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I feel that each time I speak to The Mom on Skype there’s some kind of dog-related calamity afoot (no pun intended). And the strangest thing is that, the more she complains and moans and tells me how near she is to death – the more I know she’s enjoying it.

I believe this is perhaps in some small part, our fault. Her children. When we were young and then later  staying with her, we were a handful –to say the least. We were a non-stop disaster waiting to happen. High drama at all times. And I do believe The Mom misses this level of hysterical activity. I really do.

Whenever The Mom regales me with some tale of a dog visit, it’s never just ‘Oh the dog came to visit and we had a nice walk, and sniffed some things, and chased some sticks and then had some snacks and a nap.’ It’s always almost a near-death experience. The dogs were obviously conspiring against her, calculating their best odds at success – though whatever the dogs are trying to achieve is never clear. Are they overthrowing the household? Is this a coup? Because the dogs are pretty clever and know that The Mom is the one they want on their side. She’s a sucker for a hound’s sad, woe-begotten face. Less so me and Crazy D. I mean, he’s maybe a bit softer than I am, but that’s mostly because he can defend himself and protect his dinner. Me, there’s no way. I have to go upstairs and close my bedroom door if I have any chance of eating my entire dinner.

Anyhow, part of me imagines these visits to go something like this:

The Mom will be left in charge of one, two, or three dogs. Their relevant and usual human will leave, with promises to be back soon. Which, as The Mom correctly states, can mean anything from a couple of hours to several days.

The moment the door closes, she’ll be down on the floor with them.

“Okay, so, what kind of trouble can we get into? You, little dog, maybe you could get stuck somewhere? The mudroom has lots of tiny spaces and the closet door gets stuck, so let’s try that, shall we?”

She would then escort the littlest one into the mudroom and wait eagerly behind the half-shut door, waiting for Mayhem and FunTimes to ensue. The dog would probably look at her with an expression that says, “Lady you are three kinds of crazy and I live with total nut jobs so that’s saying something.”

At this point, the other two dogs would’ve wandered into the kitchen to see if there was anything left lying on the counter. Easy prey and such like.

The Mom would skip into the kitchen and clap her hands gleefully.

“Oh good! You’ve found the entire roast chicken I’ve cooked and left out specifically for this. And look! Because I knew there would be a few of you, I also made a pie. I’ll just be over here, pretending not to notice. Why don’t you just hop up on the counter and have at it?”

When nothing happened but dogs looking guilty for even having thought of doing this, The Mom would push a chair over for easier access.

“I’ll just go over here in the living room and pretend to read a book so it’s more authentic, will I?”

She would creep into the living room and settle into a sofa with a prime view. Nothing would happen. The dogs, giving up rather easily, would saunter into the living room and sit on the couch next to her and have a nap.

In the retelling, this will come out as something like: “And then they all piled on top of me and I was trapped and nearly fell off the couch to my immediate death, missing hitting my head on the coffee table by mere inches!”

Sometimes I think that we might be well-advised to put in a Nanny Cam of sorts. Not to watch what the dogs get up to, mind, but rather what kind of egging-on they suffer through in The Mom’s relentless pursuit of hilarity.

I mean, when I’m home, and dogs come to visit, the most ridiculous thing they do is try to steal my dinner. Which is easily dealt with, as previously mentioned. Other than that, they mostly sleep and fart. Which is not at all funny and smells terrible, but there you are. The Mom will, sometimes, go to rather extreme lengths in search of a good tall tail. (Pun intended).