favorite blanket on the bed. She glared at me. Then I placed her on the end of another runner, went into the family room and called her from about 6 feet away (she could see me). Her frown deepened and her glare intensified. I cajoled, offering high value treats. Her upper lip curled. At this point Mike appeared and picked her up and carried her around showing her the amenities.

“See, Fiona, there’s a little back yard where you can be outside.” No response. “Your bed is here and we brought your favorite toys.” Please. ” How about a piece of cheese?” Now we’re talking.

Cheese is her favorite food and being carried around like a princess is acceptable. That of course accounts for her smug expression and her clear message to me: I win.

Pouting, whining and sulking commenced but eventually I got over it and started devising methods to help Fiona overcome her distaste for hardwood floors. When her transport (Mike) is out, she has to walk on her own. Her always suspicious Yorkie eyes narrow and she refuses to look at me when we pass. She has been known to sit by the front door for more than an hour waiting for someone she can manipulate. That someone being my softie husband. Most of the time he succumbs to her pathetic “I am a friendless and destitute dog being left behind with a madwoman” look and takes her with him.

But I have my ways. If I act like she’s invisible, Fiona will make her presence felt. The desirable method is sitting on or beside me and acting like a cute little dog. Unacceptable methods include moaning by the door and barking incessantly at a perceived problem. Sometimes she takes exception to something out of place like a grocery bag that shouldn’t, in her opinion, be on the counter. Barking and whining interspersed with meaningful looks and licking of lips indicate she is hungry. Sneaking down the hall and hanging silently around the front door is a sign she needs a potty break. Go figure. While these may not be deliberate choices designed to drive me crazy I have my doubts. But we are both adjusting to the change in our circumstances, some of us more gracefully than others….

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