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The Mom often bemoans how difficult life is with one, two, three or more dogs and or humans competing with one another for her attention. But I beleive this is a case of one protesting too much.

Secretly, or rather, not so secretly, The Mom loves it. Loves the attention. Loves being followed around the house all day and all night. And loves that she’s lured yet more creatures into her clutches with food.

It’s not the dogs who are fighting for Number One Status in the house, it’s The Mom. What with Crazy D and L’il Sis having moved in, the house has shrunk somewhat, and now The Mom is no longer the only person there. Her dominion is shrinking. And in order to assert the fact that it is still her house, and that she is still (nominally at any rate) in charge, she knows she must work hard to ensure that all creatures – human and canine, and I suppose to a certain extent, avian – understand that The Mom is In Charge. A Prime Minister of sorts, if you will.

Now, with Crazy D and L’il Sis around, there have been some changes. It’s not unlike when ministers start doing things they think are useful and helpful. It’s fine and well if it helps the Prime Minister look good to the rest of the citizens and voters who got her there in the first place. But if loyalty starts to flag, well, then it’s time to crack the Party Whip.

When I lived at home, post-PhD, for a year and a half, there was minimal competition. It was me or The Dog vying for the Number One Spot. And nine times out of ten, I won. It was simple. All I had to do was make The Mom laugh. The Dog tried, and was often successful, but the laugh she got was merely a chuckle, I got tears and hysteria. It’s a gift.

The current dogs, being sensible creatures, are keen to ensure The Mom still knows she is Number One with them. They know which side their bread is buttered on. Because The Mom will always be home, will always get up to let them out in the middle of a driving blizzard, or hail storm, and will always put a little something aside for them, come meal time.

Now, L’il Sis and Crazy D are excellent pet owners and dote on the dogs as well. But they go out. They have jobs during the day, and sometimes stay out very late. The Mom does now and again, but not until she’s dead certain the dogs’ every want and need has been seen to. She does it herself, too, which is a point of pride, I do believe, and also helps ensure that she remains at the top of the dogs’ Most Loved Human list. The Mom has raised the three of us kids and she knows that it’s vital to remain at the top of the list. Slide, even down a notch, and it’s all over. Once the kids or the dogs realise she’s not going out of her way anymore, all bets are off.

The dogs will, I feel certain, no longer follow her around if they decide they can get a better deal elsewhere. And though she may say that will make her life easier, she will be instantly bereft, taking it personally. And to be snubbed by a dog is horrible.

Were the dogs to decide they didn’t like her cooking, I do believe she’d keel over.

It’s fine is one of us decides we’re not in the mood for one more meal of Chicken Surprise, or Tofu Surprise, but if the dogs did that, well, that would see The Mom in bed, clutching a bottle of cheap white wine, crying down the phone to… me. Because the thing is, if we’re being honest, that it’s The Mom who is actually working to ensure she’s constantly Head Bee. I suppose it’s almost like being the leader of a benign cult, one (and by one I mean The Mom) must ensure a devoted following, creatures in her house must swear allegiance to her and her alone for it to work. For the house to function, with stay at home children, stay at home dogs, one and all must understand that it’s The Mom’s show, everyone else is a co-star.