I used to be an only child. The world used to revolve around me.
Until she came along…
It’s difficult learning to share a parent at 22 years old.
It’s particularly difficult to share a parent with something that is not human.
You can’t reason with a 13-pound Jack Russell Terrier. You just can’t.
They think the world revolves around them too. So, having an only child and a Jack Russell Terrier in the same room is no good. We compete.
And we’ll compete for the affection of the woman we both call “Mom”…TO THE DEATH.
Five years after our Beagle-Husky-Peter Lorre mix, Samantha, passed away and one year after I moved to California, my mother decided it was time to get a dog. What possessed her to choose a Jack Russell Terrier is beyond me. Friends and neighbors pleaded with her not to get a notoriously pint-sized Tasmanian Devil on crack, but she had already fallen in love with a little runt she was to call “Lucy”.
When Lucy joined the family, I ceased to exist as offspring of the family. T-shirts and pictures with my mug on it were swapped out with snapshots of EVERY FREAKIN’ ADORABLE MOMENT LUCY EVER PRODUCED. And when you’re a puppy, that’s every God forsaken second. Do you know how many pictures exist of this dog? Do you know how many times my Grandma refers to her as her daughter? Do you know how many times I’ve called my mother only to have her talk to the dog the entire conversation? Waaaay too many times for this spoiled brat to dig. Lucy knew she was the preferred child now. When I come home to visit, she’ll lean in and growl at me any time I go to hug or kiss my mother. This is her turf now. I know this because there is a door mat that welcomes visitors at the house with her likeness on it.
Lucy and my dynamic is not all combative though. In fact, when home, I often wake to find the dog spooning me. I’ll turn over to see her bright brown eyes staring at me, a little paw draped over my chest. “What is this Lucy? What are you doing?” She gives me a look as if everything is ok, all the contempt is gone during those early morning moments. “I’m cool which you, Lauren,” it’s as if she says, “It’s cool. There is enough room in the family for both of us now.” Then she gets up and exits the room, leaving me in the wake of her bi-polar behavior.