On my bio page and in different blog posts, I have referred to my dog and my step-dog. When I went back and reread what I wrote, I found the term “step-dog” to be a little cold; a little heartless. I had visions of myself as a wicked stepmother, hovering over Sigh as she licked the kitchen floor clean. So, to assuage my guilt and officially proclaim my love for my step-dog, let me explain a little.
I adopted my dog Riley from a shelter. My partner adopted Sigh from a shelter before we met. Our lives and households merged, but the pups stay true to their original Top Dogs. I love Sigh as much as I do Riley, but I am not Sigh’s Numero Uno. I take her on walks, I play with her, and I even take her to work with me on occasion. We get along great. However, if she thinks for any reason I am interfering with time she could be spending with her real parent, she gets annoyed. (For the record, “interfering” includes things like sitting on the couch, or arriving home from work a half hour early). This may sound paranoid, but Sigh has been systematically digging a hole in the backyard, and I am convinced she has plans to drag me out one night while I sleep and bury me. And still I adore her. Love is funny.
I’m curious about other people’s relationships with pets that came into their lives clinging to an already established pecking order. Did the dynamic change once everyone got settled?