I pray for the day when my dog realizes that "chocolate will literally kill [her]" (Bojack Horseman).
And if looks could kill, I'd be so far into the soil I'd need a shovel to dig my way up just to re-hide my Godiva chocolates from her sneaky, teddy bear buttoned-eyes so she doesn't accidently kill herself or pull another "oh sh$@ she got into my $10 box of chocolates and turned it into an $1000 emergency vet visit".
But alas, here we are: me shoving two seven-layer bars into my mouth, feeling overwhelmingly conflicted with moments of pure elation mixed with undeniable self-loathing, as Zoe, my pint-sized maltipoo, judges my poor eating habits. She's ashamed of me. Then she forgets she's ashamed because she hates me for not sharing. It's time for the talk. I've dreaded this moment my entire life, but somebody has to tell her.
"Zoe, every time you attempt to eat something on the grass when I take you on a walk, or when I leave the room for two seconds and I find you inhaling food from who-knows-where, you cut my life by ten whole minutes. And all those small incidents add up over time, so you've essential stolen several hours of my life! If you had any consideration for me, you wouldn't be such a food snob and you'd appreciate the food I put on your table! I love you too much that it actually gives me convulsions every time you eat something that isn't dog food." Midway through my speech, Zoe drops her bag of craps, both literally and metaphorically. She struts over to her potty pad, glances over her shoulder at me, then proceeds to defecate onto the mat. Then, in an act of rebellion, before I can sprint to grab toilet paper to dispose of her disposal, Zoe places a chunk in her mouth. This begins act one of our epic chase sequence, in which I sprint after Zoe as she dodges me around the living room. The finale? She swallows. She wins. I forgive her. We cuddle.
I've created a mastermind manipulator, who uses her good looks and charm to get what she wants. It's entirely on me, I take the blame. I've spoiled her! I massage her upwards of 5 hours a day, something that sounds like a task when my boyfriend asks for a 5 minute favor, but which I forget I'm actually doing for Zoe until midway through doing it. When we go on walks, I allow Zoe to smell a singular rose bush for upwards of 10 minutes because I don't have the heart to tell her that she's taking 100x longer than most dogs and that I'm going to miss my callback for a major network tv show if she doesn't hurry up! When she whimpers, my automatic response is to sneak her small pieces of chicken and turkey under the table. And when she wants to sleep on my pillow, I curl into a ball at the foot of the bed. She gets what she wants when she wants. I treat her like a queen to compensate for all the dogs that are mistreated.. at least, that's what I tell myself.
But despite our little feuds, one thing holds true: nobody else in the entire world has ever run away from me just to get momentum for when they run back in my direction to jump in my lap and lick my face.. and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Jennifer Levinson is an LA based actress, pizza connoisseur, and fashion addict.
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