She hates me. For reasons all her own. Some of them, perhaps, are not so unreasonable. I've invaded her world. I've taken something from her, some position real or imaginary. I don't mean to be a threat, and yet in every line of her body I can read that I am one. Even now, as she lies curled in a tight ball, her ear brushing up against my left elbow, I know that we are only the slightest flinch away from an upset, another irritant.
Her history is tragic. Found tied to a tree, sad and alone. A small pitiful puff of black fur and bristling beard. It was this and no doubt a glimmer in her brown eyes that first stole the heart of the one I love, and brought her into the place she knew was home.
At first she was seen as a bit of a nuisance. Doors were shut. She was expected to stay off the furniture, to live within confines of space and behavior. But time passed and her sorrowful eyes and her charming little face won over hearts.
When I first came into the picture it was hard to believe she had ever known anything but luxury. Nestled within human blankets on bed, given choice morsels from plates at the table without the slightest attempt of sneaking. Clearly the little darling of the house. And then this intruder came in. This nuisance who received love and attention as well as an actual plate at the table. More than anyone could take I suppose. It shouldn't come as a surprise.
I've been told that before my arrival she was never "hysterical" but I've brought out the bitterness she'd long left covered deep inside. When I enter the house, or even just emerge from my room in the mornings I'm greeted by bared teeth and a shrill bark. She even bit me once. Not enough to draw blood, but enough to break skin. Enough to let me know my position.
I've stooped to the point of giving her chunks of whatever I eat. I let her curl up on the bed where I sleep, although I do try to cover my sheets a bit, and I take her for walks. I pet her and say nice words to her in a sweet voice, but it has little effect.
Recently I've been entrusted more and more to take her out on my own. Encouraged to do it even. Were it not for the fact that I'm certain she loathes me, I would probably come to enjoy these times. They allow a little extra movement, a little extra fresh air. I've gotten her to the point where she will actually stay beside me while we walk, all tense and alert, her cold black nose snuffling for anything interesting in the air, her body quivering with unreasonable excitement. We walk in silence. It's easier that way. I think she purposely doesn't understand me. It's been stated over and over that what dogs hear is the tone and not the words. But she turns a deaf ear to it all.
She's a sweet old thing really. At least fourteen. Old for dogs after all. And I do want to like her because she is so loved by others. But I can't seem to win her over, and it's hard to keep up the facade that we could possibly be friends. Guess I'll just have to keep on walking her and maybe one of these days she'll forget the offense and decide I'm not half bad after all.